Let’s take some time to talk about Uwe Boll, and oh boy, we got a lot to talk about. Uwe Boll is a German filmmaker who is most famous for making bad video game adaptations and despite all of these films being box office bombs, he still made money due to exploiting a German tax loophole. Oh and he also had a stint of challenging his critics to a boxing match and beating the shit out of them. What a great guy! Because he has such a great record, we’re gonna talk about one of his most notorious films: 2005’s BloodRayne!
Based on the games that take place during WWII, the film instead takes place in the 1200s and centers on a Dhampir named Rayne (played by Kristanna Loken) who is a performer at a traveling caravan. One night, she escapes after killing everyone and goes on the run. Rayne seeks to kill her father, vampire overlord Kagan (played by Ben Kingsley) to avenge her human mother who he killed. Meanwhile, three members of a secret organization called the Brimstone Society, Vladimir (played by Michael Madsen), Sebastian (played by Matthew Davis), and Katarin (played by Michelle Rodriguez) also want to kill Kagan and track down Rayne to recruit her.
Now I was taught that if you want to say something bad about a film, you have to first say something good. And to that, I say this is probably the best video game adaptation Uwe Boll has directed, which isn’t saying much. Now onto the bad. The world building makes absolutely no sense. First off, vampires exist in this world, yet Rayne is kept as a circus attraction. Vampires get killed literally in front of a bartender by the Brimstone Society and he doesn’t even react! So what’s the point of Rayne being an attraction? In addition, Kagan has to absorb three parts of a dead vampire who was said to have defied the weaknesses of a vampire to become truly immortal. If this vampire was so powerful, how the hell did he die?
Additionally, the plot is one of the most convoluted in any film I’ve seen. So after Rayne kills her peers at the circus, she says she wants to kill all vampires, but then later shifts her focus to killing only Kagan. Meanwhile, the Brimstone Society’s purpose is stated only at the midway of the second act and their true motivation is never really explained. Also, the three main characters of the Brimstone Society don’t really have any personality besides just explaining things that have already happened. What few things we do know are that Sebastian’s shares a dead mother with Rayne and Katarin’s father is played by Billy Zane.
Speaking of Billy Zane, how the hell did this movie manage to get him along with Ben Kingsley, Meatloaf and Michelle Rodriguez on board? Didn’t they have better films to do? Billy Zane was relatively fresh off the success of Titanic and Ben Kingsley was in films like Gandhi and Schindler’s List! I gotta hand it to Michelle Rodriguez though. She was in two awful video game adaptations: Resident Evil and BloodRayne and worked with both Paul W.S. Anderson and Uwe Boll, the “best of the best” in video game adaptations.
Besides the story elements, the production design is absolutely shoddy; the costumes and props look like they were bought from Party City! While bad production is not always the final nail in the coffin, along with the bad acting and choreography, it just adds salt to the wound. During many of the fight scenes, it’s obvious that none of the cast rehearsed the fights long enough to make it look effective. As such, blurry cam and close ups were required to cover this up. The fight at the monastery has to be one of the poorest examples of this, as the makeup effects are so bad you can even see the actors holding their arms behind their back when they get their arms chopped off! Hell, during the fight, whenever someone gets a limb cleaved off, blood sprays everywhere like in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!
For some reason, BloodRayne got not one, but TWO sequels! Why? I don’t know! BloodRayne 2: Deliverance was also directed by Boll and takes place in the Wild West in the small town of…Deliverance and has Rayne face off against a cowboy vampire named Billy the Kid. Think it’s bad? Don’t worry, the third one is worse! BloodRayne 3: The Third Reich came out in 2011, four years after the second film and was also directed by Uwe Boll. Basically, the third entry has Rayne face off against Hitler who’s a vampire. Yep. Kristanna Loken did not return as Rayne in the two sequels and was replaced by Natassia Malthe, who I think did the best she could with the thinly-written character. Other than that, I don’t have much to say for the sequels because they were just that boring.
BloodRayne has everything you can expect from a bad video game adaptation: bad acting, bad storytelling and being unfaithful to the source material. However, this isn’t the worst adaptation of a beloved game that I’ve seen. That will come later. With Uwe Boll quitting the film business and opening a successful chain of restaurants, perhaps the age of bad video game adaptations are behind us. Or since COVID-19 shut down restaurants, perhaps he’ll decide to make a fourth BloodRayne movie. But hey, at least he isn’t making a Resident Evil film!