This is my first attempt at reviewing a complete franchise, hope you enjoy it.
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Based on a popular video game, this movie is about Rayne, a half human/half vampire called a “dhampir.” Having grown up as a captive sideshow freak, Rayne finally escapes. Learning that she is the daughter of the vampire king and seeking revenge upon him, she joins a society of vampire hunters called Brimstone.
With the caliber of the cast of this movie, including some of my personal favorite character actors, as well as seasoned popular names, like Michael Madsen, Udo Kier, Meatloaf, Michael Pare, Michelle Rodriguez, Kristanna Loken, Billy Zane and Ben Kingsley, I was really surprised it wasn’t better. Though the story concept was good, there were too many awkward moments where “accents” slipped and dialogue was forced. There was little to no chemistry between the characters/actors and the body language was stiff, the fight scenes poorly executed. Likely, it would have been more natural had they just done without the “accents” and worked more on improving the fight scenes. I mean really, this movie was supposed to be an action, kick ass, adventure, but completely failed. The only exceptions being Ben Kingsley and Billy Zane. Ben Kingsley, even in the worst of roles, is the best part of any scene. Billy Zane appeared to realize how “good” this movie would be and played his character to it’s cheesy fullest. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge Uwe Boll fan, but I keep trying hoping he’ll surprise me.
I give this one 2 shots-of-your-choice. It was tolerable, barely. Just goes to show that even an amazing cast can’t always save a bad movie.
“Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance” (2007)
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Set a century after the original, Rayne is back, this time in the American Wild West, going head to head with none other than Billy the Kid (as a pedophile vampire) and his bloodsucking gang. She teams up with Pat Garret, a reporter, a preacher, and others, except of course the actual citizens, to stop Billy’s reign terror in the town of Deliverance. Where this movie attempts to be intense and dramatic, it ends up between slow and ridiculous.
Rayne, in this low budget (by Hollywood standards) sequel, is played by Natassia Malthe, who isn’t too bad except Rayne’s signature pair of swords were too big for her and they needed to cut away each time she unsheathed them. Well, that and she just doesn’t come across as 100-year-old seasoned vampire hunter. As with the first film, the fight scenes were lacking. Either lack of direction or lack of the actor’s ability, I couldn’t tell. Michael Pare as Pat Garrett was a pleasant surprise (I was really a fan of his when he was in “The Greatest American Hero” and “Eddie and the Cruisers”). The chemistry between the actors/characters was better, but the story and dialogue was so much worse than the first. The sound effects were horribly distracting, every time a vampire died it sounded like a pig being slaughtered.
The musical score was quite good, one of the things I actually enjoyed about the movie. The other thing I liked was the use of practical effects, there was some CGI but it was pretty minimal.
On the plus side, now that I’ve seen this, I don’t ever have to watch it again. This goes firmly in the “don’t bother” category.
This gets 1 shot-of-your-choice.
“Bloodrayne: The Third Reich” (2010)
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Natassia Malthe is back, in another low budget sequel, as Rayne, this time fighting the Nazi’s with Brendan Fletcher as Nathanial Gregor. She encounters Ekart Brand, played by Michael Pare, who intents to steal Rayne’s blood to make Hitler a dhampir and therefore immortal. With several of the same actors from the previous installments of the series, I was hoping for a Team Bloodrayne vs the Nazis. Well, it sort of was, if Team Bloodrayne means Ranyne and a bunch of sidekicks that keep getting killed. The new characters for previous actors was, frankly, confusing.
While slightly less ridiculous than the aforementioned 2nd film, because of Hitler’s well exploited interest in the Occult, it’s still not good. Rayne still has no instincts, the bad guys can sneak up on her and shoot her in the back or string her up like a side of beef, though being “immortal” she might just not care. Also, gone are Rayne’s signature swords, replaced by a pair of custom made swords designed specifically for Natassia Malthe to use in this movie. To be fair, 3 drinks in and I found tons to enjoy, especially Clint Howard’s performance… until I remembered that this *wasn’t* the spoof.
Clint Howard’s performance is the reason that this gets 1 1/2 shots-of-your-choice rather than just one.
For completion sake, I offer:
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Lindsay Hollister is Blubberella in this shot for shot spoof of “Bloodrayne: The Third Reich.” Featuring the exact same cast with new dialogue that was intended to be humorous, but is more forced and awkward. With the exception of Clint Howard, who’s character randomly sings show tunes, this was pretty much a train wreck. The movie transitions back and forth between WWII and Blubberella’s home as if it were the set of Cribs.
This is the dregs, empty old unwashed cups of something you drank last week!
Franchise as a Whole
The musical score and cinematography are consistently decent throughout the franchise. The over emphasis on the actors trying to hold their accents was consistently ridiculous, especially when combined with the fact that modern language was used throughout.
If you like the video games and are curious about the movies, I’m sure you can find something enjoyable in them. Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t bother to watch anything past the first movie of this franchise. The entire franchise, I give 1 shot-of-your-choice.