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“Don’t belief the hype: it’s not that bad.”

Director Boll has a rep as the worst filmmaker ever, making movies based on video games entirely for tax writeoff purposes. But have things got out of hand? I mean, Bloodrayne was in the IMDB All-time Bottom 50 before it opened. So cut him some slack – even though we may be the only folk on this planet who admit to liking bits of House of the Dead. Still, despite a fine cast [any film with Udo Kier is okay by us!], uniformly dire reviews meant we went in to this with low expectations – and made up most of the audience. Ouch. Yet, despite rumours of Madsen being drunk every day, Kingsley refusing to act with Madsen – something leftover from Species, I guess – and Rodriguez’ horrendous attempt at an English accent, this wasn’t entirely terrible.

Not great, sure; but as someone from Britain, I knew right off Rodriguez wasn’t even trying. I think all she did was limit her normal accent – wise for a Hispanic in a setting of Romania, circa 1700. Anyway, she and Madsen are hunting down Rayne (Loken), a human/vampire halfbreed seeking king of the vampires Kagan (Kingsley), who raped and killed her mother. Kagan, in turn, is after three artifacts to protect him from water, crosses and sunlight. Basically, imagine a period take on Blade with less actual imagination and more digital blood. There is certainly potential; Loken looks the part (dig her groovy swords!), as does the landscape.

However, the action borders on the incoherent, provoking little or no sense of awe or excitement. Gossip also states most of the stars signed on about two weeks’ notice, and that would certainly explain their apparent large unfamiliarity with pointy weapons. From the reviews, you’d think this was worse than Plan 9 From Outer Space, yet ignoring the anti-Boll hype, it’s largely only the poor staging of the fights which prevent this from being, at the very least, a credible rental. However, an action film with bad action is like a horror film with bad scares, rendering the other ingredients largely irrelevant.

Dir: Uwe Boll
Stars: Kristina Loken, Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Rodriguez

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