To be fair, I didn’t set out to make February the month of terrible video game adaptions. Part of it is I just simply don’t want to pay for would-be bad movies right now, so I’m stuck with whatever is available for free on the streaming services I have. The other part is that many of the worst movies in film history are just that, and “Bloodrayne” starring Kristanna Loken is far from an exception.
I’m not entirely sure what goes wrong in the adaption process, especially considering how good video games have gotten from a narrative standpoint. Some of the best games have deep, creative mythos, strong nuanced characters, and compelling villains that should all transfer to the screen with relative ease. And yet, they continue to be Hollywood’s biggest struggle, with the majority of them ending up on this series.
Surprising no one, I have a lot of questions about “Bloodrayne,” but very few of them have to do with the movie itself.
First foremost, why, in the name of all that is holy, is any recognizable face in this film at all? The cast list for this movie is astounding, probably more surprising than how bad the movie is itself. I expect anything directed by Uwe Boll (more on that later) will have a laundry list of things to contend with, but the list of well known actors attached to this film is downright mystifying. No one needs money that bad to star in “Bloodrayne,” and it’s not like any of them are struggling actors desperate for work when the script came across their desk.
Seriously, I can’t get over the cast list. Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley (no, seriously, Sir Ben freakin Kingsley), Billy Zane, even Meatloaf is in this thing. Look, everyone has a few blemishes on their record, and no actor is above the occasional stinker. But to have THIS many actors that CAN actually act in a film like “Bloodrayne” is something people make documentaries about.
Adding insult to injury, every single one of them shouldn’t be. Not just because almost all of them are better than the film itself, but everyone is wildly miscast. No one, absolutely NO ONE asked to see Michelle Rodriguez attempt a British Accent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s as hilarious as it sounds, but it’s a sentence I never ever thought I’d have write. So, thanks “Bloodrayne,” I guess?
This brings us to my second question: who in the ever loving f*** keeps allowing Uwe Boll to make movies?! I could do two months straight of JUST Uwe Boll films, with literally all of them ending up on the 10% or less list, and even if he was financing most of them himself, they still have to be optioned and distributed by studios. That means someone in Hollywood read Guinivere Turner‘s “Bloodrayne” script and said, “I love it. You know who would be great for this? Uwe Boll.” And then, after its disastrous box office performance (made for $25 million and only made $2.4 million), that same person let him make two more “Bloodrayne” films.
It’s not even like Uwe Boll is a good person who everyone likes so he gets a pass. He used real prostitutes instead of actors for a scene in “Bloodrayne” to cut costs, financed a majority of his films through a German tax law loophole up until 2006, sued Billy Zane for his part in the distribution company of the film, and has on more than one occasion challenged critics of his work to physical boxing matches. Yes, you read that right. Actual, physical boxing matches against anyone who didn’t like his god awful movies. So why in the world would anyone want to work him?
I realize that I haven’t said anything about the actual film “Bloodrayne,” but honestly, it’s not really necessary. It’s a muddled, loose video game adaption with shoddy pacing, weirdly cut fight choreography, a nonsensical plot of its own, flat performances by otherwise talented actors slumming it, and over the top gore when things get a little to expository. Whatever criteria you have for what makes a bad movie, “Bloodrayne” hits all the check marks. Which is actually kind of unfortunate, because even without having played the video game there are some genuinely interesting story elements in it.
“Bloodrayne” can’t escape the worst parts of its video game origins and is exacerbated by an even worst director at its helm. It is a victim of circumstance rather than actual competency, and despite a strong cast, there isn’t a single one among them having enough fun to try even a little bit to care. Needless to say, its 4% on Rotten Tomatoes is well deserved, and may even be a little too kind.
I take that back. I now hold “Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li” as the bar for bad films and the definitive 0% rating, and while “Bloodrayne” is close, I would give it a few percentage points simply for not being that film.
God, I REALLY hated “Street Figher: Legend of Chun Li.” I may never be the same again. Somehow “Bloodrayne” was a pallet cleanser, but more like adding “sparkling” to the bleach in the eyes rather than just burning them out of my skull.
Sorry for that. Ok, ya, “Bloodrayne” deserves it, watch something else.