D+

BloodRayne

There's a moment late in BloodRayne, the latest video game adaptation from director Uwe Boll (Alone In The Dark, House Of The Dead), that epitomizes the general shabbiness that makes it feel through and through like a grand gothic spectacle on a Vancouver budget. Steeling herself for a final conflict with her vampire overlord father, the half-human/half-vampire heroine begins to deliver a defiant Braveheart speech to her battle-weary comrades. As she starts her oration, what sounds like the horn section of the George Washington Junior High School band swells half-heartedly and fades out as the speech loses its momentum at "I'll never stop fighting." Then, there's a sort of awkward silence before the climax begins in earnest. Boll, whose name is German for "Ed Wood," wants this cheap, bloody mess to fake the scale of a Hollywood epic like The Lord Of The Rings, and he's got endless helicopter shots of horses galloping along mountainsides to prove it. But he's not fooling anybody.

Apparently, the Boll name rings Terrence Malick to B-movie actors, because BloodRayne features one of the most eclectic supporting casts in years, including Michael Madsen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Udo Kier, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Paré, and Geraldine Chaplin. Working from a script by the respectable Guinevere Turner (American Psycho), Boll sets the action in 18th century Romania, where his sexy "dhampir" heroine Kristanna Loken (the lady Terminator in T3) has been reduced to a carnival freak. When Loken escapes, she immediately sets out to take revenge on her father Ben Kingsley, the powerful vampire king who raped and killed her mother. Meanwhile, three slayers (Madsen, Rodriguez, and Matt Davis) dutifully hunt down Loken, Kingsley, and any other vampire that roams the countryside, but Loken convinces them of her cause, despite her blood-sucking proclivities.

Because it's based on a video game, BloodRayne includes a couple of side missions and superfluous subplots, including the collection of three magical body parts that will eradicate a vampire's weaknesses and a sinister plot by Rodriguez's father, played to camp perfection by Zane and his hairpiece. Other than Zane's performance and a hilarious bout of acrobatic dungeon sex between Loken and Davis, there's disappointingly little nourishment here for bad cinema junkies, certainly nothing on the level of Tara Reid's egghead/sexpot paleontologist in Alone In The Dark. With minimal flare and maximal gore, Boll simply delivers the turgid drama and incompetently staged action sequences that have made him the unstoppable Big Boss of the gaming community.

Filed Under: Film

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