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Reviewed by Andrew Kozma, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   Uwe Boll (director)
Genre:   Videogame "movie"
Released:   January 6, 2006
Review Date:   January 12, 2006
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   3/10 (What Is This?)

First, a relevant quote from Uwe Boll: "If people liked Dances With Wolves or Braveheart, they'll like [Dungeon Siege.]"

Have you seen the Dungeon Siege movie preview? [Warning: really large download.]

Burt Reynolds as the king. I mean, the King. Hysterical, if only Elvis was fighting goblins in sequined armor. And that would mean at least we'd have Bruce Campbell.

You may be wondering why this review hasn't yet mentioned the movie it's supposed to be reviewing. There's a very good reason for that.

I'm interested in finding out what makes Uwe Boll the go-to guy for video game movies.

Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil were the best video game movies, in my opinion, one because it had a sense of humor about being a film based on a fighting game (thank you, Christopher Lambert), and the other because it essentially made a regular horror/zombie movie, using the video game origins as flavoring rather than as the meal. What works about both of the above movies is that they take themselves seriously as movies.

No, really, come on, stop laughing.

When you compare those movies to Boll's Bloodrayne or House of the Dead (I'll take Gary Mitchel's word for Alone in the Dark) it is obvious that the former are cinematic entertainments while the latter are just glorified video game cutscenes.

What about House of the Dead inspired producers to pour money into Boll's coffers? I can only hope that after the Dungeon Siege movie, the industry will come to its senses and just make a video game about Uwe Boll making movies about video games. At the essential plot twist, when Boll turns into a zombie, you get to smack him over the head with a movie camera.

Well, if nothing else, Boll provides a running gig for Will Sanderson, who was in Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead as well. In BloodRayne, Sanderson plays Domastir, a villain who might or might not be a vampire. (This confusion has nothing to do with the mystery of the movie, but simply shoddy directing, witless editing, and crappy writing. Guinevere Turner, "writer" of BloodRayne, here's your credit. May you live in infamy.) Strangely, Sanderson is one of the only actors to come out of this movie with dignity, and actually does a decent job of acting. The rest, well . . . better put them out of their misery by avoiding the theater. Although Billy Zane does a decent job, or is at least entertaining, mostly because it seems he can't believe he's in this movie. Ah, Billy, Billy, what has brought you so low?

Kristanna Loken (Rayne) is beautiful and speaks clearly, but seems a Milla Jovovich stand-in. She appears to be cast mainly for a long sex scene with Matt Davis (Sebastian), which is sparked when they connect at both having lost parents to vampires. This is what character development is made of.

I love watching bad movies. I especially like watching bad movies in the theater, because I'm always amazed at how they snuck in there. But this? The movie had a lot of money, some amazing equipment (there are a lot of beautiful shots), some name actors (Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez), but no one behind the camera.

At least, I wish that was the case. When the final fight scene involves cuts in the action that seem like your computer's frame rate just dropped to one picture a second, and this was done on purpose, there's a problem. Boll tends to throw in visual effects to no purpose except to spur epileptic fits.

And while I'm having a fit, what's with the vampires in this movie? Why are people afraid of them? Apparently being a vampire means nothing except you live forever unless you go out in the sun, wear a cross, touch water, or someone kills you. No strength, no transformations (except into ugliness, a la Buffy), no magnetism, no nothing except a bad sense of style that is apparently genetic, since Rayne shares it.

For his next video game to movie project, Boll should tackle a real cinematic challenge like, say, Gauntlet.

RevSF Assistant Film Editor Andrew Kozma is a video game writing reviews about movies. TILT! TILT! Boll has shot the movie!

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