Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance (unrated director’s cut) – review

Director: Uwe Boll

Release Date: 2007

Contains spoilers

I sit and type this with feelings of guilt coursing through me. You see, back when I reviewed the film Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe I suggested that perhaps Natassia Malthe would have made, given that performance, a better Rayne than Kristanna Loken did in the first Bloodrayne movie and then, later, she was cast as Lokken’s replacement. Whilst she did, all in all, make a better Rayne – I’ll get to her performance later – I just pray that, with that notion, it was not I that set in motion the death of the beautiful Miss Malthe’s career, for this film could well be a career killer.

Yes, Uwe Boll is back and Rayne has been transplanted to the Wild West, what has happened in the intervening years is not explored (other than a sepia shot of a castle, followed by one of a boat and then a lot of the old West in the credits). The film begins with shots of mountains and then a guy enters the town of Deliverance. First two things you notice is that the weather and lighting with the mountain shots and that in the town are different, secondly it is how shaky the camera is. I mean it, all the way through the movie the camera shakes, it is really annoying and it has no stylistic value.

Anyway the guy, played by Chris Coppola, is either called Pyles or Potts – the name changes in the movie back and forth, how is that for script continuity! He is a reporter who has gone to Deliverance to report the coming of the railroad but really wants a taste of the Wild West.

Cut to Vince (Jamie Switch) and Bernadette (Carrie Genzel) with their kids in their homestead. Two things to note here, firstly the scene is dragged out, I think to make us bond with the characters, but as Vince and Bernadette are only going to last five minutes there was no point in the extended dialogue interspersed with silences. Secondly we should note how dark the scene was and then realise that lighting was not a number one priority in the night shots of this film – not good in a vampire movie as most of it is at night, in fact I had to lighten all the night time screenshots for this review.

Anyhoo, already bored… Vampires kill parents… yadda, yadda… kids taken… vampires take over Deliverance, turn Sheriff into vampire… hold kids hostage to make the townsfolk compliant …

Okay a little glib but so was the story. Rayne was friends with Vince and Bernadette – how and why is not looked into – she discovers the bodies and immediately meets a man (Michael Paré) who tells her that the killer was a vampire (like she didn’t know, especially having seen the fang marks) and his name is Billy the Kid (Zack Ward). Incidentally, at the very end of the film we discover that the man is Pat Garrett. Boll has been criticised for bringing in these icons of the West, though he didn’t write the script. It is not so much that he shouldn’t have used them but that it made no sense to. They could have been any old outlaw and good-guy, however why a centuries old vampire would be called Billy the Kid… How do we know he is centuries old? Because the dialogue tells us that he can heal from gunshot without feeding so he must be really old.

Rayne goes it alone, kills a few vamps, gets caught and then is going to be lynched (for reasons unknown, you’d have thought they’d have just killed her, they are vampires and a token hanging seems silly). She escapes; Garett helps her and then feeds her some blood in order to help her heal from the bullets she caught as she legged it. They then go and get help in the form of the Preacher (Michael Eklund) and some guy whose name I didn’t catch and back in they go. The whys and wherefores of how they recruited the two were just plain bad scripting through and through, watch and you’ll understand.

What is it all about? When the railway comes Billy is going to use the town as a staging post for turning all the passengers into a vampire army… give me strength, the concept is just so silly…

In respect of vampire lore there is nothing really new. The vampires seem to go a grey colour and veiny when dead, which was nice. Bullets do seem to stop most vampires for some reason, yes I know that Rayne’s bullets contained or were smeared with garlic and holy water but a vampire is shot by a plain old bullet at one point and dies. In the Rayne universe water of any type burns a vampire (the script alludes to this), so one wonders how the final showdown happened at all given that it was raining! Actually, as I mention that, what in the world would have possessed the brimstone gang (as they are referred to) to enter the town at night, why not go in during the day and drag the vampires into the sun?

I did like how reflections were handled, but I always like films to show that it is only the vampire that is missing and not their clothes – I don’t like the effect enough to raise my opinion of the movie, however. Seemingly if a vampire bites you then you turn but not if it rips your throat out – which means Vince and Bernadette should have been spooking around as their throats weren’t ripped. Oh, it also seems that any old fool can cast a blessing. Either Preacher is a con-man posing as a priest or he is a priest gone bad (there are wanted posters of him after all) and yet they ask him to bless the equipment.

The script was poor, not just in overall story and the logic thereof but the dialogue was very poor. Whoever thought that the parting shot of the film should be a weak cock gag needs to go hang their head in shame.

Acting wise nothing stood out too much, any limitations were probably down to the material, but I need to look at Malthe as Rayne. I have read some comments lamenting the fact that Lokken wasn’t in the role and, to give the earlier actress her dues, she did seem more comfortable in the action sequences than Malthe. That said she played Rayne like a little girl lost and Rayne needs to be sassy. Malthe brought that sass to the role, which to me makes her the better choice for the role and, again, I have to state that any limitations seemed down to the material and critically one other factor…

Direction… I want to give Boll a chance but this was poor. There are long lingering shots that are unnecessary and break up action. They are aping the spaghetti western but they are out of place and show no comprehension of the style they ape. Not only that but they are way too long, the timing is completely off. In a similar example of poor timing, there are also shots that should have lingered that cut away in seconds, such as finding the corpse of Vince where, in my opinion, the camera should have lingered for a few more moments. I can only assume that the shaky camera work I mentioned was at Boll’s instruction and not because the cameraman didn’t know his trade. It isn’t good.

I gave the first film the benefit of the doubt but this one had just too many flaws. I said the film is likely a career killer, but Uwe Boll seems bullet proof and so we wait with baited breath for Bloodrayne 3 (ostensibly to be set in the second world war). However, as they gave away the second PC game with the first movie and the first game with this, one can’t help but wonder what game they can give with the third, if it is made, in order to boost sales as there were only two Rayne games made.

1.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Everlost said...

Taliesin, one of my lovefilm choices arrived today from our list...and its this! oh, teresa is going to hate me... I can see our list being pruned of some of my entries somehow after watching this...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

let me know how that goes!