Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a dhamphyr – a human/vampire hybrid. Escaping from the carnival where she is imprisoned as a freak, she sets out on a crusade against vampires, her ultimate target being the lord vampire Kagin (Ben Kingsley, an actor showing Michael Caine’s former penchant to whore himself out without shame), who also happens to be her father. Along the way, she forms an initially uneasy alliance with Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, and Will Sanderson – members of Brimstone, a …ampire-hunting organization.
This is probablyi Uwe Boll’s best film, which is to say that one can follow the story, and there are no scenes that use actual game footage. And there’s plenty of (very cheesy) gore. But the film is still makes a total hash of the game that serves as its basis, turning the clock back to some vague medieval period where people where designer leather, and turning the protagonist into a bundle of angst who avoids using contractions in her speech. Among the delightful oddities here: slumming cameos from the likes of Meat Loaf, Udo Kier and Geraldine Chapliln; Loken and Rodriguez hilariously attempting English accents when no one else is bothering to do so; and an ending that forces one to re-watch the whole movie, just when you thought it was all over with. Oh, and then there’s the ethically dubious tactic of using actual prostitutes in the harem scene.
One thing one can say for this package, however, is that if the actual feature is a campy mess, it is presented in the most impressive way possible. The sound is extremely energetic. The volume level is deafening, the score is thunderous, and no possible opportunity for trotting out surround effects is ignored. Want a good example: check out the first scene with Kinglsey in his thorne room. Even the flickering of the torches is very noticeably doing the surround thing. The effects are so pronounced as to be a bit distracting, but the dialogue they’re distracting from is so risible (unaccountably scripted by the generally talented Guinevere Turner) that perhaps this is for the best.
Everything looks very nice too. The colours are very rich and deep, and the blood is all sorts of lovely shades of crimson. The image is razor sharp, and there is no grain whatsoever, nor any artifacting. Blacks and flesh tones are also excellent. In a word, the transfer is superb. If only the same could be said of what one is actually watching.
Disc 1 had a commentary that features Lokken, Sanderson, Boll, AD Brian Knight and producer Shawn Williamson – a fair bit of silly chatter aside, it’s decently informative. The CGI making-of featurette is silent and has no explanations other than visual demonstrations, and so is of limited use. “Dinner with Uwe Boll” is an interview conducted over a Thai meal. Different, I suppose, but a bit odd. Finally, there are storyboards and the theatrical trailer. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
Disc 2 is the PC version of the game BloodRayne 2. I am reminded of the release of The Truth About Charlie, the misguided remake of Charade that included the original film as an extra so viewers could see just how bad the remake really was. Now viewers can see how little the movie has to do with the game, barring a few names. The protagonist here is a flip, stone-cold killer, revelling in the ultra-violence she dishes out. This is no triple-A title (we’re a long way from the likes of Ninja Gaiden), but it is solidly gory fun, and a heck of a lot better than the movie it accompanies.
If you see this DVD and it’s cheaper than buying a standalone copy of the game, go for it. If you’re in a so-bad-it’s-good mood, you could do worse. Otherwise, you know what to do.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Dinner with Uwe”
- CGI Making-of Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
- PC Game