ComicsAlliance Reviews ‘BloodRayne’ (2005), Part Two
Chris Sims: Welcome back to ComicsAlliance's extra-spoooooky review of BloodRayne, everyone, where we're mostly terrified that this movie actually exists. When we last left off, our half-vampire heroine had been rescued from an exceptionally horny Meat Loaf in a scene that I cannot believe was really put on film.
Matt Wilson: This movie really has a sort of high-budget college-kids-making-a-movie-for-kicks feel to it, but that scene especially did. And I don't mean high budget for movies, I mean high budget for college kids.Chris: As Rayne and the Brimstone Bros are on their way to Brimstone HQ, we rejoin Sir Ben Kingsley for what is very clearly the third scene they shot in one day at this particular set. He is very upset with Fake Bane about Rayne getting away with the Eye, which you know because he says "I am very upset" and not because he is actually projecting any emotion other than a desire to get this over with as quickly as he can.
Matt: He tells Not-Bane to get out of his sight, then asks him if the dhampir has a name. You think that's how the script was written, or Kingsley just got the lines out of order and they didn't bother with a second take?
Chris: Now, far be it from me to nitpick the great Uwe Boll, but... wasn't Ben Kingsley looking for "the dhampir" because she's his daughter? Like, isn't that why they were trying to track her down in the first place? Shouldn't he know who she is by this point?
Matt: Look at him, Chris. Look at Ben Kingsley. This is a man who just doesn't care. That he's even curious about her name halfway into the movie is a wonder.
Chris: You know, I was seriously asking if I missed a plot point, but then I remembered that I probably care less about what's going on here than Ben Kingsley does. Let's just move on.
Matt: The BrimBros bring Rayne to Brimstone HQ (save us, Billy Zane!) and arrive to find Michelle Rodriguez, who says words to Michael Madsen that make no sense. I quite literally cannot make sense of a word she is saying.
Chris: It's okay though, because nobody in the movie seems to know what's going on, either. They basically just chuck Rayne into the dungeon, bondage her up a little, and then stand around going "wait, what are we doing again? Are we fighting Ben Kingsley or Billy Zane? How do you know Meat Loaf?"
Matt: A guy shows up at Kagan's castle with a box of something and Kagan responds with the minimum enthusiasm someone can have for receiving a box of something. In the Brimstone dungeon, we find out Kagan has "the rib" while Rayne begs to be released from a cell. But does Kagan have the Red Crystal? That is the true question.
Chris: If he doesn't, that tornado's never going to show up and take him past Deborah Cliff. Rayne tries to convince the Brimstone Posse that she's totally a good vampire and can help them fight Ben Kingsley, but they don't believe her until she has a lengthy flashback of Ben Kingsley killing her mother, which is at least the third time in 45 minutes that we have seen this footage.
Matt: Kagan asks MomRayne "Where is the girl?" and when she doesn't respond immediately, he immediately bites her and then stabs her through the stomach. That is not the best interrogation tactic.
Chris: It's the one most people tend to employ in this movie, though. Remember when Fake Bane asked Udo Kier where the Eye was and then immediately stabbed him in the heart? Either way, it's enough to convince Michael Madsen to wander over and take the chains off, although she continues to sleep in the prison cell for the duration of her stay in Brimstonetowne.
Matt: Madsen taking the chains off Rayne because of an easily fabricated story about a dead mother doesn't sit well with Michelle Rodriguez for some reason, so while he sits outside sharpening his toy sword, she gives him what-for, asking if he's just going to open the doors and let anyone in. He takes this berating by falling asleep onscreen. Excepting the bloody battle scenes, this movie is very much like one of those porn movie cuts where they take out the sex and just leave in the plot stuff. Maybe a little worse.
Chris: Case in point: Right after he takes the chains off, Madsen instructs the other dude whose name I don't remember to "...give her what she needs" and he slowly puts his sword back in its sheathe. This could only be more porny if there was a Kink.com watermark in the corner.
Matt: Even though Rodriguez doesn't like it, Rayne gets the sleepiest training montage in history. This despite the fact that we've already seen her be fairly proficient with arm-swords already.
Chris: It's almost a reverse-training montage, because the big fight at the monastery is the best action scene in the whole picture. I mean, that's a pretty low hurdle to clear, but they never manage it, so I can only assume they're training Kristianna Loken to actively forget everything she learned doing Terminator 3.
Matt: As she trains to get worse, one of Rayne's swords breaks, in that a piece of one just falls right off like it was made of papier-mache, which, maybe it is. She's vaguely upset, and Michael Madsen says something vague about how he can maybe help. Not like, mysterious vague. More like, "Maybe this is how I should say these words, I have no idea because I don't really have a character" vague.
Chris: I enjoy how the movie flashes back to Amanda using the swords back at the beginning - again, the third time we've seen that footage - just in case you forgot where she got them. Does Uwe Boll know the guy from Memento? Is that who he thinks his target audience is?
Matt: Maybe he just knows the effects of his movies. I know as we've been watching this one, I've forgotten a lot of things about my own life. Birthdays, bank account numbers, whether any events have happened prior to us watching BloodRayne, etc.
Chris: Let me know if you remember what sin we could have committed in a single lifetime that would require us to watch this movie as punishment.
Matt: Here's something scary: What really gets Rayne going is a dream about killing a bunch of people, ostensibly brought on by her dad's mind-powers(?). And when they do have sex, it is in what has to be the most uncomfortable place in that highly uncomfortable room: Right up against the cell bars.
Chris: Some Dude (that's the name I'm going with from now on, I'm not looking it up and you can't make me) is so into it that he ends up ripping Rayne's circus clothes right off, which is handy because he's just given her a new outfit made by the good people of Brimstoneville. Now... Look. Kristianna Loken is a beautiful, beautiful young lady. I don't think either one of us is going to come close to to disputing that. She's gorgeous. But these new clothes do her absolutely no favors.
Matt: They also look shockingly like her old clothes. I mean, the tailor at BrimstoneTown must specialize in knockoffs.
Chris: They're exactly like her original clothes, except made of leather, and the pants are weirdly shapeless and high-waisted. They're like... 90s jeans. I cannot for the life of me figure out what prompted the change, because the original outfit seems to look a lot like what I've seen of the video game.
Matt: It took WhatsHisName even bringing up new clothes for me to realize those were supposed to the new ones. Anyway, Rayne arrives at dinner where the Brimstoners have been talking about how low on food they are. A kid asks to see her teeth, which sounds a lot like "teats" coming out of his mouth, and Rayne obliges. But they're just regular teeth, no fangs. Missed special effects shot or what?
Chris: Ha ha, it's fun with the kids! So of course, this is the moment that Michelle Rodriguez decides Rayne has to die. That escalated quickly.
Matt: She sends a letter by boat to Billy Zane, I guess because she's mad about the lack of food. But if anyone is to blame for that, it's Michael Madsen, right? How's he skirting the Death Letter on this?
Chris: I think Madsen is just a victim of Billy Zane's undeniable charisma. Really, after watching this movie for the past hour, who would you side with?
Matt: A servant brings Kagan a bunch of dogtags(?) from the Rome branch of the Brimstone Society and he sends out his thralls to battle via, I guess, telepathy, because his mouth doesn't move at all during his rallying speech. So then his army marches out, in exactly the same way they did about 20 minutes before. It looks like the same shots and everything.
Chris: Basically, what we have here is around 55 minutes of movie that needed to be an hour and a half to get into theaters. After that, we get yet another sequence of training, only this time, it's Michelle Rodriguez explaining how her parents died to Rayne. Shockingly, this does not lead to the two of them making out, despite everything in the movie up to now pointing to this as the only logical conclusion to the scene.
Matt: As they duel, Rodriguez says, "Your form is weak. It is lacking passion." I wonder if she's talking about BloodRayne the character or BloodRayne the movie until Rayne says, "It's part of my plan. I am tiring you out." Now I know this is about the movie.
Chris: They get all catty at each other for a minute - it may surprise you that Uwe Boll's films do not have the most flattering treatment of women - and then we cut back to Billy Zane. For those of you wondering if our affection for Zane is ironic or genuine, consider that this is his reaction to someone literally throwing a severed head at him.
Chris: I f**kin' love that guy.
Matt: He tells Not-Bane, "Please stop throwing things at me," and I laugh my first genuine laugh at something I think this movie intends to be funny.
Chris: I desperately want to believe that Zane ad-libbed that, but I'm willing to give even Uwe Boll credit when it's due.
Matt: Zane tries his damnedest to convince Not-Bane to join up with him for "a more colorful reign," but Not-Bane is just Not-fun.
Chris: Zane plays this scene so great, too. He's super-slimy; his mannerisms in trying to lure this guy into a coup are the same as if he was playing a creep trying to pick up a girl at a bar. He even bats his eyelashes at him, which is fan-goshdarn-tastic.
Matt: Meanwhile, in Brimston, Michelle Rodriguez is begging Michael Madsen to do...something? The point is she doesn't like Rayne very much, in case you didn't notice that before. But Madsen stands his ground, and he, Rayne and Whosits sail to town to meet a butcher while Rodriguez stays to defend the colony.
Chris: This whole subplot about how they need supplies seems to be solved by just... going to the store. Seriously. And that kind of puts M-Rod's beef into perspective; I'd be pissed off too if people were starving because Michael Madsen didn't want to take an hour to hit the Piggly Wiggly and get some Hot Pockets.
Matt: While they're at the store, the butcher guy, who literally just leaves so the Brimstoners can just steal anything they want, gives Rayne some new arm-swords, which look Exceptionally dull. Like, wouldn't even cut a candle dull.
Chris: They're blunt pieces of metal, but since that's a phrase that could describe so many things in this movie, I'm going to go ahead and let it slide. I will say, though, that this scene is a pretty accurate translation of "gearing up before you go to fight the final boss" part of any video game, so that's a point in Boll's favor. I just wish I could figure out why he elected to only translate the most boring parts of games to his film.
Matt: On their way back, the group encounters a guy -- a character we have not seen before -- who has come from HQ to warn them that Not-Bane and his army have hacked up the place. Michael Madsen responds by saying, "If they want a fight, a fight they will get" like a man arguing with his wife about forgetting to pick up those Hot Pockets after all.
Chris: All of the action that took place while Rayne & the BrimBros were shopping is then related in flashback, and... what is with all these Goddamn flashbacks?! Why are there so many?! There are SO MANY, you guys!
Matt: There's 28 minutes left of this thing, too. That means, probably, 14 more flashbacks, I'd estimate. In this one we find out Michelle Rodriguez betrayed everyone by stabbing yet another character we've never seen before. The thing is, I'm having more of an emotional reaction to these no-names dying than I would if any top-billed character was slaughtered right now.
Chris: With the exception of BloodZane, you mean.
Matt: Zane is The Exception in every regard. Worried that hanging around with WhatsHisFace and Michael Madsen could lead to their deaths, Rayne slinks away to find another piece of Drac--that other vampire, the heart. ThatGuy stops her and asks, "How will you find the heart," and sadly, she does not respond with an 18th Century version of the Ghostface "Heart Street" skit.
Chris: Instead, she tells him that she can hear it, which... well, that's new. Michelle Rodriguez, on the other hand, has known where it is this entire time apparently, and has decided to go looking for it while wearing what is very clearly a sports bra and a tank top from the Gap.
Matt: What's weird is what she hears are whispers not, you know, a heartbeat.
Chris: What's weird is that we're still watching this. Rayne and Rodriguez - this fall on CBS! - both go after the heart and do some underwater wrestling, which is significantly less interesting than it sounds.
Matt: Also, we should note, the heart was at BrimtsoneBurg the whole time, in a leftover cave set from Star Trek: The Original Series. Look out for the Horta down there, everyone!
Chris: After a brief but slippery struggle, Rayne snaps Michelle Rodriguez's neck and drinks her blood. And that's the end of that weird little "oh, she's a traitor" arc that took about five minutes from beginning to end and was mostly told in flashback. Uwe Boll, everybody!
Matt: It was almost as epic as the "low supplies" arc!
Chris: So, now that the movie remembers Rayne is supposed to be going after these artifacts, something that it seemed to completely forget for about 20 minutes, she's got the heart and the eye. All that's left is the rib, which Sir Ben already has, so it's off to his place for what I hope with every fiber of my being is the final battle.
Matt: Michael Madsen and Nobody are hanging around outside the castle, which is pretty convenient, since it doesn't seem like anyone has coordinated any of this. And nobody is opening the little chest with the heart in it, even though everyone knows for a fact that Rayne can absorb these things.
Chris: Exactly! Nobody opens the chest to check! She literally hands them a wooden box and says "oh, that's the heart" and they take her directly to Ben Kingsley! There's a part later on where he's like "give me the heart!" and she says "You'll have to carve it from my chest!" and I have no idea whether this is a metaphor or what. He keeps demanding that she hand it over or tell him where it is or whatever, so I guess it is? Who the f**k even knows anymore, man.
Matt: Ben Kingsley doesn't even open the thing AFTER HE OPENS THE ONE WITH THE RIB IN IT. This makes as much sense as Rayne lying to Madsen and NoOne about Michelle Rodriguez, saying "she died with honor, defending her people." Uh...they already heard that guy say she was a traitor. It's not like they didn't know already.
Chris: Also, Rayne's plan is to just walk in with a wooden box and hope they'll take her to meet Ben Kingsley, while the Brimstone Boys plan to just blow up the door and then immediately get captured so they can stage a daring prison escape. This whole thing is beyond nonsense.
Matt: She's banking on this ceremony to remove the eye happening, even though she explicitly asks, "What ceremony?" after she's been put in a dungeon.
Chris: The ceremony thing kind of explains why they don't kill Rayne, but there is no possible reason for Fake Bane to not just immediately decapitate Madsen and that other guy. Why does this dude even have a dungeon? He eats people! That's his whole deal!
Matt: So Rayne gets taken to Ben Kingsley, who seems to be in a boredom contest with the audience. He tells Rayne she can live in his castle if the ceremony doesn't kill her, which seems to be the only indication that her being his daughter matters at all.
Chris: I didn't miss something, did I? This whole ceremony thing was just introduced here in the last 20 minutes of the movie, right?
Matt: Nothing was said about it until Rayne was in the dungeon. Uwe Boll doesn't like his plots overlapping, OK? It's got to be supplies plot, then betrayal plot, then return to artifacts, then ceremony plot. He treats his movies like a kid who eats the portions of his dinner separately, and won't let any food touch any other food.
Chris: Maybe the goal was to keep things into separate "levels," or am I giving him too much credit? Either way, we are finally at the climax of the movie. Ben Kingsley opens the box to find that there's nothing in there (yeesh), Michael Madsen and that one dude escape by taking advantage of the fact that all of Kingsley's henchmen are dumb as hell, and we get another bloody fight scene where pretty much everyone dies. It's like Hamlet, if Hamlet was s**t.
Matt: I actually appreciate how long this fight scene is, if only because it means more over-the-top gory goofiness and less talking. The direction here is nutso, though. There's shaky camera, there's weird camera effects, there's crazy out-of-focus shots. It's still easier to follow than most of the Bourne movies' fight scenes, though.
Chris: The best bit is that Ben Kingsley kills Michael Madsen by having two of his henchmen hold him up, then just walking forward while holding a sword out. Like, he walks across a room, stiff arm the whole way. It is hilarious.
Matt: Madsen dies, Not-Bane dies, WhoCares is injured. And that's when Kagan asks Rayne where the heart is, as if he hasn't figured out that she absorbed it. I think she did just actually absorb it, like the eye.
Chris: I guess? We don't really see it, just like we don't see what happens to Billy Zane. I hope these mysteries are explored in the two sequels to this movie.
Matt: Why oh why did you have to mention the sequels. Anyway, Kagan and Rayne fight for a while, she stabs him and Ben Kingsley says, "Ungrateful bitch" with a smirk that is either "this is the only line I'm having fun with" or "career gallows humor."
Chris: Kingsley tries to stab Rayne with an arrow, and this triggers YET ANOTHER FLASHBACK, which gives Rayne the ability to grab Kingsley's hand and shove the arrow into his own heart. Not really sure why he doesn't just, you know, let go of it, but screw it, it ends the movie. Good enough for me.
Matt: There was also a holy water thing that maybe called back to earlier in the movie and maybe didn't. I have no clue. So, without anyone actually assembling all those body parts that seemed so important, ThatGuyRayneBoned dies and she sits down on Kagan's throne because...help me out here, Chris.
Chris: No idea. Everyone in the movie except her is dead now, but why this leads her to sit on a throne and stare unblinkingly into the camera during a slow zoom, your guess is as good as mine.
Matt: Maybe she's evil now? We'll never know, because that's the end of the movie.
Chris: And we definitely aren't watching the sequel.
Matt: Neither of them!
Matt: Um...hm. The over-the-top gore is kind of fun?
Chris: I will say, this is a movie where a lot of really good actors just phone it in. Kingsley's barely there, and Madsen just could not possibly give a damn about what he's doing, to the point where his expression doesn't change one bit when he gets stabbed to death. But despite that, Michelle Rodriguez and Kristianna Loken just flat-out go for it. Loken in particular is actually not bad in this, other than saying a bunch of unrelentingly stupid lines. She's really trying.
Matt: The accents are terrible, but I agree, Loken and Rodriguez especially try to do their best with the material. But, look, we're not having a lot of luck with high points, so why don't I quote the latest five-star review from Netflix?
"This is a tell of God and the inner fight that alot (sic) of people go through. The plaque (sic) in the 13th century.. brought about many things. This is an example of how some handle grief or need. Good plot throughout and thoughtfulness in a gory and yet entertaining way."
So there you go. There are your high points.
Chris: Also? Billy Zane.
Matt: Of course. It's so obvious I almost forgot to say it. His role really doesn't amount to much beyond a "special appearance" though. They nailed that credit.
Chris: So great, though. if you told me he brought his own RenFaire suit and allowed them to film his scenes in a castle he just happened to own, I would believe you.
Chris: Here's something you don't get to say that often: "Sir Ben Kingsley really stunk up the joint in this."
Matt: He and Michael Madsen both just sleepwalk through this (though Madsen has a spottier track record -- he was terrible in Sin City, too). Meat Loaf seems to be enjoying himself, but the scene he is in is one hot mess. And though Loken tries, she is still far from good. She got nominated for a Razzie for this and deserved it.
Chris: It's understandable, though. The plot is truly awful, full of weird inconsistencies and muddled logic. It's actually worse than I expected it to be going in.
Matt: I am not even really sure I can put into words how bad the plot of this movie is. Like, we often talk about bad plotting, but this...isn't even really a plot. It's like a kid's painting made into a movie.
Chris: It definitely has that "and then... and then... and then" sort of logic that you get when kids tell stories. "And then they're upset because of a food shortage." "How do they solve it?" "They go to the store."
Matt: Even after Michael Madsen says he can't do that! Just...I can't even articulate it. My tools as a writer are just not adequate for Uwe Boll. He leaves me...unequipped.
Chris: And let's not forget that this dude might be the worst actor ever:
Chris: Sorry, bro. You are pretty bad.
Matt: That's what you get when you let your BSB hair do all your acting for you. Even Howie knew he had to put some oomph into those monster videos.
Chris: I think what made me actively like Rodriguez and Loken so much is that this entire production is full of people who just flat-out do not give a f**k. The script, the direction, the wardrobe, the props - BloodRayne's swords are rounded at the end! - nobody cares. It's what makes that one big fight scene so enjoyable; at least the guys in charge of the fake blood seemed to be having a good time with it.
Matt: The movie's just this collection of perfunctory elements that an alien might think should be in a human film, but none of it comes together. The main plot about finding the artifacts comes to nothing. Billy Zane shows up for some comic relief, but his character just disappears. What I'm saying is that Uwe Boll may not be human.
Chris: This was not a very good film.
Matt: Netflix believed I was only going to give it one star. Netflix was right. On a related note: This thing has an average rating of 2.9 stars! 2.9!*
Chris: Two sequels, man. Which, for some reason, Loken did not appear in.
Matt: I guess she was too busy being in The L Word and being a regular on Burn Notice, which, I will say, is a big step up. She was also Painkiller Jane for that blink-and-you'll-miss-it show.
Chris: What really amazes me is that it took until the third movie for them to get around to Bloodrayne vs. Nazis.
Matt: Uwe Boll: Upending expectations. I do have to say that I did get a kick out of this movie just for its "how is this a movie" value. But I don't think it tops the baffling ineptitude of House of the Dead.
Chris: You know, the second one is apparently a western where BloodRayne fights a vampiric Billy the Kid, and... I don't know, man. I might actually be down for that one.
Matt: They should have crossed it over with the Big Money Rustlas.
Chris: Come on, Matt. Let's watch it. Let's watch BloodRayne movies... FOREVER!!
Matt: No. NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Chris: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!