BloodRayne (2006)
Rated R

Starring: Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Rodriguez

out of

Two words can strike fear into the hearts of moviegoers: Uwe Boll. His movies have been panned as some of the worst ever made. Since he specializes in taking videogame titles and adapting them to the silver screen, his recent filmography sounds like a shopping list from GameStop: Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, and, now, BloodRayne. Actually, BloodRayne is a bit of a step up for Boll. It actually tells a somewhat coherent story and the editing doesn't appear to have been done by a blender. That's about all it's got going for it though.

BloodRayne, the movie, is based on "BloodRayne," a series of videogames that featured a beautiful, red-headed vampire named Rayne. The movie differs from the game series a bit. In the movie, Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a dhampyr, a half-human/half vampire, who seeks revenge on her biological father, Kagan (Ben Kingsley), who is the most powerful vampire of the region. As a child, Rayne watched as Kagan raped and murdered her human mother.

Now, an all grown-up Rayne teams with a trio of vampire hunters (Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, and Matthew Davis) -- called the Brimstone Society -- to hunt down and destroy Kagan. Rayne learns that he is searching for a set of talismans that will enable him to rule the world. She decides to search for these items herself which should put her on a collision course with Kagan.

Kristanna Loken, who is probably best known for her role as the evil T-X in Terminator 3, is not a great actress, but she does OK with the material at hand. Which is to say that she doesn't talk much and shows her midriff (among other things) throughout the entire movie. That's a good thing because Michael Madsen, who was once an adequate actor, says most of his lines like he's reading them for the first time. I have no idea how Ben Kingsley got caught up in this film but, judging by other recent films he's been in (Thunderbirds, Suspect Zero and A Sound of Thunder), he's probably sniffing out every available paycheck at this point in his career.

Although the production tries to look epic -- featuring swooping helicopter shots of horses riding across the mountainside terrain, ala Lord of the Rings, for example -- there are many clues that reveal its bargain basement origins. The entire cast looks like it's been clothed by the local Renaissance Faire troupe. The weapons, especially those of the Brimstone Society, appear to have been crafted by a high school metal shop class, appearing noticeably dull. The soundtrack sounds overly dramatic considering the material it has to support.

Where BloodRayne ultimately fails, though, is in its action sequences. They're just plain terrible. Madsen, who is playing a supposedly fearsome vampire destroyer, looks lethargic at best as he wields a sword. Many scenes featuring sword-fighting or any kind of gymnastics are marred by stuntmen visibly replacing the main talent. On rare occasions, you can figure out what's actually happening. That's as good as it gets action-wise. I won't even comment on the movie's laughable sex scene.

If the movie has one notable element, it's the campy cameo by Billy Zane, which earned the movie a half star.

I wanted to like BloodRayne because -- with the featured cast and a script by Guinevere Turner (The Notorious Bettie Page, American Psycho) -- I figured it would have to be at least as good as the sum of its parts. I was wrong.

Trivia: Despite the film doing poorly in the United States, it has performed in the top 10 in most countries during its opening weekend. Two of which that has shown the most potential is Russia (#3) and the United Arab Emirates (#1). (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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