Turning a video game into a feature film is often a daunting task. With a large built in audience, gamers tend to be very picky over film adaptations and agitate very easily over even the slightest deviation from the source material.
Often in games, storylines are kept to the basic elements in order to keep the action flowing, unhindered by dialogue, character development, and plot twists as the notion is that gamers want action and will become bored if they have to wait through the elements listed above.
It is ironic that in films bases on games, the paring down of plot and characters in favor of a more linear setup and action often draws the wrath of critics and gamers for doing what game makers have been doing for years, letting gamers get to the goods.
In the new film Bloodrayne based on the hit game series of the same name by Majesco, Director Uwe Boll has crafted a film that explores the how and whys of the game series, focusing on the origins of the title character Rayne (Kristanna Loken), who toils as the half-human, half-vampire Dhampir in remote 18th century Romania as a freak in a traveling circus. Here ability to be burned by water yet healed by the blood of animals is a big drawing card to the circus, who has no problem exploiting her only to lock her in an animal cage when the show is over.
Unknown to Rayne, her fate is about to become entwined with a man named Vladamir (Michael Madsen), a vampire hunter and member of a secret society dedicated to eliminating the threat they pose. It is learned that the land is under the control of a powerful vampire named Kagan (Ben Kinglsey), who is seeking to locate and reunite three vampire relics in an effort to gain absolute power.
In time Rayne is brought into the order that sees her as a tool for fighting back the ever increasing army of Kagan. This movie is not met well by certain members of the group, especially Katarin (Michelle Rodriquez), who is not certain that bringing a person who is part vampire into their midst is a good idea.
Despite rising tensions and a steamy attraction to a hunter named Sebastian (Matt Davis), Rayne soon finds herself part of the group and firmly matched up against Kagan and his minions with the fate of the world in the balance.
While the film has some issues such as a thin plot and at times stiff acting and basic dialogue it is a marked improvement for Boll who has received harsh criticisms of his past works. Bloodrayne blends exotic visuals with classic gothic touches in a manner that compliments the material and is never heavy handed. The action scenes while gory are engaging and abundant, especially the inclusion of so called Boss battles that are common in video games.
While Bloodrayne has its blemishes, the film has its moments and is not nearly as bad as several unfair mean spirited campaigns against it and Boll have suggested. I have seen far worse films in the last 6 months such as The Cave Into the Blue and Bewitched to name a few. As vampire films go, Bloodrayne is better than most of the horror offerings we have been inundated with in recent years less we forget Wrong Turn and House of Wax
3 stars out of 5.
Gareth Von Kallenbach
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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