BloodRayne (2006)


Would You Stop Throwing Things at me?

On a day when most people are going out to see the Avengers, I chose to watch three movies spawned by Uwe Boll, a man whose top rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes pulls down a whopping 11%.  I say this only as proof that I make poor decisions.  In actual fact, I was simply unable to go and see Avengers on the opening day and will be putting it off until next week.  My anger over this leads me to want to take it out on some movies I know to be super shitty.  No better place to look than an Uwe Boll movie for super shittiness.  The man who is potentially the worst director of our time and the Ed Wood of our decade has hurt me more than many others by not only making shitty movies, but making them out of properties I was fond of from the video game world.  Today’s movie is one of these movies.  This movie is BloodRayne, written by Guinevere Turner, directed by Uwe Boll, and starring Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Matthew Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Billy Zane, Will Sanderson, Meat Loaf, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a half human, half vampire, all carnival attraction known as a Dhampir.  She is the spawn that resulted from the Vampire King Kagan (Ben Kingsley) raping her mother, and then later killing her.  She escapes from the carnival when one of the workers tries to rape her and takes it upon herself to kill a lot of the people on the way out.  But at least she gets a sweet pair of swords out of it.  This gains the attention of three members of the vampire hunting group called the Brimstone Society and Sebastian (Matthew Davis), Vladimir (Michael Madsen), and Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) set out to find her.  With some advice from a fortune teller, Rayne sets off to find an eye, a rib, and a heart that belonged to a powerful vampire named Belial so that she can face and defeat Kagan.

Fuck you, movie.  And fuck you, Uwe Boll!  It’s no surprise to anyone that’s seen some of his movies that Uwe Boll is a terrible filmmaker.  What can surprise is how much his terribleness can seep into everything around him, making ideas that were good into shit and making actors that were great forget how to act completely.  There is scarcely anything within this movie that could stand as a reason for anyone to watch it ever.  The story of the movie is dumb and disjointed.  It’s been quite some time since I last played a BloodRayne game, but as far as I can remember, this movie has nothing to do with those games.  The only thing in common is that it stars an attractive lady vampire named Rayne.  Then it’s a bit of origin story which turns into a training thing with some junk about finding body parts of an old dead vampire.  You won’t be interested in any of it.  A lot of what Uwe tends to do is realize after the fact that either the scene does not really explain what was going on or the people that would be willingly watching this movie are stupid so he adds in some ADR dialogue over the scene to try to explain it, whether the person’s mouth is moving or not.  He does this early on when people are riding their horses through a scene and some really bad ADR is talking over the scene and even worse later when a guy is examining someone and says, “He’s dead,” even though his lips aren’t moving.  The dialogue is just as bad as the rest of the story.  There’s one part where someone is telling Rayne that, “Dhampirs are rarely the happy product of a vampire and a human,” and Rayne yells, “You lie!” at her.  So, wait…  Are you trying to make the argument that they ARE mostly from happy relationships, or did you just think this was the best time to get indignant even though you weren’t listening to me?  They also get phrases wrong, like when Katarin says something is a “bitter threat”.  The threat isn’t bitter, lady.  The threat doesn’t have emotions.  You may have a bitter ENEMY, or even just a terrible threat, but … oh what’s the point.  You’re dumb.  There’s also a lot of stupid going on in the movie, like when we cut from one scene to a random bit of Kagan biting a random young girl, then just moving on.  This girl never comes back into the story and the scene served no purpose.  It was almost like they didn’t believe that we believed them when they said that Kagan was a vampire so they had to prove it.  And how is it that, in bad movies, guards will kill anybody unless it serves the story for the people to get captured?  Sebastian and Vladimir had gone into a pile of enemies with their swords drawn and started killing them, but then let themselves get overtaken and they were captured, even though Kagan had given no orders to take them prisoner.  But don’t worry: this is an action movie!  Oh wait … the action is crap too.  There was no evidence that anyone tried to choreograph these fights at all.  They just gave the actors some fake swords and told them to get in there and swing them.  But all of the actors swung the swords as if they were really worried about hitting someone with the fake swords.  I understand that, but you’re in a movie.  You at least have to make it LOOK like you want to kill your opponent.  The sex scene is the only reason I can think of to legitimately watch this movie, but only because Kristanna Loken is hot and she has nice boobs.  The sex and the romance come completely out of left field.  I guess they could’ve fallen in love because they’d both lost their parents, but I think that would’ve just made me mad if I was Rayne.  She says that her mom was killed by Kagan and Sebastian comes back with BOTH of his parents were killed.  Alright, I guess you win the sob story game, you son of a (dead) bitch.  The ending also pisses me off, but I’m not going to waste my time putting up spoiler alerts.  I don’t want you to watch this movie.  The ending was vaguely reminiscent of the first Conan movie because Rayne is the only person still alive at the end, so she sits down on Kagan’s throne as the camera zooms slowly into her face.  Then we start cutting to various random scenes that were particularly violent from the rest of the movie, as if the movie was going to start over, but in slow motion and even more annoying.  I was about to open up my wrists until I realized that it wasn’t starting over.  But, as I think about it, maybe the ending fits the movie.  Nothing suits a terrible movie better than a terrible ending.

The ambience of the movie was also mostly crap.  The settings and the costumes were the only things that I wouldn’t judge too harshly … for the most part.  Rayne’s outfit pissed me off though.  Not at first, though.  I liked her original outfit.  It looked like it did in the game.  It was skintight and sexy.  Near the end of the movie, they present her with a new, and vastly inferior, outfit.  It looked to be leather, but looked pre-worn and really dirty, even fresh out of the wrappings it came in.  And the pants seemed to have been sized for an aging soccer mom as they did not fit snugly to Kristanna’s beautiful ass.  The weapons all looked really awful too.  Most of them were really fakey swords, a couple didn’t even look like any decent sword design, and they never captured Rayne’s signature swords.  They were close in the beginning, but then she breaks them and they’re replaced with ones that are just pieces of metal that were clearly rounded on the tips, so as to be not much more effective than fighting with butter knives.  Boll also doesn’t have a terribly good grasp on how to make sound work for a movie.  Screams sounded goofy when they should’ve been emotional, impactful musical stings were noticeably absent on scenes where they would have helped sell the emotion of a scene, and none of it sounded good.  It’s the kind of thing you don’t really pay attention to until you see it done really poorly, so you definitely notice it here.

I think you’ve all gotten the general idea of this review already, so it comes as no surprise to you that the performances were crap as well.  And that is even more tragic because they had some great actors in this movie that gave the worst performance of their lives.  I’m not talking about Kristanna Loken, of course.  She’s not known for her acting.  She’s known for the sexy.  She brings that much to some parts of the movie, especially her uncomfortable tits-out sex scene.  Her best performance to date was definitely Terminator 3 because she didn’t have to speak.  She delivers lines poorly and never really brings emotion, like when she says, “I WILL stand a chance against Kagan.”  It’s hard to explain it here, but the emphasis was on “will” so it seemed like it should have preceded a statement of more confidence like, “I WILL kill the living bejesus out of Kagan.”  It doesn’t really sound right when it’s more akin to, “I WILL give it a shot, but probably die.  Please don’t make me do this!”  Ben Kingsley is exactly the kind of person who shocks me with his performance in this.  This guy won an Academy Award!  He was in Schindler’s List!  …AND BloodRayne!  Why?!  He gives a thoroughly unimpressive performance to this movie as well.  It made me wonder if they just said, “Why bother?  Uwe wouldn’t know a good performance if I hit him over the head with the Academy Award I won for doing it.”  I would say Michael Madsen would fit into that category as well.  I’ve seen him be amazing in movies before.  I’ve also seen him not impress before.  He went with that one for this movie.  I laughed really hard at one point where he was running up the stairs with Matthew Davis in tow and an enemy jumped out of the door, basically onto Madsen.  Madsen just kept going as if it hadn’t happened, because Davis was the one that was supposed to kill this guy that clearly just popped through the door a couple of seconds too early.

BloodRayne is an awful movie.  Uwe Boll did the majority of the terribleness in this thing, offering up a horrible and disjointed story that has little to do with the source material while simultaneously displaying his ineptitude behind the camera by allowing lame fights, awful acting, and terrible everything get captured onto film.  The only thing in this movie worth seeing is Kristanna Loken’s boobs, but you can live without them.  They’re not that nice.  Plus, you can just Google that.  You could stream this movie on Netflix but … wait … No you can’t!  You are not allowed to stream this movie!  I forbid it!  If you want to make fun of a movie, any Uwe Boll movie sets you up for plenty of that.  And, if you want to get into making movies, you will realize that you can do it so much better than someone that actually makes money doing it right now.  BloodRayne gets “I would sooner rot in your dungeon than sit at your table” out of “Your form is weak, lacking passion.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)


It’s the Wood That Should Fear Your Hand, Not the Other Way Around

The inevitable followup to watching and reviewing Kill Bill is Kill Bill: Volume 2.  When Fabio suggested Volume 1, it was simply implied that Volume 2 was part of the deal.  And after watching the first movie, why wouldn’t you want to finish it up?  But there’s a problem here: there’s a pretty drastic style change between Volume 1 and Volume 2.  The people that really liked the first movie may not necessarily appreciate the changes that were made.  Of course, the other possibility is that it’s equally good in it’s own right.  Let’s see what happened in my review of Kill Bill: Volume 2, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Gordon Liu, Chris Nelson, Perla Haney-Jardine, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Parks, Bo Svenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Larry Bishop, Sid Haig, and Helen Kim.

We start off back at the wedding rehearsal between The Bride (Uma Thurman) and her groom-to-be (Chris Nelson).  The Bride’s former leader – and former lover – Bill (David Carradine) shows up and asks if he can sit on The Bride’s side of the church.  The Bride is pretty trepidatious, but welcomes him to the ceremony.  Unfortunately for her, Bill’s brought along the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad – O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), Budd (Michael Madsen), and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) – who promptly kill up the place.  Four years later, after awaking from a coma, The Bride sets off to get her revenge.  She already killed O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green in the first movie, so now she sets her sights on Budd.  But Budd is waiting for her, and shoots her in the chest with a shotgun blast full of rock salt, and then proceeds to bury her alive.  A little trick she learned from her master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) helps her escape and allows her to go after Budd again, but Elle Driver beat her to the punch.  Now The Bride can kill two snakes with one sword.

I found myself fairly bored by Volume 2, but I’m also well aware of the reason.  I know that Tarantino’s movies tend to be really talkie, but after the excitement and swordplay of the first one, I went into the second one expecting something different.  This is not to say that Volume 2 is a bad movie, but it’s certainly a different movie, and I didn’t really want it to be.  The first movie was a sword fighting martial arts movie, and the second one was a slower paced spaghetti western.  In the first movie, The Bride kills somewhere in the vicinity of 90 people.  In part two, she kills two people.  It would’ve been three but she, like the movie, was moving too slow to get it done before Elle did.  It’s a bit of a harsh shock, but once you settle in to the movie, you get to liking it a little more.  The story is still a pretty typical revenge movie, but without the over the top sword fighting, I had to find something else to be interested in.  The dialogue was mostly Tarantino quality, so I paid attention to that instead.  I didn’t really dig on the fightin’ words between Elle and The Bride right before they fought.  Tarantino’s trend of having people sitting around and talking too much works at a table in a diner, but not so much right before two people kill each other.  And when that fight was over in three seconds after they finally stopped talking, that was a bit of a bummer.  The aftermath of the fight was pretty hilarious though.  I liked the monologue Bill delivers about Superman because it’s clever and it’s something that I’ve never though of before, but it also had very little to do with the situation.  It reminded me of the conversation about “Like a Virgin” from Reservoir Dogs.  I also liked the conversation between The Bride and the assassin, when The Bride has just found out she was pregnant.  Even though I still liked the movie, I felt it moved a little slow from the expectations I had going in.  I liked the Pai Mei flashback scenes, but the rest of it was too talkie and not enough action for my taste.

I had no real complaints about the performances in this movie.  Uma Thurman was still great, but the character of The Bride was not able to show her true badassness as well in this movie.  David Carradine was also really good.  I had mixed feelings about Michael Madsen’s character though.  I enjoyed the fact that Budd seemed to be the only one in the group that realized they deserved what The Bride was going to bring to them.  Doesn’t mean he intended to just let it happen though.  Problem with that part of it is that, when the time came, he decided to protect himself like a Bond villain.  The movie would’ve been over in the first 10 minutes if he had buckshot in his shotgun instead of rock salt.  And then he had to put the hero of the movie in a dangerous and difficult, but ultimately escapable situation.  If he had performed the coup-de-grace with a rock as he had suggested … well … he’d still be dead because The Bride didn’t kill him, but The Bride would’ve been dead.  Also, kudos to Madsen for burying The Bride in my hometown of Barstow.  I’ve always thought that place was only good for burying people alive in.

Ultimately, Kill Bill: Volume 2 is a really good movie that’s hindered by the expectations it’s predecessor set for me.  The first movie was exciting and spectacular, and the second movie was more low key and talkie.  Still good, but The Bride needed to get her sword wet a little to satisfy me.  I still recommend the movie though, especially since you need it to see the conclusion to the movie I recommended you buy yesterday.  I have this movie on Blu-Ray as well.  Kill Bill: Volume 2 gets “You’re a natural born killer” out of “Bitch, you don’t have a future.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)


Leave the Limbs You’ve Lost.  They Belong to Me Now.

Fabio came through in a big way after work today.  I was trying to figure out what I should watch next, and he was more than happy to give me a recommendation.  And what’s more exciting about it is that he actually requested a movie that I like.  Technically two.  Today, we’re going into the first movie in the series.  I’ve liked the greater majority of the movies put out by this writer/director, and today’s movie is probably my favorite of his movies.  It takes a great writer/director and allows him to play in a world that both he and I are very passionate about, and today’s movie is the spawn of that passion.  At least of his passion.  Today’s review is the spawn of my passion.  With that, we get into my review of Kill Bill: Volume 1, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Lui, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus, Chiaki Kuriyama, Michael Parks, Michael Bowen, Gordon Liu, and Michael Madsen.

A pregnant lady – we’ll call her “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) – winds up on the business end of a gun held by her former boss, Bill (David Carradine).  Something she’s done did not sit right by him, causing him and his posse – O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), and Budd (Michael Madsen) – to attempt to kill The Bride and everyone attending her wedding.  When the police arrives, Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) finds that The Bride survived her head wound.  Four years later, she wakes up from her coma and takes a Pussy Wagon off to get her revenge.  Her first objective is to travel to Okinawa to get a sword from legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba).  With that in hand, she sets her sights on on O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green.

Mother fuck this is a good ass movie.  There’s a very strong chance that I liked this movie more than your typical movie goer because of my own passions.  If you’ve ever been inside my house, you’ll know that I love swords.  I have a decent collection of swords hanging around my house, and I always feel like I want more.  Every time I watch this movie, I feel like I need to go out and get myself a replica Hanzo.  The story of this movie is a pretty typical revenge movie, but told in a Tarantino fashion.  The Bride’s motivations in this movie are never in question.  That girl deserves her revenge.  You never once doubt that she deserves to kill the people in the way of her goal.  I could’ve done without Tarantino’s signature style of showing the movie out of order, but it also didn’t hinder the movie at all.  There was just no point to it.  Did The Bride kill O-Ren first, or was it Vernita?  And more to the point: who cares?  At that point, why bother?  I also didn’t understand the idea of bleeping out The Bride’s name.  Does it spoil anything in the movie to know that her name is Beatrice Kiddo?  Hells to the no.  So why are you doing it?  Again, it takes nothing away from the movie, but it also adds nothing but the question in my mind.  I also don’t understand The Bride’s notebook.  Does she really have trouble remembering the names of the five people that killed her friends and family, caused the death of her unborn child, and attempted to kill her?  Or is it that she has trouble remember who she’s killed already?  Either way, if it’s something my memory is capable of, your memory should be as well.  On the other hand, she DID get shot in the head in the beginning of this movie, so maybe I should let it go.  This movie is also done in a grindhouse style, and if you read my previous review of Hobo With a Shotgun, you’ll probably assume that I hate this movie because of that.  Not the case.  This is grindhouse done right.  It doesn’t look like shit; it’s just stylized.  It looks great.  They just went a little over the top on the violence so that it wasn’t really realistic.  I don’t mind that.  I also appreciated the one long shot of The Bride walking to the bathroom in the club before the fight with the Crazy 88’s.  I appreciate those kinds of shots because of the potential difficulty in getting an entire scene shot correctly in one go.  The music is also great, as Tarantino is prone to do.  It’s the music you wouldn’t necessarily expect in such a scene, and certainly not music I would’ve ever liked on it’s own, but it helps the movie greatly.  It’s all really memorable too, like Elle Driver’s powerful whistling or “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei.  After seeing the movie, you could probably do a pretty good rendition of either of these two songs at any point in the future.

As much as I liked everything else about this movie, the fights are really what sold me on it.  And they really don’t waste too much time before they get into a good fight.  We barely get into the movie before The Bride and Vernita have having a knock down, drag out fight.  It’s not a particularly pretty or impressive fight, it’s just two chicks throwing down with a couple of knives and a butt-load of glass.  The next fight is an animated one, vaguely reminiscent of the old Akira cartoon.  It’s very violent and pretty awesome.  But the real treat of the movie is the 15 minute sword fight between The Bride and 88 soldiers in O-Ren Ishii’s army.  This is a masterpiece of a massacre, a symphony of slaying, a bolero of blood.  It’s stylized and gory, and never gets boring, even though it goes on for 15 minutes.  The fight with O-Ren afterwards pales in comparison, but only because the previous fight was so freaking good.  If you weren’t sold on The Bride as a badass before this scene, you should be afterwards.  There is one part in the movie (which I won’t say, but you’ll know it once you’ve watched the movie) where a character gets the top of his or her head cut off, and it was really fakey.  I don’t know if it was intentionally bad because it would fit the grindhouse style, but I feel like they should’ve, and could’ve, done it better.

I liked every performance I can currently think of in this movie.  Uma Thurman was a boss.  The greater majority of this movie she was a relentless, stone-cold killer.  She also had to drop some emotional performances, like when she realized she had lost her baby.  She had a couple of parts where she was just real and normal, like the part with Sonny Chiba and about three lines of her conversation with Vernita.  Speaking of Vernita, Vivica A. Fox didn’t really work for me in this movie.  I think it was mainly the way she talked shit to The Bride when they were fighting because it sounded less like something a professional killer would be saying and more like something two drunk girls would be yelling at each other while pulling each other’s hair outside of a club.  O-Ren Ishii was a good character though, and Lucy Liu did it well.  She was pretty friendly in parts, then completely sadistic, and in her battle with The Bride I actually started liking her because of how respectful she was being in battle.  I was also a fan of Sonny Chiba.  I know that Tarantino was a big fan of him because of his older movies, but I’d never seen any of those.  I gained my appreciation because of this movie alone.  He seemed like such a nice and friendly (except to his lazy assistant) sushi chef, and then became the legendary swordsmith, filled with regret for the lives that his weapons had taken.  I also really liked Chiaki Kuriyama as Go Go Yubari.  I believed that there was a very good chance that she was crazy.  She was also hot, so I liked that.  And she was good in the fight, so that was nice as well.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a fantastic movie.  Putting someone like Tarantino into a genre that he and I are both really passionate about works out to make an amazingly entertaining movie.  The story isn’t entirely impressive, but the way it’s told is.  Amazing action, fantastic style, and some really good performances sells this thing.  I thoroughly recommend this movie, for both watching and purchasing.  I own this thing on Blu-Ray.  I technically own it on Blu-Ray AND DVD right now.  It’s definitely visually appealing enough to go straight to Blu-Ray, and definitely a movie that’s great enough that you should own it.  We’ll find out tomorrow how I feel about Volume 2, but for now Kill Bill: Volume 1 gets “Wiggle your big toe” out of “Lucky for her, Boss Matsumoto was a pedophile.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.