Bloodrayne – Videogames are bad for you week

This is videogames are bad for you week. Bloodrayne is currently available on instant Netflix.

Bloodrayne

AVOID: Bloodrayne (2006) – UR – This movie is unrated

The theatrical version is rated R for strong bloody violence, some sexuality, and nudity. Presumably the unrated version is a little stronger.

“A half-human, half vampire sets out to destroy her vampire king father in this Gothic horror film based on the video game. Bloodthirsty Lord Kagan (Ben Kingsley) wants his daughter to become a full-fledged vampiress, but fanged femme fatale Rayne (Kristanna Loken) denounces her father’s legacy and instead joins up with a trio of vampire hunters (Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez and Matt Davis). Billy Zane and Udo Kier co-star.”

“Keep your friends close, your enemies closer”

Yes this film doesn’t even bother with its own dialogue. It simply borrows from other films. When it does have original dialogue that dialogue is awful.

“Where are you going?” – “I’m going on my own.”

Thankfully there isn’t as much shaky cam, jump cutting, shifting camera angles and out of focus photography as in yesterday’s Alone in the Dark II but all are present to an annoying degree here as well.

Kristanna Loken, last seen as the hot Terminator in Terminator 3, is actually an ideal choice as Bloodrayne. It seems a shame that they didn’t keep the Nazi setting of the game. My guess is that Uwe Boll must have had easy access to medieval costumes. Also of course since much of his financing is German, Nazis probably don’t play well there.

The stupidity on display here is amazing. Vladimir (Michael Madsen) has a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow that apparently can reload itself. Characters are not so much killed by others as they do fall on other character’s weapons. Every unimportant character (villagers for example) is dressed in completely drab clothing, most lacking any color at all.

At one point the heroes get ‘black powder from China’. Is this somehow better than the gunpowder that Europeans had had for hundreds of years by this point?

No one looks askance at Bloodrayne’s midriff and cleavage baring outfit, much less that she seems to be the only character allowed outdoors in the color red. Don’t even get me started on the tattoo she sports. Also it apparently only takes Bloodrayne two seconds to completely drain a vampire of blood.

I love how the monastery has been guarding a sacred artifact for centuries yet Bloodrayne shows up and minutes later she has not only killed the guardian and foiled the videogame like puzzle, she also has the artifact. The monastery is then completely wiped out in a hilariously bad gorefest.

The only bright spot in the film is a single scene with a must be slumming Geraldine Chaplin (The Four Musketeers, Jane Eyre). She plays a fortune teller and in spite of all the other good actors in the film, she is the only one to give a good performance.

In fact I shouldn’t let the good actors off so lightly. Michael Madsen appears to be pretending that he is in a completely different film. Michelle Rodriguez just plays the same tough girl she always does – it would be nice to see her play against type sometime. Ben Kingsley is completely and somewhat inexplicably dreadful.

By all means AVOID this movie. If by any chance you missed any of the hilariously bad gore effects, don’t worry. They replay all of them at the end of the film in a flashback.

People Watch: Meat Loaf appears as Leonid. He is billed as Meat Loaf Aday – is this to distinguish him from all the other actors out there named Meat Loaf? At any rate his scene is the most embarrassing one in the film.


Dead Calm – Don’t Get on That Boat week

Sometimes it seems too easy to do a particular week on a genre or a particular star or director. This week is Don’t Get on That Boat! week. Dead Calm is currently available on instant Netflix.

Dead Calm

WATCH: Dead Calm (1989) – Rated R.

“The Ingrams — John (Sam Neill) and Rae (Nicole Kidman) — set off for an extended sailing trip after their young son dies tragically in a car crash. When they come across another seafarer (Billy Zane) feverishly paddling away from a sinking schooner, they bring him aboard — and quickly realize he’s a murderous sociopath. Masterfully directed by Phillip Noyce, this violent, psychological thriller helped launch Kidman’s film career.”

The beginning of this movie shows a wonderful economy of storytelling. We meet John on a railroad platform presumably waiting for Rae to arrive. Within the next few minutes the tragic circumstances setting the scene have occurred and we’re on the extended sailing trip. By the ten minute mark, we have already spotted the schooner.

There are other characters in this movie but this is essentially a three-person story. Nicole Kidman’s and Billy Zane’s careers were launched with this taut thriller. They had been on other films but this one put them on the map. Sam Neill’s career was in full swing when he made this. All three give wonderful, complex performances.

There are major gaping plotholes but the story is told so well by director Phillip Noyce that we aren’t left to linger on them for more than a moment. For instance why does John take the dinghy to the schooner instead of simply piloting his boat to the schooner?

I highly recommend this fast-paced thriller.

People Watch: Lisa Collins (Billy Zane’s ex-wife) plays one of the Orpheus Cruise girls. Sam Neill met his wife, makeup artist Noriko Watanabe, on the set of this film.