Bloodrayne

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Starring Kristanna Loken and Ben Kingsley. Rated 18A.

After his last movie, Alone in the Dark, director Uwe Boll had nowhere to go but up, and I mean that most sincerely. That shot-in-Vancouver stinker earned a record one of out of 100 at Rottentomatoes.com, with terms like "dreadful", "terrible beyond belief", and "worse than you can imagine" typical among the commentary. Of the 109 Alone in the Dark reviews collected on the Web site, only one was positive, and I fully expect that reviewer's career as a film critic for Eclipse Magazine abruptly ended with its publication.

So how does a filmmaker bounce back from an almost universally reviled action-horror mistake? Well, if your name is Uwe Boll, you don't. You license another video-game title and head over to budget-friendly Romania to bang out a lousy medieval adventure-horror flick called BloodRayne, about a swordfighting half-vampire babe out for revenge against the undead creep who killed her mom. You make sure to geyser enough fake blood around the set that gore hounds will be impressed. And throw in Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley, in case any members of the Academy are watching.

Kristanna Loken, the Terminatrix from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, supplies the babe quotient as the vengeful but goodhearted bloodsucker Rayne. After escaping from a sadistic circus freak show, she sets out to kill the evil vampire king Kagan (Kingsley), while hot on her blood-drenched trail are Kagan's cruel henchman Domastir (Boll mainstay Will Sanderson) and three swashbuckling members of "the Brimstone Society" (Michael Madsen, Matthew Davis, and Lost?'s Michelle Rodriguez). In keeping with the convoluted gibberish of Alone in the Dark, the plot of BloodRayne requires our foxy heroine to do flips to acquire the hokey body-part talismans to fulfill her deadly quest. Extreme silliness unfolds against a swelling orchestral score.

As awful as it is overall, there are a couple of things about BloodRayne that are pretty cool, one being the bug-eyed performance by Meat Loaf as a lunatic playboy vampire in a big blond wig, the other the stunning Lord of the Rings-like shots of horsemen galloping across picturesque vistas. But these rare moments are whittled away by countless scenes that boast the TV-type production values-though not the quality writing-of Xena: Warrior Princess.