Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Blood Reich: Bloodrayne 3 – review

Director: Uwe Boll

Release Date: 2010

Contains spoilers

Ahh Bloodrayne, loved the games… the movies not so good. The first movie, Bloodrayne was set in a fantastical Middle Ages scenario – it wasn’t a great film. The second, Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance, was very poor, was set in the Wild West and saw Rayne being played by Natassia Malthe (Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe) who reprises the role in this film.

Entitled Bloodrayne 3: the Third Reich in the US, I prefer the Blood Reich title of the UK release and, as the titles indicate, this is set in the Second World War – as was the first game – but wait, forget the games… indeed forget the previous films. I watched an interview with the writer, Michael Nachoff, who stated that (despite scenes in this of Rayne’s conception, lifted from the first film) the three films stand alone and thus he did not feel the need to match the lore in the previous films! Actually this film juggles its lore in-film as well. All of which is a shame because it does prove to be the better of the three films, I think… that is, of course, caveated with the fact that the other two weren’t very good.

killing Nazis
It begins, as I said, with scenes of Rayne’s conception, it is then followed by scenes of Hitler and the Nazis and World War 2 footage. For those who don’t know Rayne, she is a dhampir, half vampire. Think Blade with a nice figure! She can daywalk (that phrase is used) and rather than water burning the vampires, as happened in previous incarnations, it has to be holy water now. It starts with a cattle truck and the Jewish occupants being marched to a concentration camp. The Resistance attack and Rayne – not part of the Resistance – joins in as she hates Nazi’s. Two things to note, Malthe seems much more comfortable with the action sequences than the last film and Rayne is meant to be sassy but the script tended to interpret this as her having a potty mouth.

ouch, that has to hurt
Rayne goes through the Nazi’s like a dose of salt and corners the Commandant (Michael Paré) in a cattle truck. For some reason the usually very aware Rayne doesn’t hear the soldier sneaking up behind her and she is shot – some of her blood splashing the Commandant’s face. She kills the soldier, shish kebabs the Commandant with a metal pole through his torso and feeds on him – not noticing that her blood has got in his mouth. Now, point to note… we know the Commandant will become a vampire but only because he drinks her blood… yet every other vampire is created simply with a bite. When Rayne discovers this she says he is the first she has turned, well apparently she’s stopped being careful in her old age.

tortured vampire
Rayne and the Resistance meet and, despite some friction, she is recognised by leader Nathanial (Brendan Fletcher, also Bloodrayne 2), and goes off with them. This is after they open the last truck, where they expected weapons, and get more people for the Concentration Camp and so they are rescued. The Commandant is found by his Lieutenant, Kasper Jaeger (Steffen Mennekes, also Bloodrayne 2), who goes to a nearby camp to fetch the Nazi Doctor Mangler (Clint Howard) – and I know, what a blooming awful name they came up with, clearly a ‘play’ on Mengele it had the wit of a sodden clod. Perhaps Mangler was a good name though, because Howard mangled the role – a surprise as he is a stalwart go to guy. Perhaps the direction was to play the character as a parody of Igor merged with Doctor Evil? Anyway, the Doctor, when we meet him, is torturing a vampire they caught.

the Commandant and Mangler
He goes with the Lieutenant but isn’t impressed as the Commandant is turning but he is a common old vampire. In the last scene he told us that the only ways to kill a vampire were stake, fire, sunlight and holy water. He now suggests cutting the Commandant’s head off - so, that would be a fifth method of killing then. However, his ears prick up when he is told that the attack on the Commandant took place in daylight. Sure enough the Commandant is not only a vampire but has developed Rayne’s immunity to sunlight – something his own progeny don’t gain.

Rayne on the roof
Rayne, meanwhile, goes to a nearby bordello for a massage. Just as its starting she hears a girl crying out in pain, adjourns the massage and rescues a prostitute being beaten by a soldier (in an eye watering scene if you’re male). She is later going to leave, having had her massage, when she is given a girl, as a token of appreciation, and we get a gratuitous lesbian scene. Now Bloodrayne 2 was almost puritanical when it came to sex and nudity. This goes the other way. Rayne is all cleavage and booby wobbles in the action scenes. There is this naked lesbian scene and towards the end a hetro-sex scene, whilst she and a man are trapped in a German truck – because that is just what you do in that situation, have sex! Now Malthe is wonderful to look at but it does seem to be sex for sex’s sake.

vampire whore staked
One of the whores betrays them and tells the Commandant that the girl he is looking for is at the bordello. She wanted to be the new Madame; she gets bitten, turned and killed again by Mangler for her trouble. Now this is the crux of the film, the Commandant and Mangler want Rayne’s blood so they can make Hitler a daywalking vampire. Simple as that and I won’t spoil any more of the film.

the resistance
I said that Malthe seems more comfortable in the action sequences and this is true. Boll still has a bit of a shaky camera going on but it is considerably toned down. Malthe also brings a sassy presence to the role, despite the script rather than because of it and thus we didn't need the jarring, occasional expletives. Other acting wasn’t necessarily great, indeed some of the very minor players actually seemed more natural than some of the more central actors at times, but it was whenever Mangler came on screen that the film took a turn for the worse for me.

Is it a good film? No. But it is better than the first film and vastly superior to the second. I debated with myself over the score, giving the film 3.5 seemed harsh but 4 seemed generous, in the end I decided to be generous. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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