Bloodrayne: The Third Reich is an Uwe Boll movie.

Some might suggest I could just end the review right there, but I don’t know…I guess this is the part where I admit I don’t really have anything against Boll. It’s not that I think he’s a great filmmaker or anything (I’m not crazy), but at the same time I DO take umbrage with the commonly accepted belief that he is THE worst director out there. As someone who has watched A LOT of intolerable films during a weekly “Shitty Movie Night” with friends, I can definitely say that Boll is far from cinema’s worst offender. Heck, the very fact that he can competently frame a shot and stage somewhat – SOMEWHAT – decent action scenes absolves him of that title. And occasionally – usually during his more “serious” films like Tunnel Rats or Darfur – you can even catch glimpses of some real, genuine talent peeking out.  Hey, I said glimpses.

So where do the overly harsh opinions of Boll come from? Well, to be sure, most of his movies certainly aren’t very good, but I think it has more to do with his gleefully antagonistic, critic-bashing (literally) attitude than it does his skills. But it’s actually that attitude that kind of makes me like the guy. He seems to perfectly understand his place in the world, and doesn’t feel any shame in cranking out endless video-game adaptations that aren’t trying to be anything more than 90 or so minutes of dumb fun. And as someone with a love of stupid B-movies, I can’t help but respect that. In fact, I’m often dumbfounded as to how Boll is often viewed with such contempt by the same hipster audience who treat Ed Wood like some sort of misunderstood genius.

But I digress. Bloodrayne: The Third Reich is the third(!) film in the director’s now-signature series, and the first to finally catch up to the time-period of the video-game on which it’s based. So after detours in medieval times and the Wild West, we finally get to see half-human, half-vampire ass-kicker Rayne battling Nazi’s in WWII Germany. Unfortunately for her, she accidentally turns a Nazi commandant into a day-walker like her (as is known to happen), and soon the now super-powered Nazi has teamed up with an insane Nazi doctor (played by the great Clint Howard, eagerly chewing scenery like only Clint Howard can) to enact a plan to turn Hitler himself into a vampire. Though a loner by nature, Rayne has no choice but to team with a band of resistance fighters (whose nationalities I can’t quite be certain of due to the inconsistent accents of the actors) to wipe out the bad guys.

If you’re going to talk about a Bloodrayne movie, I guess you should talk about Bloodrayne herself, so let’s get that out of the way. This is Natassia Malthe’s second outing as the title character (after taking over in the last film from the original movie’s Kristanna Lokken), and this time around she apparently couldn’t even be bothered to dye her hair red to look like the video-game version (instead she has jet-black hair with red highlighted tips). Beyond that detail, Malthe’s too-feminine voice and lack of range leaves quite a bit to be desired when asked to accept Rayne as an ultimate bad-ass warrior. But, for this sort of film, I suppose the fact that she’s hot and looks great in her bosom-showcasing outfit is what’s most important, as is her willingness to bare all in a couple wildly out-of-place sex scenes (including a gleefully exploitative girl-on-girl scene). How can I criticize her after that?

In terms of “it is what it is,” the movie actually does have some things going for it, not the least of which is the short running-time. But, even beyond that, there’s some fun stuff here. With its vampire-Nazi’s, amateurish acting, abundant gore (most of which looks thankfully practical and not CGI) and ample amounts of nudity, Bloodrayne: The Third Reich wouldn’t feel out of place playing 42nd Street during the glory days of trash-cinema in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. And that’s exactly what this is – trash. But, in the right mindset, it’s at least enjoyable trash. And really, you wouldn’t bother watching the third Bloodrayne film from Uwe Boll unless you were actively looking for enjoyable trash, so at least it does have that going for it. That might sound like a faint compliment, but believe me, I’ve seen a lot of movies try to go for that “cheesy fun exploitation” vibe and fail miserably (including Boll’s own insufferably boring Bloodrayne 2, which this film is a vast improvement on). This isn’t the sort of thing you put on when you want to watch a good movie, but if you’re just looking for a quick goof and are willing to take the movie at face value and laugh with it, you can have some fun with this one. If nothing else, you should get some amusement out of Howard’s over-the-top performance AND the most hilariously anticlimactic dispatching of a main villain since Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

 

 

This review was originally posted at Trevor Likes Movies on September 21st, 2011.

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