Plot: What’s it about?
Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is an attraction with a circus troupe, paraded as a freak, as if she isn’t a human, just a novelty piece. She is indeed human however, but only half human and her other half is much darker, as she is part vampire. Her life hasn’t always been like this, but when an evil vampire named Kagan (Ben Kingsley) killed her mother, she was doomed to this existence. Or at least she was, until her vampiric side was unleashed and she escaped her captive state, leaving blood and destruction in her wake. She is only able to take respite in a holy place, but there she meets a kind monk and learns more about Kagan. She discovers that some mystic talismans are sought after by Kagan, one of which she is given by this monk. After she leaves, she soon bands up with a group of vampire hunters, with Vladimir (Michael Madsen) at the lead. The group is hesitant, but Rayne is able to prove her intentions are pure, so she is taken in. She begins to train and takes to the hunt like a natural, which draws her closer to Sebastian (Matthew Davis), but sparks a jealous streak in Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez). Soon enough, the group must venture to Kagan’s location and fight the battle on his own ground, but can this group overcome the pure evil that awaits?
As a fan of the Bloodrayne video games, I was intrigued by the news of a feature film, until I learned who would direct the production. Yes, infamous hack Uwe Boll, who butchered House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark was somehow handed Bloodrayne, which was terrible news. So much so that I skipped the film in theaters, but I wasn’t afraid to screen the result on home video. Is Bloodrayne as miserable as Boll’s previous botches, or would this prove he has at least a drop or two of talent? As I expected no entertainment value, based on Boll’s previous work, I found my expectations exceeded here. I was disappointed by how far off track the film goes, as it doesn’t make much of an effort to be true to the video game, but for bad movies, this one is fun. One reason I liked this movie as much as I did was the gore effects. I dislike the computer generated blood & grue seen in so many films, so it was nice to see more practical gore on showcase. There is still some CG used, but not as much as usual, so that was a welcome change of pace. Add in the lead temptress Kristanna Loken, who isn’t shy about her naked body and wham, we have solid schlock. This is a bad movie, no doubt about, but thanks to the gore and hot lead, Bloodrayne earns a recommendation for genre fans. But make sure you snatch the unrated director’s cut, as it has more of the flesh & blood added in.
Video: How does it look?
Bloodrayne is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. You can tell this wasn’t made on the same scale as the blockbusters of the world, but the transfer still looks good. The print is in good condition, but for a film this new, I wouldn’t have expected grain to present. There is some grain here however, though not enough to spoil the experience. I found colors to be natural in scope, which is good in most cases, but sometimes, it seemed as though the hues needed a boost. No complaints as far as contrast, as black levels were consistent throughout. This just isn’t as slick and crisp as I had expected, probably due to budget constraints. Even so, I have to knock the score a little, as this should have looked better.
Audio: How does it sound?
The case has a DTS logo, but there is no DTS soundtrack, just a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, though it is more than solid. Just as I expected more from the video however, I wound up left with the feeling that the audio could have been improved as well. The action scenes have presence, but lack the amount of power I wanted. As a result, those sequences come off a little flat, which can lessen the overall impact. I also found the dialogue to have an odd sound at times, but that could have been my home theater, not this soundtrack. In most instances, this track comes through well, with well placed sound effects and clear dialogue, just a few scenes needed a little more punch. This release also includes subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As if we really wanted or needed his thoughts, we have Uwe Boll on audio commentary here, joined by several cast and crew members. Boll proves he is ignorant about the source material and also shows how insane he is, as he praises his work as if he is Fellini. The others are less serious and even poke fun at the film sometimes, so not all is lost. This release also includes two behind the scenes featurettes, some storyboards, and the film’s theatrical trailer. The second disc has the complete Bloodrayne 2 game for the computer, which is cool, but if you like the game, you probably own it by now.