Quint meets Uwe Boll and sees BLOODRAYNE! What a night...
Published at: Oct. 25, 2005, 4:08 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Ah, what a night. Quint and Uwe Boll have touched. Does that mean a phone call has gone out to each of the four horsemen?
I did indeed speak to Dr. Boll. I asked him for an autograph on an Austin Film Festival comment card. He signed it, then asked me what my name was while he started writing, "For..." I said, "Quint." He looked up sharply, sized me up for half a second then said, "Quint. My first enemy!" then finished it "For Quint" with a double underline. Strangely enough, no fist fights broke out, but he did try to plead a case with me, saying that he wasn't Michael Bay and that he doesn't have a studio backing him up. (To me that sounds like he has more creative freedom) He spent 6 years getting his budget for his first movie, too.
I told him that he would make someone a helluva producer. Consider that he gets these huge budgets (huge for the indie world like ALONE IN THE DARK's $20 million or BLOODRAYNE's $17 million, and huge for anything with DUNGEON SEIGE's $65 million), consider that he's attaching some real talent to a lot of these movies. He never got a chance to respond to that because we were interrupted by a guy that wanted to give Boll his director's reel. I shook Boll's hand and left.
You know, I give the guy a lot of shit on this site and while I don't take back one word I have said (and won't take back the words that follow in the review of his newest movie), this never really has been about anything personal. Okay, maybe a little... I've joked around at his expense, but he has done likewise to me. I didn't take it personally. I think he's wasting properties and talent that in other filmmakers' hands would be successful. Unfortunately, when his projects bomb they shed a negative light on all genre film, not just video game movies. It's another failed R-rated horror movie to studios, which result in more crap like THE FOG remake.
Boll in person seems like a nice enough guy. I've heard both Freddie Prinze Jr. and Paul WS Anderson are super cool people to hang out with, too, but that doesn't help me enjoy their work.
So we're to it. What'd I think of BLOODRAYNE? In short, it's more of the same. I'd put BLOODRAYNE on the same level as ALONE IN THE DARK, however I can say that the production design of ALONE IN THE DARK is much better and the overall quality of acting is better (believe it or not).
I actually thought in the first 3 or 4 minutes that Boll was going to make me eat crow because the film starts with some solid CG work and a not terrible credits sequence, however it only had me worried I had pegged Boll wrong until someone opened their mouth and uttered a line of dialogue.
The acting in this film is bad, all across the board. There's not one actor that turns in a good performance, but there are one or two that coast on just being cool themselves.
Kirstanna Loken as Bloodrayne. The red hair is a good look for her. She should never open her mouth. Ever. She's gorgeous and, as we see in a really awkward sex scene, has perfect breasts, but the girl can not deliver a line of dialogue. She just can't. I've seen better lead acting in high school productions of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.
Michael Madsen. He can be bad. Really, really, really bad. I guess I was surprised that he only sucked in the movie and wasn't godawful. He plays the mentor character, the last leader of the sect that fights against the vampires.
Michelle Rodriguez. Oh boy. If you thought she was playing to a cliche in RESIDENT EVIL then watch BLOODRAYNE to see how bad she really can be. Rodriguez, while always only playing the tough chick role, can be really enjoyable to watch. She's abysmally bad in this movie as the treacherous right hand of Madsen's character.
Ben Kingsley. He's bored through the whole movie. If he wasn't, then that's a testament to his acting skills because he looked like he didn't give a rats ass about what he was doing. Still, he turns in the best performance in the movie. When coasting and indifferent Kingsley was still 10 times better than anyone else in the flick. Hope that mortgage payment was worth it.
Billy Zane. He's hardly in the movie, playing Michelle Rodriguez's father (hoo-what!?). He has about a page of dialogue and me remembering what he said and repeating it right now, a day later, would be only slightly worse than what he did on the screen. I like Billy Zane. He was in CRITTERS, man. But I wish he wasn't releasing the film with this new fangled distribution company he has. It's bad news for him and for his partners/investors if this is their flagship movie.
Udo Kier. He's not in the movie long. He plays a priest that is helping to guard one of the relics that the "the moooossttt pooowwweeeeerrrrrrfffulll vampire" (see Meatloaf below) is attempting to find. He's one of the cast that I mentioned above that coasts on his coolness. He's always Udo and he's playing Udo in a bad movie here.
Meatloaf. After the movie, myself, Harry and some friends ate at Trudy's (great tex mex) and Harry was telling me how much he loved Meatloaf in BLOODRAYNE. I was baffled. His is easily one of the worst small performances ever put to film, indie or no. I said, "But he was terrible." Harry said, "I know! That's what was great about it!" So, if you like watching Meatloaf suck a nut, you'll love his 3 minutes in this movie, I guess. The above-mentioned "poowwweeerrrrfffuullll...' moment is really in the movie. It is fun to see Meatloaf surrounded by a bunch of naked Romanian whores, but that didn't distract me from his nails on a chalkboard delivery.
But then again everybody in the movie has that over-dramatic... drawn... out... line delivery. I guess because there are castles and swords that means... you pause... every other... word... It's not just one actor. Everybody in the movie does it. You know what it really reminded me of? It was like those '70s dubbed chop-sockey movies where the original Cantonese took much longer for the actors to say than the English translations, so the voice actors had to draw out a sentence like, "His clan was attacked!" to fill about 10 seconds. That's what 98% of the line delivery in the movie was like.
The fight scenes were amateurish at best. The actors looked like children playing with tin foil swords in the backyard. The choreography was nonexistent, with the actors all looking afraid of getting hit, so they swung reeeaalllyyy slowly and anticipated every single blow. Sloppy and uninteresting.
There are a few beautiful shots of Romania, however they were all done in such blatant LORD OF THE RINGS rip-off helicopter shots that they got boring very quickly. None of the locations we were shown in the many, many helicopter shots had anything to do with where the characters needed to go. It was just people riding on horseback along a pretty mountainside... over and over again.
Not to be completely negative, I think Boll's standards for CGI have greatly increased from picture to picture. Some of the vampires in the town were really well done... they morph from human to vamps as Bloodrayne pass. He's also got a solid effects for the vamp death...
But before you think I'm giving the guy a free pass, I think his direction of the movie was sub-substandard. There's a main character's death at the end of the film that is handled like the death of Guard #4. You almost don't realize it happens. There was no weight given to the scene, not build up or tension. All of a sudden this character is being bitten by Vampires on his arms, then is stabbed through the heart by the main henchman. This all happens in maybe 10 seconds. And the love scene... the start of it has Bloodrayne going for the jugular of the dude who's supposed to be the main character, which I found odd because she said not 10 minutes before that she didn't thirst for human blood... This guy, Matt Davis, stops her, and pushes her face up to his so their nose to nose and says, "No..." in the most melodramatic way you can imagine, then roughly kisses her. An awkward lead-in to an awkward scene.
If Uwe really wants to be taken seriously at all he needs to learn one thing above all: Respect. He needs to learn how to respect film, respect the genre and respect the material he's adapting.
He said in the Q&A that the actors were all cast 2 weeks prior to shooting. This wasn't because he was forced to by circumstance or what have you, but this way he could get name actors easier. If, say, Ben Kingsley was considering a project that fell through and he had an offer to do a little vampire movie next week in Romania for a big salary, he was more likely to take it than if Boll had approached him 6 months before and he had a chance to look at his other options.
In this Q&A Boll also said it didn't matter who was in the movie as long as there was a name on the poster. "The characters don't matter." That's why your movies are reviled, dude. Your actor friend said that we "haters" are a "vocal minority." Look at the box office and tell me what majority loves Boll's films. And the reason for that is hidden in Boll's attitude about his films. "The characters don't matter." He thinks all movies are are boobs, blood and CG effects.
Boll has a strange power to get money (although that might be in jeopardy now that VIP Meidenfonds, who funded BLOODRAYNE and ALONE IN THE DARK has been shut down by the government for tax evasion). Respect is what he needs. If he really doesn't have any directorial talent, then he at the very least needs to respect the material and respect it enough to actually cast the roles instead of just lining up names that'd help sell the film to foreign territories.
We genre fans really aren't all that demanding. Hell, I enjoyed DOOM, a retarded movie that showcased the tone of the game in a fun way. But ultimately, I don't give a crap about these video games Boll is attached to now. I never played DUNGEON SEIGE, only played POSTAL a couple of times. It wasn't until Boll tried to get onboard of HALO that I really started sweating. I just wish he'd consider what made these games lasting and fun in the first place and not remove them so far from the original that they might as well be called something else.
Without any joking or me being shitty, I wish Boll would just stop and objectively look at his work. Don't put excuses on crappy actors (who hired them?) or shitty Romanian stunt people (ditto) or shitty writers and just look at your films as they stand. I don't want to hear about the millions ALONE IN THE DARK made on DVD (funny how that figure seems to jump around with a difference of about $15 million depending on who Boll is talking to). By everyone's account it's a failure. Why is that? If he's to grow as a filmmaker and even think about making a movie that isn't cable-movie quality, he's got to honestly look at himself. Find his weaknesses, admit to them and try to change them. That can start with respect.
If Boll hopes to someday make a good movie and get assholes like me off his back, he has to do that. Knowing how to sell the movie to South Africa and casting it well is not necessarily the same thing.
But I've rambled enough. BLOODRAYNE is typical Boll. For the love of God, if he really got Billy Zane to release it on 2000 plus screenings in January, don't go out and support it. Boll claims to be trapped into making video game movies because somebody up on the money ladder somewhere makes a profit somehow. Let's stop that from happening, so Boll can do those non-genre movies he seems to want to do. What do you say we help the guy out?