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DVD Review: Bloodrayne – The Third Reich

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Once again, master b-movie craftsman Uwe Boll has managed to take all of the wrong ingredients and sculpt something utterly incredible out of them. Bloodrayne: The Third Reich — the latest in a franchise most people would just assume forget about — continues the story of Rayne (played by Natassia Malthe, reprising her role from BloodRayne II: Deliverance), the half-vampire (or, “Dhampir,” if you will) beauty that normally occupies her time by killing vampires.

This time ‘round, however, our heroine Rayne is killing Nazis as well. The setting is Europe, 1943. Der Führer’s men are everywhere, intent on living up to their demented commander’s plan to conquer the world. Their goal comes that much further to completion once Rayne interferes in their day-to-day program of wanton executions and in-general badness after a bit of her blood accidentally mixes with that of a Nazi officer Brand (Michael Paré, who has been in the entire BloodRayne series albeit in different roles) — turning him into a Dhampir as well.

As his lust for power increases, Brand’s cohort, a vicious SS doctor named Mangler (Clint Howard), experiments with various vampire critters in order to produce a serum that will make Hitler immortal. Meanwhile, Rayne works with a group of resistance fighters (led by Brendan Fletcher), leading to an explosive finale full of gunplay, things going boom, Nazis being killed and lots of variants on the word “fuck” (the screenwriter is a huge Tarantino admirer, no doubt).

Naturally, producer/director throws in some gratuitous nudity (including a memorable moment with Malthe and another buxomy Euro actress) to make things interesting. But it’s the interesting cast here that really makes this admittedly-corny production so utterly incredible.

Let’s begin with said corniness. Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Uwe Boll makes movies just to make movies — and his unique, on-the-fly method of filmmaking can easily be mistaken for ignorance or inattentiveness. In Bloodrayne: The Third Reich, Boll’s shots possess all of the grace and artistry that which an entire film comprised of rehearsal takes would enjoy. The actors — people who damn well know they are not going to be receiving any award nominations for their parts here — put in minimal efforts; some don’t even bother with accents, while others appear to have trouble even remembering what an accent is.

And this is as good a time as any to bring up Clint Howard’s performance. Boasting a peculiar dialect that is so far-removed from anything remotely resembling German that it doesn’t even touch upon a brogue from this known universe (imagine if Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto decided to impersonate Cheech Marin, and drew his inspiration from Bud Jamison in The Three Stooges short, Dutiful But Dumb), Howard hams it up to the nth degree here, embracing every opportunity to actually step into the limelight as someone other than an extra for a change.

Then there’s Michael Paré: the once-promising actor who seems to have accepted his lot in life as a b-movie actor. Honestly, I hold a great amount of respect for Paré (well, perhaps just a bit), so it’s kind of hard to see him in these low-budget gems. There are times wherein one wonders if his on-screen sadism isn’t a way for him to vent over where his career is presently at.

At the same time, however, Michael Paré’s wholly out-of-place performance is just one of the many delights to be found in Bloodrayne: The Third Reich. His scenes with Clint Howard are nothing short of pure genius, taking viewers who have the required taste for bad movies to new heights. Now add to that some bad CGI, copious amounts of nudity, lots of blood, dialogue that even Michael Bay couldn’t get away with and a dream sequence involving a vampiric Adolf Hitler, and you have a true guilty pleasure. Sure, it’s awful, but that’s what makes it enjoyable.

Boll, you’ve broken the Goofy Meter again!

Phase 4 Films unleashes the brisk (79min) direct-to-video Bloodrayne: The Third Reich in an Unrated Director’s Cut (!) on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie is presented in an above-average 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack that suffices admirably for what we’re talkin’ ‘bout here. A French 5.1 DD mix is also on-hand, as is an English 2.0 soundtrack. No subtitles are offered, but there are a couple of special features, including an audio commentary with Boll and screenwriter Michael C. Nachoff; a behind-the-scenes featurette featuring most of the cast and crew; an interview with writer Nachoff; trailers for other Phase 4 releases; and a Digital Copy of the film with some releases.

Recommended for people who know what they’re getting into.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.