BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007)

Life is Like a Penis

I don’t know why I do these things to myself.  When the typical pattern for movie sequels is for them to start really good and slowly go to shit, what happens when the first movie is shit?  Do the movies get better because the formula has been flipped, or do they find a way to get worse?  In the case of Uwe Boll movies, I know where I’d put my money.  Unlike the first movie in this series, I had not seen this movie before I sat down to review it, so I can’t even tell you what my feelings are going to be before viewing it.  I can only assume.  Let’s see if my assumptions are correct in my review of BloodRayne II: Deliverance, written by Christopher Donaldson and Neil Every, directed by Uwe Boll, and starring Natassia Malthe, Zack Ward, Michael Paré, Michael Eklund, Michael Teigen, Chris Coppola, John Novak, Chris Spencer, and Jodelle Ferland.

Reporter Newton Piles (Chris Coppola) arrives at the town of Deliverance, Montana looking to record stories of the Wild West from the front lines.  Unfortunately, Deliverance is a really slow town and nothing is happening beyond some people whacking on railroad tracks with pickaxes.  That starts to change as the vampire Billy the Kid (Zack Ward) shows up and takes control of the town, turning most of its residents into vampires and abducting their children to keep them in line.  Two of the children taken belonged to friends of the half vampire, half human Dhampir named Rayne (Natassia Malthe), so she sets her sights on Billy the Kid in order to get them back.  Instead of that, she gets captured and shot up on her escape.  Pat Garret (Michael Paré) rescues her and they collect The Preacher (Michael Eklund) and Slime Bag Franson (Michael Teigen) to assault the city.

For those of you that felt left out because you don’t like video games and so had no characters that Uwe Boll was ruining, now you can join in on the hatred because he’s also violating beloved historical figures.  This movie still sucks.  As a lover of video games, I am again left wondering why Boll would bother naming the movie after a video game character that has little to nothing to do with the video game.  If he had just named his movie Shitty Vampire Movie I never would’ve been tricked into watching it in the first place.  Rayne never went to the old west in the video games, so I can only assume Boll just wanted to make a Western.  And, of course, taint the memories of Billy the Kid, Pat Garret, and almost Wyatt Earp and Tombstone.  It’s mentioned at the end of the movie that the vampire gang of the Claytons is causing trouble in Tombstone and Wyatt Earp is looking into it.  Now, Tombstone is one of my favorite movies.  I just don’t know what I’d do if Uwe had continued this story and pissed on them for me.  Lovers of Young Guns should beware of this movie.  Thankfully, I’ve already looked into the third movie and they thankfully don’t hit up Tombstone.  It shouldn’t be that surprising though because Boll even shits on his own continuity.  Remember how a big part of your first movie was Rayne acquiring the eye?  And remember how it changed the color of one of her eyes?  Oh, I guess you don’t remember that.  The story is very simplistic.  Vampire goes to a town, hero tries to stop him, she loses, she comes back again with a bigger posse, and then she wins.  How do you stretch that out into feature length?  Attempt to copy the classic Western staple of building tension before fights, but fail.  You know how in a Western people would stand facing each other with the camera looking at their eyes and their hands to build tension before the gun was drawn?  Imagine that happening every ten minutes, building zero tension but taking twice as long, and occasionally ending with nothing happening at all.  Every character needs to get a slow motion death scene too, just to further waste your time.  Speaking of time wasting, almost all of the dialogue in this movie.  I assume that English is not Boll’s first language, but someone on the set should tell him when his dialogue doesn’t make sense.  Like when someone is bragging about their prowess with the gun and calls himself, “The best cock suckin’ shooter.”  You want to think about what you just said there, man?  I wish he had followed it up with, “I mean, I’m much better at cock suckin’ than I am at shootin’, but I am a pretty good shooter too!  Anyway, get your cock out and let’s get started.”  And I’m on the fence about the time when someone says that something is going to happen at “high midnight”.  There’s a chance that was word play because the vampires can’t go out in the daytime, but one thing we can be sure of is that it doesn’t make sense.  They call it “high noon” because that’s when the sun is highest in the sky.  What’s high in the sky at night time?  The moon?  That thing can be anywhere depending on the time of the year.  There’s also a line in the movie that says, “Life is like a penis.  When it’s hard you get screwed.  When it’s soft you can’t beat it.”  The writer says, “I should write that down!” right afterwards.  But, no.  No one should ever write that down.  I had to in order to mock it.  It’s like they’re trying to say something clever like in Team America: World Police, but it’s nowhere near as funny or witty.

The look of the movie remains roughly the same.  The settings are still nice, but almost nothing else is.  The first thing I noticed was that the movie looked like a shitty student film.  It seemed to be a hand held camera and the director of photography had just had an all-night bender.  You know you can buy a tripod, right Uwe?  Uwe still doesn’t know how to frame things in a way that makes sense of looks good.  There’s one point where two people are having a conversation at a table sitting right next to each other like no one would.  Later, as Billy and Rayne are fighting, they don’t think that we might want to see Rayne’s face as she’s talking because Boll was filming from behind her as she was on all fours.  And you can’t say you don’t like to cut between camera angles because that’s what you do during fights to mask the fact that they’re not interesting: just make lots of random cuts to make it seem more exciting.  Most of the fights in the movie are uninteresting gun fights even though Rayne’s primary weapon is her two swords.  Boll still hasn’t figured out that you can have a point on the end of those swords so they’d actually look like they could cut something.  But, then again, maybe Boll is convinced that vampires have the same texture to their skin as partially-melted butter.  And it’s not going to matter anyways because Rayne won’t remember that she actually has two of those swords until the last ten minutes of the movie.  And since when does the sound of vampires dying sound exactly like pigs getting kicked in the ribs?  And, after you spent so much time explaining how the bullets of Rayne and her posse would damage the vampires because they were silver and blessed by a priest, how could you forget to explain how the guns of the random townspeople did damage to the vampires?  If I was going to say something has improved from the first movie it’d be that the blood they use in this one looks more like blood than the red Nestle’s Quik they used in the first one.

I’d say the performances vastly improved in this movie.  They were still awful, but I’d say it was improved because they weren’t ruining any good actors.  I recognized Zack Ward and Jodelle Ferland, but not from any movies I liked.  I didn’t think Silent Hill was awful, but seeing Jodelle in this doesn’t hurt my feelings.  Lovers of A Christmas Story may be disappointed to see Zack Ward in a shitty movie, but he was the bully in that movie anyway.  Serves him right.  I thought it was weird that the hero of the movie, Natassia Malthe, doesn’t show up until 20 minutes in.  She did as good of a job as she could, but I wasn’t expecting much.  She didn’t impress and she didn’t even have the good sense to get them boobs out during the movie.  I preferred Kristanna Loken.  Neither one of them can act, but at I find Kristanna more appealing.  Zack Ward is the only other person in this movie worth mentioning, but he also sucked.  So maybe he also wasn’t worth mentioning.

It’s hard to say which one between BloodRayne and BloodRayne II: Deliverance is worse.  They’re probably equally as awful.  The story is simple and works to ruin not only beloved video game characters, but also beloved historical figures.  The movie wastes a lot of your time in between uninteresting action scenes and the performances offer nothing worth mentioning either.  You don’t need to see the first movie to understand this one, but you definitely don’t need to see this one at all.  Skip it.  You can’t even stream this one on Netflix and it’s definitely not worth more than one click on your mouse.  You have better things to do.  BloodRayne II: Deliverance gets “You don’t know what you’re dealing with” out of “Is writing stories your reason to live?”

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A Christmas Story (1983)

Daddy’s Gonna Kill Ralphie

This movie came to me not as a request, but a demand.  It was not as my normal, politely phrased requests, but as the declaration that one of my friendships would immediately dissolve if this movie was not reviewed post haste.  Well I thankfully don’t have to make any changes to my friends list on Facebook because this movie has been watched and, by the time this is being read, has been reviewed.  Though the holiday season is over, I was told it was necessary to watch this Christmas movie.  I had thus far been able to avoid watching it, even though apparently everyone has seen it and it plays on TV for free nearly constantly during the holiday season.  This movie came out the year I was born.  I’m sorry Loni, but it’s true: I’m slightly younger than you.  Please stop crying.  But this movie is renowned as a holiday classic, so lets get into my review for A Christmas Story, written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark, directed by Bob Clark, and starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Tedde Moore, Zack Ward, Yano Anaya, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, Tommy Lee Wallace, and the voice of Jean Shepherd.

This is a vaguely difficult story to follow because there’s one main storyline, but a great deal of subplots that really serve no purpose to the main plot.  This is due to the fact that the movie is based on a collection of short stories by Jean Shepherd.  The main plot of the movie is that Christmas is coming to Hohman, Indiana, and all of the kids are getting all worked up about it.  One boy named Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants one thing, and one thing only, for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.  Unfortunately for him, his parents (Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin) are not keen on the idea, thinking he’ll shoot his eye out.  Ralphie must find a way to change their minds, or to convince Santa to bring one.  Subplots include his father winning a lamp shaped like a leg, dad’s constant cursing leading to Ralphie dropping the F bomb, his friend Schwartz (R.D. Robb) dares his other friend Flick (Scott Schwartz) to lick a flagpole, Ralphie receiving a decoder ring, and Ralphie dealing with a bully named Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) and his sidekick Grover Dill (Yano Anaya).

Unfortunately for my former friend Loni, I did not like this movie as much as everyone else seems to.  It was decent and vaguely funny, but not strong enough to make me laugh.  I would say this about it though: probably one of the best Christmas movies.  Most Christmas movies are strictly kids movies and could only be enjoyed by children and people who saw these movies when they were children.  Nightmare Before Christmas holds up as a quality movie, but movies like How The Grinch Stole Christmas aren’t that great in adulthood.  This movie is good because it doesn’t strike me as a kids movie.  Nothing happens that’s super adult, but it does kind of shit on the whole Santa thing.  I still believed in Santa until I saw this movie.  First, they stretch continuity by having Santa participate in a parade and then be in the mall asking children what they want.  How could he have made it there in time?  Impossible!  Then, Santa’s kind of a dick and makes you think “This guy might not be the REAL Santa.”  Then, it turns out the parents are the ones who gave them the Santa gifts.  WHAT?!  Mom, you lying bitch!  Because it ruins the idea of Santa for the world, I can’t say it’s really for kids, but I didn’t find it all that entertaining as an adult either. The constant interjections from the narrator kind of got on my nerves, as did Ralphie’s little brother.  I did find the dream sequences pretty enjoyable.  I think it’s probably a fairly good representation of the goings-ons of a child’s mind.  He imagined that he would need the BB gun to fend off intruders from his backyard, he imagined writing the best essay in his class and everyone reacting as if a 9-year old had just written the greatest novel of our time, and he imagined that he went blind from having soap in his mouth.  These were fairly well executed.  There were a couple of things in this movie that didn’t make sense to me.  First of all, the scene that is probably seen the most out of this movie of the kid getting his tongue stuck to the flagpole.  Not that it happened, but that they called the fire department and the police department over it.  You can’t produce a cup of warm water?  Also, why did the teacher act like the kids should feel bad about daring him to do it?  Why?  I just made a suggestion, he was the one stupid enough to do it!  Also, though he doesn’t say the word in the movie, I don’t get the parents getting mad at Ralphie for saying “Oh, fuck.”  First of all, I’d fuckin’ high five my kid for that, and secondly, how do you not know where he heard that word?  The dad is downstairs cursing like a sailor about 4 times in the movie!  Then, the part where Ralphie beats the bejesus out of the bully.  First of all, I liked the scene, regardless of the fact that blood was coming out of his nose when Ralphie was clearly working the body.  Unless that kid was hemorrhaging internally, that’s not how it works.  Afterwards, Ralphie starts crying, mainly because he was only 9 and had already killed a man with his bare hands.  It made me think that perhaps his parents were right in not wanting to give the kid a BB gun, because he either has a severe anger management problem or a demon inhabiting his body.  But then, while wearing a ridiculous bunny costume, he worries that his reputation at school would be tarnished if they knew about this.  How would that happen?  First off, you defeated a bully that tormented all the kids of school.  And secondly, you beat him to death with your bare hands!  Let those mother fuckers talk shit!  See what happens!

When I had heard that ::SPOILER ALERT:: Ralphie shoots his eye out when he actually gets the BB gun, I assumed he would lose his eye in an accident with it, or in the very least that it would have gotten itself lodged in his glasses and his parents would take the gun away for his safety.  I was so bummed out when I got to this scene and they go pussy balls on us by making it just hit him in the cheek.  Huge letdown for me.  I’m sure the mom would still take the gun away for it because she didn’t want him to have it in the first place, but it got talked up far too much and I was really let down.  ::END SPOILER::

The performances were good, but very few people in this movie actually played likeable characters.  Peter Billingsley did a very good job as Ralphie.  He acted like a kid (mainly because he was one), but also had a couple of parts where he had to break into tears (both real and fake), and he did it very well.  Ian Petrella technically played his little brother very well, but I found him so irritating that I couldn’t enjoy his performance.  I thought their mom, played by Melinda Dillon, was a twat.  The actress did a good job in the performance, but the character seemed barely interested in Ralphie but thought Randy was the greatest, broke the lamp dad was so excited about because she was a bitch, and caused some innocent little boy to get the shit kicked out of him by his mom because she was too dumb to realize that Ralphie may have learned to curse from the dad that was semi constantly cursing.  I had no thoughts about the character of the dad, but Darren McGavin did a fine job with it.

Sadly, I may have lost a friend today by not being sold on A Christmas Story.  I found the story underwhelming and didn’t think any of it was particularly funny, the performances were good but the characters were mostly irritating, and the entire thing was narrated by a person I found annoying.  All this being said, I would still say it’s one of the better Christmas movies, but mainly because there’s not a lot of talent in that field.  I may well have found this movie amazing if I had watched it 28 years ago, but I didn’t.  Instead, I watched it when I was 28, and was not really interested.  The movie may also be hindered by the fact that it was a movie about kids, starring kids, and from a kid’s point of view, and I really don’t like kids.  I tend to find children 90% irritating and 10% cute, and usually only tolerable in small doses.  A Christmas Story gets “Oooh fuuudge” out of “It could be a bowling alley.”

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