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Garbage In Smithees Out

A Movie Review of BloodRayne Plus Extras

We watched this movie because Your Friendly Neighborhood Promotions Ninja had one of those moments which might have been divinely inspired but most likely, given the Smithee nature of the thought, was not. One day, I put two and two and two together and realized that Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary was going to be at Penguicon, the Smithee Awards were going to be at Penguicon, Mr. Tayler wrote one of the funniest reviews of BloodRayne we've ever read, Orvan the Ox of ACME Delivery will deliver most any package to any Penguicon guest AND The Earl is the God Emperor of E-Bay. Put these all together and it would surely be a recipe for...awesomeness? Well it was a sure recipe for something anyway.

Oh, wait, I forgot the ants.

The Earl found a sweet deal on a copy of BloodRayne for a smattering of pocket change and the Guru applied his special graphics magic to "personalize" the cover for Howard Tayler. After adding the plastic ants to the inside and arranging with Orvan to deliver the whole kit and kaboodle, my fantastic plan was set. Save that we actually had to watch the movie first because we wanted to see how bad this bad was. I mean, we know from bad movies and the thought of a movie so bad that being bitten by ants would be the better alternative just seemed to beckon. I know, we may have some sort of bad movie psychosis. I say this because BloodRayne, while absolutely not a stellar movie, wasn't bitten by ants bad. Maybe mosquito in the middle of the night that keeps buzzing your ears bad but not quite ants bad. Uwe obviously sunk a lot of money into this production as it has some top notch stars (Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Billy Zane and Meat Loaf (the actor, not the food although you couldn't really tell from the performance)) and the sets and shots were not cheap. In fact, we got several flyover shots a la Lord of the Rings but not as pretty (Romania /= New Zealand for rugged beauty, although it did put in a commendable showing) and you can't rent a helicopter for pocket change. This movie had a lot of potential right from the get go...

...and it just never got up and went. Kristanna Loken is the most solid actor in this film and that's not right. Ben Kingsley looks constipated, Meat Loaf looks bored or preoccupied or both (rumor has it the scene with all the nubile naked chicks was filmed using real Romanian prostitutes because they were cheaper to hire than actresses...perhaps Mr. Loaf was preoccupied) and Mr. Madsen? Phoned in the performance. No wait, phoning in just doesn't describe how bad his acting was...I think he delivered his lines via pony express. I don't blame him though because the script was pretty dull; whenever the movie could tell you about the plot rather than show it to you, it did. With glee. And relish.

My Plot! Let me blather it to you!

Mr. Boll also needs to learn the difference between a lens with a deep focal plane and a lens with an extremely shallow focal plane or he needs to stop listening to his cinematographer's crazy ideas. If an actor leans slightly forward to deliver a line, his or her face should still be in focus. Not so much here and that is NOT how you get artsy jiggy with the camera. Along those lines, I'm glad Mr. Boll was able to afford a helicopter for the aerial shots but that doesn't mean I want to see a whole travel montage of them. And what's with the horses' butts? Butts butts butts WHY??

All that said, we kinda enjoyed the movie after they found a better lens to shoot people with (about a half hour in). The acting was still meh and the plot blather (dear God the plot blather) was annoying but not a deal breaker. Even the stupid ending (oh you may be seeing that one in a future Smithees) was predictably stupid in that "Ho Hum, cliche ending yawn" sort of way which did not prompt us to hurl blunt heavy objects at the screen. Would we see it again? Mmmmmaybe. Would we recommend it for watching? Mmmmmaybe. Will we be looking for BloodRayne II? We plead the fifth on that one.

As to THE PLAN, everything went off a little too perfectly. See, the Guru is really good at what he does so when Mr. Tayler opened the box and found the DVD, he started off on a rant about how bad the movie was and 'People! This is the second copy of BloodRayne I've gotten! Cut! It! Out!' I had to not so surreptitiously shout from the audience "read the review" which the Guru lifted directly from Howard Tayler's blog (along with using pull quotes from the same review "You'll wake up...screaming!") and plopped in the back cover space where the reviews usually go. Howard Tayler grudgingly flipped the DVD over and after a pause said, "Oh. *I* wrote this!" and went on to read the "review". Then, when he opened it up he was surprised and a little amused to find ants.

After the Smithee Awards, we met up with Howard Tayler in the bar and explained that we were the people who gave him his second copy of BloodRayne. His response? "Do you guys watch any good movies?" *chucklesnort*


By the way, Howard Tayler highly recommends "How to Train Your Dragon", which isn't remotely a bad movie at all. Apparently, Mr. Tayler isn't much of a bad movie fan which is OK. That's why we're here.

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