Monday, December 10, 2007
BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE (2007) d. Uwe Boll
Reviewed by Rick Trottier & Mark Nelson
Creating a film that has a foot in two genres simultaneously can end up as a smashing success or a dismal failure. The horror/comedy RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is an example of just how good a dual genre film can be. On the flip side, the action/horror regurgitation BLADE 3 was a train wreck of epic proportions. BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE is able to bridge the gap between vampire/horror films and westerns fairly well. In fact, it is the fusion of these two genres that keeps the film from sinking below general mediocrity.
BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE is the story of Rayne, the half vampire warrior and her quest to hunt down vampires who spread their evil throughout history. This time Rayne is stalking the Old West in search of a vampiric Billy the Kid, whose murderous ways are leaving a trail of blood-drained husks instead of bullet-ridden corpses. To fight Billy the Kid's growing legion, Rayne enlists a small force of pistol-packing cowboys who are willing to sell their lives to stop the carnage.
BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE has a lot wrong with it, but in the end there is enough that is done right to make it enjoyable [passable?]. In his audio commentary, director Uwe Boll admits that the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone were his main inspiration for the western feel of the film, and indeed it is the western elements that are BLOODRAYNE 2's greatest strength. The film was shot in some authentic-looking locations and the sets feel very much like stages right out of THE RIFLEMAN or HIGH CHAPPARRAL. The patient pace of the film coupled with its brooding, Morricone-style music gives BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE a gunfightin', cattle rustlin' feel that helps divert attention from the less than scary vampire elements and unimpressive fight scenes. There is one scene where children are menaced by the villain that is actually pretty effective (bringing to mind similarly perverse scenarios from Euro Westerns of yore), and it is that smattering of successful moments that keeps the viewer coming back for more in this film.
BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE has some very mixed performances. Most of the actors in this film pretty pedestrian or downright miserable, but Natassia Malthe and Michael Pare save the cast from total disaster. Ms. Mathe's performance as Rayne is not stellar, but her dour, smoldering look and equally grim delivery of her lines fits the haunted nature of her character. Sadly, Ms. Malthe cuts a very slender figure as Rayne. One wants the badass girls to be built a little more impressively so that the eye is just as happy as the mind. As Rayne's sidekick Pat Garrett, Michael Pare delivers a workman-like performance as the tough, high plains veteran of the six-shooter wars. Zack Ward's performance as Billy the Kid/vampire is more problematic. His hatchet-thin face and sunken eyes look the part of a centuries-old blood sucker, but his youthful characteristics and unpleasant faux-European accent do not hiss with menace, rather they induce a chuckle. His efforts to make the part work are noteworthy though. It is the rest of the cast whose acting festers like an old boil, most notably Chris Coppola as Newton Pyles, whose every utterance and bug-eyed reaction make you at once want to rip the disc out of the player and summon the spirit of Lou Costello to bitch-slap him into oblivion.
BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE the dvd has an impressive extras menu that consists of an audio commentary by director Uwe Boll (who comes off as a far more intelligent and likable guy than most media accounts would lead you to believe), a digital comic book, extended scenes, deleted scenes, interviews with the director and cast, plus a bonus Bloodrayne Videogame DVD – "The complete Bloodrayne PC Videogame on DVD". All of these goodies make the BLOODRAYNE 2 experience even more interesting, for there is a lot here to sink your teeth into.
Overall BLOODRAYNE 2: DELIVERANCE is truly the definition of the cotton candy film. It does not satisfy the innards properly, but is passably sweet on the lips for a short span. If you go into this film expecting a vampire film that resets all the high expectations of that genre's canon, you will be intensely disappointed. However, if you approach this film like a stick of gum, knowing it will not change your life or the universe, you may find something entertaining about it.