ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  uwe boll

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  horror

LENGTH  -  93 minutes

RELEASED  -  6 january 2006

DISTRIBUTOR  -  romar entertainment

OFFICIAL SITE  -  bloodrayne

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $17,000,000
bloodrayne - a shot from the film


buy the game from bloodrayne at

buy the game from bloodrayne at

in eighteenth century romania, rayne, a dhampir (half-human, half-vampire), strives to avenge her mother's rape by her father, kagan, king of vampires.

the half-naked prostitutes in the scene with meat loaf are actually real romanian prostitutes.


picture from bloodrayne

picture from bloodrayne

picture from bloodrayne


zero out of four possible stars

The practice of bringing a character and story to the screen from the pages of a video game is certainly not a new practice, but with the lack of finesse and scenes full of unintended laughter in Uwe Boll's latest feature film, you'd think Bloodrayne had been cobbled together by a six-year-old. With last year's deplorable screen effort Alone in the Dark already staining his resume, Boll has in no way improved the general perception of his directorial abilities. He is in no way new to directing and has several feature films under his belt (most of which fall into the category of, so bad they're bad).

It's possible Boll's intentions regarding film directing are such that he'd like to become regarded as a director of unredeemable schlock, but that would not explain the appearance of a few usually deserving actors in this film and their comical performances. Perhaps it can be explained with the simple idea that Boll, as a director, is unable to connect emotionally with his actors and is unable to guide them through the filmmaking process. But with films like Gandhi and Schindler's List appearing on Ben Kingsley's curriculum vitae, would it not be possible for that actor to move beyond the director's inability to connect?

Not only is Kingsley unable to bring life into the picture, but lead actress Kristanna Loken actually gives an undercooked performance as a dhampir (a half-human, half vampire). The unbelievable and usually implausible world of vampires is generally a theatrical one and Loken actually looks bored every once in a while, which is a complete one-eighty from what audiences would probably expect and enjoy. Also mis-cast are co-stars Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, and Meat Loaf (yes, Meat Loaf), each of whom looks terribly out of place in a period film. Even Billy Zane's acceptably odd metrosexual personality seems wrongly placed.

Further complicating the sometimes off-focus performances is the apparent lack of budget for accurate costuming and set decoration. Witnessing the cast draped in the costumes that a teenager might envision on his or her favorite scantily clad comic book characters, it's hard to believe that eighteenth century Romania would exhibit so many exposed midriffs. Of course, if the performances and story had been believable and engaging, it's hard to imagine the costumes would have mattered so much regarding authenticity since most of the midriffs are sufficiently toned for any fourteen-year-old video-game-playing male viewer.

Without the end credits, the movie doesn't even make it to ninety minutes, so the running time isn't just short, it's impressively short. But the film has a way of feeling like a much longer experience for viewers who attempt to find some thread of gripping story or character action since the plot flitters about in fits and starts with little attention paid to smooth pacing. If the editor had chopped off most of the unnecessary spaces of time in the film (scenes that didn't advance story or character), viewers might have been witness to a fifteen minute film. Had the film been actually been cut down, the only losers would have been the exhibitors who probably would have seen less sales at the concessions during the film's flat spots.

Should audiences be forced to concede that a movie that owes its entire existence to a videogame is something that probably isn't going to be worth the price of a ticket? Although few films that have sprung solely from videogames have earned critical praise or a giant box office take, where's the rule written that such films have limited potential? If given the right screenplay (a plot is always nice to include in a film, even if it's something not originally part of the source material), a film like this could fall into several interesting categories. If he had played his cards well, Boll could have created one of those bad films you can't help but watch (in the "so bad it's good" category).

Considering the lack of appropriate scenery and costumes, the comical performances, and the general air of discombobulation, one can only surmise that Uwe Boll's intentions when making this film were to make it bad on purpose. January is usually the dumping ground for major Hollywood studios to place their less than stellar efforts (while Oscar hopefuls crowd the spotlight) and independent releasing company Romar Entertainment seems capable only of imitating the worst of what Hollywood tends to offer at the beginning of the year. The usually goofy Bloodrayne is the worst Uwe Boll has yet offered audiences, but with other unintentionally comical features under his belt, perhaps this is exactly what the director intended.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs romar entertainment 2006
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