The third BloodRayne film (and second with Nastassia Malthe in the title role) sees the titular dhampir slicing up Nazis, and so the chronology of the third film rejoins that of the first game. During a raid on a death camp train, Rayne accidentally infects a Commandant Michael Paré. Becoming a dhampir himself (a human/vampire hybrid), he and Mengele-figure Clint Howard (because who else are you going to cast as a Nazi scientist other than Clint Howard?) plan to use Rayne’s blood to grant Hitler immortality.
Vampires and Nazis notwithstanding, the important thing here is that this is yet another Uwe Boll film. So what exactly does that mean for you, the discriminating viewer? As regular visitors to this site might know, I have, in the past, actually praised some of Boll’s more recent efforts. I may well have destroyed whatever critical credibility I could lay claim to by being so impressed by Tunnel Rats, but damn it, it was good. Here, though, is yet more evidence that the Indefatigable One is not at his best when dealing with video game material. Also World War II. Opening an action movie about vampires with shots of Auschwitz-bound prisoners is not, methinks, in the best of taste. Furthermore, Boll’s decision to go with a washed-out, gritty feel does a disservice to his heroine. The world of the BloodRayne video games is a fantastic, exaggerated one, Gothic in every sense. It is a world of decadent costume balls, and villains headquartered in castles, and it is the cartoonish, occult-obsessed, iconographically berserk side of the Nazis that lends itself to the kind of stories we fine in the games, not to mention the look of the character. Rayne’s revealing costume, hardly practical, looks even sillier when placed in a context of grime, washed-out colours and snow.
Meanwhile, the actions scenes get us from A to B, and while they are competent, they hardly stir the blood. The performances are wooden at best, and the dialogue approaches so-bad-it’s-great territory (gotta love American idioms spoken by German villains, as when Howard’s character talks about people only getting “one kick at the can”), but those joys aren’t really enough. Much of this, then, is teeth-grinding mediocrity, with just enough lapses in judgment, taste and sense to provide a modicum of entertainment, but no more.
While I might question the direction Boll took, aesthetically speaking, with the cinematography, the transfer itself is excellent. The colours, though deliberately bleached, are also very strong. The contrasts and blacks are excellent, as are the skin tones. Grain and edge enhancement do not raise their ugly heads. The box claims that the aspect ratio is 1.78:1, but it is, in fact, the original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
A solid 5.1 on offer here. Maybe a little bit harsh, a bit heavy on the treble (I could wish for a bit more bass in the music), but strong and energetic, with plenty of lively surround effects, best experienced when bullets are whizzing around.
Commentary Track: Boll is joined by writer Michael C. Nachoff for the commentary, and it is an interesting one, being both honest and unapologetic about the movie’s commercial impulses. Neither man is overly concerned with Art, and there is much to glean here about the demands and challenges of what amounts to the contemporary exploitation scene. Boll goes on at some length, for example, about the need for, and difficulties surrounding, the nude shots, and the actresses’ reluctance is certainly visible in the very awkward sex scene.
Making of BloodRayne: The Third Reich: (28:00) A decent making-of, one that has quite a bit of fun with Boll’s reputation.
Interview with Micheal C. Nachoff: (5:58) The writer talks about his writing habits, and his approach to this kind of material. I am reminded of the title of Hammer scripter Jimmy Sangster’s autobiography: Do You Want It Good or Tuesday? Nachoff clearly believed in getting the script in on Tuesday.
Official and Alternate Trailers.
Fans of the game still won’t be well served by this, and followers of Boll will be sporadically entertained.