Every so often, a film is released that’s so atrocious everyone takes notice. A heinous example of what not to do with filmmaking, these movies actually influence future films more than some great movies, be it through passing references in studio comedies (think “Jade” in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) or by dissuading the production of other films in the same vein. But here we have “BloodRayne,” an out-of-nowhere vampire tale that comes to the screen as the third straight game-to-screen atrocity from German director Uwe Boll. This is the type of film that studios push toward dead months like January with the tact of a landlord sweeping rats under the fridge.
Based on a video game or comic book or whatever, “BloodRayne” is the story of Rayne, who is a dhampir, a cross between man and vampire – a manpire, if you will. Known among circus circles as a disgusting creature who drinks human blood yet is impervious to crucifixes and sunlight, Rayne (Kristanna Loken, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”), in a murderous outburst, escapes her captives and goes off on the usual sort of blood-sucking rampage.
In a world where men and vampires are at constant war, she becomes a key part of the battle and is thus sought by both sides. Learning of her father’s brutality (the lord of the vampires, he raped and killed her mother), Rayne sides with the humans.
For a film that’s received as much bad buzz as “BloodRayne” – the ticket vendor adamantly refused to sell me a ticket – it’s actually not as weak as it might have been. Camera angles and techniques are solid in pockets, providing sweeping, wide-angle views of Romania, where the film was both shot and set. The musical score is also commendable, though it’s a little overbearing in a film as silly and vapid as this one.
That said, the film goes disastrously awry with its contrived storytelling. Boll (the mastermind who gave us Tara Reid the anthropologist in “Alone in the Dark”) seems to have tried to stretch meaningless video-game plotlines to epic proportions, and has (once again) failed miserably. It’s impossible to overstate how superficial and unnatural the dialogue is. The poor actors haplessly pronounce egregiously false syllables in their attempt to sound grandiose and unwittingly turn even their most somber words into a farce.
Perhaps the worst performance of all comes from Michelle Rodriguez (TV’s “Lost”). She plays Katarin, one of the humans Rayne fights alongside. In a dubious attempt to balance the Romanian-ness of her name with grandeur only a British accent can provide, Rodriguez produces something that’s almost as bad as, and actually resembles, Jake Lloyd’s space speech in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
And as Kagan, Rayne’s malevolent father, the venerable Ben Kingsley – who won an Oscar for “Gandhi” and has been nominated three other times – apparently just had some bills to pay. Surely as college students we can understand that?
To chide a studio and group of actors for working within the context of a messy plot and laughably artificial dialogue is actually a boring task. Thank heaven movies like “BloodRayne” make it easy sometimes.
Rating: 1 star out of 5
At the Showcase and Quality 16