BloodRayne

BloodRayne doesn't even have the advantage of being laughably bad. The film, an adaptation of the video game series of the same name, is a travesty of form, combining unfortunate performances with imprecise production elements to create an ungainly thing. Perhaps "imprecise" is underselling these production elements a bit. The costumes look as if they were found in a bargain bin specializing in the garments worn at the Renaissance Faire. The editing and cinematography so willfully overuse slow-motion and shutter-speed techniques that all action is sliced up into unintelligible nonsense.

The sticking point, of course, is Guinevere Turner's screenplay, which throws a lot of repetitive exposition at the audience to no avail, and this nonsense plot certainly doesn't help. It concerns some sort of prophecy that irks Kagan (Ben Kingsley), the villainous villain of the piece, and tells of the arrival of Rayne (Kristanna Loken), our heroine. We know that Rayne is the heroine because the film is named after her and because she is the one to whom is given the rightful material to make her a completely expressionless character prone to saving the day. The specifics of the prophecy or of a wooden eye of great but mostly vague importance are more than a bit muddy. That's to be expected, though, in a screenplay that explains the inexplicable so dully.

Rayne, of course, is also the most boring character here, or perhaps she isn't. None of the characters, save for perhaps a sex-crazed vampire played in a cameo by Meat Loaf Aday, is of interest. For example, Sebastian (Matthew Davis) shares random sex with Rayne, apropos of nothing, while Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) exists to become a plot device before an unceremonious exit. Vladimir (Michael Madsen) is there to stand around and then to offer a heroine's sidekick that has some height to him. Domastir (Will Sanderson), Kagan's lackey, must of course be their only real hurdle to that final confrontation.

The actors look uniformly lost. Loken is bereft of charisma, both as an action star (despite clearly performing her own stunts) and in the delivery of lines that are often embarrassingly feeble. Rodriguez and Madsen handle European accents with as much grace as they can muster, which, on balance, isn't much at all. Kingsley looks as if he wants to be anywhere else right now. When the characters aren't reiterating the plot every few seconds, Turner and director Uwe Boll predictably fall back on what they know - sequences of combat that tidy everything up. BloodRayne suggests a lack of anything resembling effort.

Film Information

Kristanna Loken (Rayne), Ben Kingsley (Kagan), Michelle Rodriguez (Katarin), Michael Madsen (Vladimir), Matthew Davis (Sebastian), Will Sanderson (Domastir), Geraldine Chaplin (Fortune Teller).

Directed by Uwe Boll and written by Guinevere Turner.

Rated R (bloody violence, sexuality, nudity).

95 minutes.

Released on January 6, 2016.

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