Friday, January 13, 2006

Movie Review: Bloodrayne = Really, really horrible

I’m beginning to think that I am not merely drawn to bad movies, but that some part of my brain – one that I have no control over – actively seeks them out. Like Wednesday night, for example: I had nothing else better to do, so I thought, “Hey – I’ll see a movie!”

So what did I pick? Bloodrayne, of course. Now, bear in mind that I knew nothing about this movie going into it, and I mean nothing. I was completely at the mercy of this movie to declare itself to me on its own terms.

I knew I was in trouble when the beginning credits started rolling and Bloodrayne informed me that [1] it was based on a computer game and [2] it was directed by Uwe Boll.

I would like to say right now that I don’t believe that movies that are based on computer games are bad by definition, but as I can only think of one I’ve ever seen that was actually entertaining (Mortal Kombat), I feel confident in suggesting a rule that plots derived from computer games are at least indicative – if not always the cause – of movie wretchedness.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. A talented director can make even the most threadbare script into something entertaining, or at least lucid.

Alas, Uwe Boll [link is not Safe For Mom] helmed this effort, and his hammy fist of incompetence has left its greasy stains on every unwatchable second of every movie he’s been involved with, and so I knew as soon as his name appeared that I was in for a tough night.



[again, a pause]

Okay – you know those old Japanese monster movies, the ones with giant monsters that trash Tokyo? You know how weird the pacing and editing is, and how, when combined with the herky-jerky dubbing of English dialogue, the only thing you’re sure of as you watch is that somehow the plot is advancing itself even though you’re not sure precisely how, even when many characters are introduced strictly and precisely for the purpose of exposition, and so you feel headachy after a while because you know you should have at least some kind of basic understanding of what’s going by the time Godzilla has trashed the power station only it’s just out of your grasp because for all you know the dialogue could have been meant for the Gamera movie instead and then you start wondering if Japan shouldn’t start paying reparations to the United States because of the fact that they squandered our post-WWII rebuilding money to make ridiculous monster movies?

Got that in your mind? Uwe Boll kinda goes for that method, only there’s much less dialogue and there’s lots – gobs, really – of off-speed vampire sucking and stuff and a couple of flashbacks that you’re not sure are flashbacks until after the fact, and all I really learned in the first 20 minutes of the movie was that Billy Zane still can’t act. And, I dunno, maybe he was related to the main character, a hot-lookin’ blonde vampire who possibly wants to kill him. And I think some stuff had to be found. In order to kill some guy.

Or something.

Somehow, Ghandi was involved, too, but I never got the chance to figure out how. I kept thinking, “He’s broke. Ghandi is broke and now he’s doing the old Michael Caine ‘I’ll be in anything that pays’ schtick.”


Okay – you know Joe Flaherty of SCTV, and how he did this one skit of Norman Gorman, this guy with a thick Bronx accent doing “Shakespeah in da pahk”?

No – wait! Here’s a better one: You know how funny it is when guys who learned Spanish in high school go to Mexican restaurants and talk to the waitresses in their high school Spanish and they do it in a total gringo accent? That’s just embarrassing, right?

It’s kind of the same way with guys who’ve spent their entire life speaking in casual, slang-ridden American English and suddenly they have to sound all middle ages or something stupid like that. Take out the contractions – make the guys says “Yes, I will do that” instead of “Yeah, I’ll do it,” - and you’re going to get one of two results: either the guys will sound like improv actors channeling Benny Hill doing Richard Burton, or you’ll get Flaherty’s “Shakespeah in da pahk” skit, and when the hapless actor doing “Shakespeah in da pahk” is playing it straight instead of for laughs, the results are First Week of American Idol bad. You just feel horrible for the guy, physically hurt on his behalf.

Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, and whoever that third guy was – well, I just wanted to crawl under my seat, that’s how embarrassed I felt. I mean, it’s bad enough to have your hair died by the C-Team so that you can see the areas the dye-brush missed, but to have to utter silly dialogue in a manner that is completely foreign to your acting sensibilities?

Whew! Is all I can say.


Okay – the fact is that I left the movie twenty minutes into it, shortly after Billy Zane tells some other, better actor “You are SUCH a suck-up” and the hot blonde has been told by one of the few legit actors in the film in a different scene that . . . um . . . I can’t really remember.

It was some kind of fortune telling scene, I remember that.

You know, even the fortune teller seemed uncomfortable with her lines. Everyone did, now that I think about it. Even Ghandi.

The only really clear memory I have of Bloodrayne, outside of the register of embarrassed amusement that one of the utterly unsympathetic heroes in the movies was Tough Guy actor Michael Madsen, was that I just couldn’t take any more.

Really. I’d just had enough.

So I walked out.

Sorry, but even the most committed and cranky self-proclaimed lover of bad movies has his limits.

Not even the prospect of being able to write a longer review could keep me in that seat.

Not even the prospect of seeing what part Meat Loaf ended up with.

This is your Cranky Reviewer, logging off.

No comments: