Bloodrayne: The Third Reich
by Jason Coffman
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Well, three movies in and Uwe Boll finally manages to get to the part of the Bloodrayne story that video gamers played the marginally popular first game for in the first place. 2002’s Bloodrayne game featured a busty female vampire fighting Nazis. The first two films in what has become an epic trilogy dealt with this busty female vampire in Medieval Europe and then in the Old West. Nearly a decade after game was released, Bloodrayne fans finally get the story they’ve probably been most interested in seeing all along. The wait was definitely not worth it.
Rayne (Natassia Malthe) is a bisexual half-human half-vampire Nazi killing machine aiding Resistance forces on the Eastern front between vampire hunts. As the film opens, she accidentally turns Nazi officer Commandant Ekart Brand (Michael Paré) into a vampire during a (mostly) competently staged train siege. The Resistance frees a train of prisoners headed to a concentration camp but leaves Brand behind to become the worst kind of enemy: a Nazi vampire! Soon he’s being studied by mad scientist Dr. Mangler (Clint Howard— yes, Clint Howard) and plans are underway to turn Hitler himself into an immortal bloodsucker.
Most of this information is up for the viewer to dig out of mountains of ludicrous dialogue delivered at blistering speeds. The Third Reich clocks in at a slim 79 minutes, including 7 full minutes of end credits and two utterly gratuitous sex scenes. Clint Howard chews up and spits out every scene in his typical manner, while Paré just looks sort of bored and Malthe spends the entire film baring more cleavage than one would think appropriate for clothes worn on the battlefield. Her voiceover is flat and completely void of affect, which sort of suits the film just fine— she sounds like she’s trying to spit out a barely-remembered short story, which the film resembles more than a little.
The effects are decent, and some of the CG blood is fairly indistinguishable from the practical effects. This and the star power of Clint Howard and Michael Paré are probably where the majority of the film’s budget went, and on that level The Third Reich does deliver some mildly entertaining fight scenes of Rayne slicing and dicing Nazi vampires. However, as the film barrels along from one fight to the next, nothing makes much of an impression and the whole affair is utterly forgettable. Uwe Boll may get saddled in the press with Ed Wood comparisons, but that doesn’t hold up— while Wood was clearly in it for the love of the films, as ridiculous and insane as they were, Boll obviously seems to have more clearly mercenary objectives. Bloodrayne: The Third Reich ticks off the boxes in a list of what fans would want to see and then abruptly ends, leaving the door wide open for a sequel or maybe a SyFy original series. Well played, Mr. Boll.
Phase 4 Films releases Bloodrayne: The Third Reich on DVD and Blu-ray on 5 July 2011. Special features include a digital copy of the film, behind-the-scenes featurettes and a filmmaker commentary track.
Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He writes reviews for Film Monthly and “The Crown International Files” for Criticplanet.org as well as contributing to Fine Print Magazine (www.fineprintmag.net).
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