Harry reaches The Third Descent of Uwe Boll into the Game Grid: BLOODRAYNE!
Far superior to THE FOG, yet still reeking of sub-made for TV, but with tits and blood. This is my first theatrical experience with Dr. Boll, and fittingly enough he was there to greet me at the theater.
What is Uwe Boll like? Well, at the screening last night he was charming, warm, funny, frank and hilarious. But then, I've often held that really bad filmmakers had to be charming as hell, otherwise, how could they get the money with which to victimize audiences? Hell, word was that Ted Bundy was a sweetheart, having said that, I wouldn't recommend getting in his Volkswagon, my dear. When asked about why so many online folks love to rake him over the coals, Uwe responded with, “Please Stop, Please.” Sitting not 9 feet from Uwe’s feet in a bright red shirt was Quint. Somehow, the picture was perfect. Will Sanderson chimed in that it was lots of fun to hate Uwe Boll, that he’s fun to make fun of. Which Uwe interjected, “Yes, it is fun to make fun of the German, because I Nazi and make movies with that Nazi Money.” Literally that brought down the house laughing. Unfortunately, none of this wit and humor and sense of fun actually made it to the screen.
I’m told that BLOODRAYNE the videogame involved Rayne fighting Nazis. Frankly, that’s just way more cool than Uwe’s pained recreation of a some sketchy fantasy period which is populated by actors wildly out of their depth and time. Take Michael Madsen in this. He looks, talks and acts like he should have a fedora and a cigarette – yet there he is with a sword. Casting hasn’t been this bad since John Wayne played Genghis Khan. We were told by Uwe and Will that Michael was drunk everyday, that Ben Kingsley – having suffered through Madsen on SPECIES – refused to shoot scenes with him. But ya know what, the problem here is that Uwe honestly feels that it doesn’t matter which actor you put in, so long as they have a recognizable name that appeals to foreign investors. In fact, to the festival crowd, he advised them that casting your movie at the last minute, suddenly you are able to get great names with holes in their schedule. The cast of BLOODRAYNE only began to be cast a mere Two Weeks prior to cameras rolling. Meaning they really had no time for weapons training, no time for proper choreography. These were just cattle being led to the cinematic slaughter.
Watching this film, you could imagine that Uwe was aiming to achieve the look and feel of Stephen Sommers. After the film, I had the pleasure to talk with Uwe about his taste in films – and to a large degree this involved Uwe bagging on a film like UNDERWORLD – which while that film certainly had a more expensive look, at the end it sucked as badly, if not worse than Uwe’s latest effort. “These are Vampires and Werewolves, but where is the blood. Don’t they eat?,” he said. In Uwe’s film, there’s certainly blood – and tits. He actually hired real Romanian Mafia owned “whores” for this decadent scene involving Meatloaf’s character. “They were better than actors. We looked for local Romanian actresses, but there they are all from the theater and act very broadly. For 150 euros a piece the whores would be naked and do as they were told. It was better.” Now – lest you judge Dr. Boll harshly – realize – this very same technique was used by Brian DePalma during the shooting of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. In the big casting session with all the girls on the bed writhing about and making out… that day, the person in charge of extras forgot to have women called for that part, so DePalma needing immediate attractive loose women, picked up the yellow pages and called an Escort company and had them send every girl they had down for the shoot. In fact – in Dr. Boll’s film – this is the only scene in which all of his actors seem to be very much alive. Meatloaf effortlessly portrays a decadent self-indulgent vampire surrounding himself with a harem of sex thirsting nymphos. His insane look, actually works in the film and every performer in this scene seemed to be having fun.
When I saw the online trailer – I have to admit, I was kinda hoping that Uwe might be able to achieve the camp fun of something like THE SWORD AND THE SORCEROR, but that was an under-financed fantasy flick with tons of blood and nudity – but something that seems beyond Uwe. Every actor in that move was so alive and having so much fun, that you felt like these were actors just loving every line, every action and just going for it on each and every take. Here – at the “best” moments – the actors look slightly amused, if not confused. Geraldine Chaplin survives the film with a nice turn as the Fortune Teller – but her tarot cards sucked. Udo Kier survives with the class that simply reflects the greater glory of Udo Kier. Billy Zane survives in his scant few moments on screen. Reportedly he was paid $10,000 for a day’s time shooting, as he was already in Romania working on another project at the time. Meat Loaf excels, but then he was given tons of naked “whores” for set dressing and a hilarious costume that he infused with a sadly tired soul that had been decadent for far too long. Unfortunately… all these survivors. These are the actors with the absolute least amount of screen time.
The victims – left gaping for air and direction are the main characters. Kristanna Loken, if she is to be anything more than a soft-core Skin-imax star (not that that would be bad) – needs desperately to work with directors that can give her the patience and the advice with which to act well with. To me, she’s a beautiful stunning woman, that just rarely has any sort of spark. She doesn’t handle dialogue well, there’s never the fire in her eyes that you would hope for. She has a ridiculous sex scene in this film that reminded me of another ridiculously awful sex scene from Antonio Banderas and Rebecca De Mornay’s sordid past called NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS – which has the distinction of being the only film so bad that I actually left the theater. In that scene – they fucked through a chain link fence. Here – Matt Davis and Kristanna Loken fuck on the same side of the bars, but while Kristanna is holding onto the bars to fuck him back – her right hand is clutching a bar on an unsecured door, so every time Matt thrusts it clangs open and closed being highly distracting and not deliberately funny.
Michelle Rodriguez and Ben Kingsley are lost here. Two fine actors that are just going through the paces. Trying to give something to characters that just are not there. Perhaps Michael Madsen had the best idea of how to survive a Uwe Boll film – just get drunk.
Will Sanderson was right. Making fun of Uwe is fun, but you know what? I genuinely hope Uwe silences everyone with DUNGEON SIEGE. He has a cast there that should be pretty good, if the script lets them. They have the fight choreographer from HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. In fact, at every position, save for direction they have a quality skilled person. If that film is as incompetent as the rest of Uwe’s work, then there you go. He can’t hide behind “the Romanian mafia” cursing his film with bait & switch talent. Vancouver has talented behind the scenes film workers. Unfortunately – BLOODRAYNE is a waste of time and talent and money. I found it to be a degree or two better than ALONE IN THE DARK – but that’s like smelling your shit 3 days in a row and saying on the third day, “Ya know, I think this smells a little better than yesterday’s.” It’s still shit.
My favorite exchange with Uwe was outside the Paramount Theater, under the Marquee when Uwe began criticizing Steven Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS. He really hated the end of the film. He wanted Cruise's son to be dead, for Miranda Otto's family home to be destroyed. This was amazing. There was just an amazing sense that this was Uwe Boll presuming to gripe about Spielberg. Ya gotta love that.