"I gotta get a new agent."

© 2006, Brightlight Pictures
All Rights Reserved

Ah, Uwe Boll. It was only a year ago when the infamous German director unleashed "Alone in the Dark" on the world, which revealed a new depth to his complete lack of filmmaking skills or general cinematic competence. "BloodRayne" (IMDb listing) is his latest "effort," and one would think at this point that Boll would have some idea how to put a motion picture together. Sadly, this vampire tale only further proves that somebody needs to finally march to Germany and violently pry the camera out of his hands.

Much like his two previous efforts (including "House of the Dead"), there's a story to "BloodRayne," but for the life of me, I can't figure it out. Yet another video game adaptation (it seems this is all Boll is capable to attempting), the film is a giant smear of characters and plots. Boll thinks that piling on cloudy character backstory and action set pieces will lend his feature the aura of an epic. All it does is bore the audience, leading them to regret spending time with this nonsense even earlier than anticipated. The basics are simple: Rayne (Kristanna Loken, "Terminator 3") is a mix of vampire and human, and she wants revenge on the grand daddy of all vampires, Kagen (Ben Kingsley, collecting a paycheck). The rest of the film just gets in the way.

It's tough to pinpoint what's worse about the movie: the performances or the direction. It's strange to watch Boll continually stage sequences he has no idea how to capture properly. In his mind, he's Steven Spielberg; arranging danger and adventure on the screen with clarity and a roaring sense of excitement. However, the tragic reality is that Boll has all the artistic ability of the average 4th grade finger-painter, and his direction is often so clumsy, he should really be embarrassed by his productions. He's a B-list, straight-to-video director with A-list aspirations, and "BloodRayne" is asphyxiated in the battle between what Boll wants to accomplish and what he's actually capable of.

"BloodRayne" simply stumbles around, trying to make sense of itself and pass off Boll's madness as inspired genre filmmaking. Boll is terrible with action, making the battle choreography found in the film feel as motivated as the mid-day entertainment at the local renaissance festival, and then he cuts the material to ribbons to cover up his mistakes. Throwing in blood geysers with every flesh wound and some topless girls to keep the male audience entertained (I didn't realize they had breast implants in the 1700s), "BloodRayne" is a visual joke, with Boll limply organizing a period horror/action film with all the confidence and subtlety of Baby Huey, and with about the same level of literacy.

The acting almost has Boll beat. I feel bad for Kristanna Loken, who really appears to be giving the film her all, only to be let down by a director who couldn't care less about actors. The rest of the talent (clad in costumes usually found at the local comic book convention) seem to perceive Boll's negligence, and simply phone in their performances. "BloodRayne" is a horror "Muppet Movie" of sorts, parading a string of cameos by actors who just wanted a free Romanian vacation. Geraldine Chaplin, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf, Udo Kier, Michelle Rodriguez, and Michael Madsen (looking like he just arrived from a particularly potent St. Patrick's Day celebration) all appear, and give increasingly deplorable performances, each attempting to deliver screenwriter Guinevere Turner's proper-English script with increasingly hilarious results. That alone might be worth the price of admission.

For followers of Boll, "BloodRayne" doesn't introduce a new low for the director, but merely reinforces the common notion that this is the last guy who should be making movies. He gives "complete artistic bankruptcy" an all-new meaning.

Filmfodder Grade: F