BloodRayne DVD Review
Written by Sham
DVD released by Vivendi Visual Entertainment
Directed by Uwe Boll
Written by Guinevere Turner
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 99 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on May 23rd, 2006
Kristanna Loken as Rayne
Ben Kingsley as Kagan
Matthew Davis as Sebastian
Michelle Rodriguez as Katarin
Michael Madsen as Vladimir
Billy Zane as Elrich
Will Sanderson as Domastir
Those who regularly read movie reviews need no introduction to German director Uwe Boll and his tarnished film career. Despite critical condemnation for his first two films House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, Boll has continuously been given the opportunity to make more movies. All of his films have been inspired by video games, and all of them are in the Bottom 100 chart on the IMDB. How many people can honestly say that? Aren’t you supposed to learn from your mistakes?
BloodRayne is Boll’s third theatrical movie. Like his other movies, it’s loosely inspired by the video game of the same name. Surprise, surprise, it’s also in the Bottom 100 of the IMDB. And yet, even with this negative notoriety, it’s not quite as bad as you may presume. Then again, that’s like saying genital warts is less severe than Chlamydia. No sane person wants either of them. And while BloodRayne may be derivative and confusing in the story department, there’s still a sense of wonder in the visuals displayed onscreen. This is Boll’s most stylishly accomplished film yet — a visual extravaganza that shows what most movies are afraid to show. Seriously, you have to give credit to the guy who shows a dismembered man, still alive, being continuously beaten with sticks.
Taking the World War II setting of the video game to the eighteenth century for the movie, our main character Rayne (Kristanna Loken – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) is introduced as a sideshow attraction in a traveling carnival. What makes her such an attraction? Well, when you’re the daughter of a woman raped by a vampire lord (Ben Kingsley – Schindler’s List), you live quite an interesting life. Set on defending humans even though she shares characteristics of a vampire, Rayne escapes her hectic life at the carnival to avenge the rape and murder of her mother by killing vampires. This eventually leads to a climactic showdown between Rayne and her father. Some friends, including love interest Sebastian (Matthew Davis – Legally Blonde) and good pal Vladimir (Michael Madsen – Sin City), help Rayne on her ruthless quest.
At a reasonable 99 minutes, Boll manages to keep the film briskly paced and moderately interesting. However, all of the performers, with the exception of Billy Zane, take themselves way too seriously. Zane shows up for less than ten minutes, but he does have a scene-stealing moment where a severed head is thrown at him, and he screams with irritation, “Would you stop throwing things at me!?” The climactic battle between Rayne and her father is, unfortunately, dull, especially considering the battles leading up to it are fairly energetic.
Like I said, the visuals are the only reason to see the movie. Characters are eviscerated onscreen in ways you couldn’t imagine, and the camera is unflinching in showing all of the graphic details. People are decapitated, bisected, impaled, bitten, and sliced up till they are almost unrecognizable. Even when it’s not showing the explicit bloodshed, the movie reveals other certain details that’ll send male viewers through the roof. Actress Kristanna Loken bears all in a completely random sex scene that proves unnecessary can be a great thing.
That’s a good way to describe the movie. It’s unnecessary, but it’s easy to watch and fun to laugh at. It’s the type of movie you watch with your friends over drinks and a pizza. You just want to have a good time with a bad thing, and that’s exactly what you have with BloodRayne.
Video and Audio:
BloodRayne’s anamorphic widescreen transfer looks good. It’s a dark movie, so I was surprised to see no grain and zero blemishes. The picture is a little soft on the edges, but it’s overlookable.
BloodRayne claims to be presented in optional Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS, but alas, I found only the less superior 5.1.
Still, the audio is pretty good. It should be understood that BloodRayne is a pure, no-holds-barred action fantasy. Heads fly, skulls get crushed, swords sling through the air, and blood squirts all over the place, and in that perception, the 5.1 works.
English and Spanish subtitles are also available.
- CGI Making of the Film
- Dinner with Uwe Boll
- Cast and Crew Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- The Complete BloodRayne 2 PC Video Game on DVD
Whether you like the movie or not, anyone can appreciate this excellent DVD.
Loaded with special features, including a cast and crew commentary, interview, featurette, trailer, and full-length game that inspired the movie, this is exactly what DVD collector’s aspire.
The 6-minute CGI Making of the Film is the first feature on the disc, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. There’s no music or dialogue, as the feature vaguely shows how they digitally composed certain visual effects shots — including face transformations and castle scenes.
The storyboard feature runs a total of five slides, revealing camera angles for certain scenes in the movie.
Dinner with Uwe Boll, a whopping 48-minute interview with the director, is up next. Interestingly, the only segment in this interview that I found worthy of watching is the moment they discuss hate-mail (or jealousy-mail, as Boll calls it) on message boards. Boll claims to have checked out the IMDB forums and read all of the comments, and it’s interesting to hear his perspective on the subject.
Following that is the commentary by director Uwe Boll, star Kristanna Loken, producer Shawn Williamson, actor Will Sanderson, and assistant director Bryan Knight. I prefer commentaries with less people (two or three speakers at the most, as it’s easier to keep track of who’s who), and this supports my opinion as this is a pretty standard, uninteresting commentary. You would think with more people talking there’d be more to going on, but alas, there just wasn’t. BloodRayne is a visual-heavy movie, so hearing the cast and crew talk about the visuals rather than show us the behind-the-scenes of them is very disappointing.
The final special feature, presented on a separate disc, is the complete "BloodRayne 2" PC video game. Now that rocks.
It’s disappointing that so much effort went into the DVD for BloodRayne. Even if the features outshine the movie, there are many other, and better, movies out there that are more commendable of a great DVD treatment.
As such, BloodRayne suffers not because of a bad release, but because of an undeserving one. Yeah, it’s good that a new release DVD gets an excellent treatment. But when you’re going into so much detail for just a fun and crappy movie, is there really a point?