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Half human/half vampire Rayne (Natassia Malthe) returns one hundred years after the first film arriving in the American (well, technically Bulgaria for budgetary reasons) Wild West. Arriving in the town of Deliverance, Rayne discovers her family has been murdered by a gang of cowboys led by a vampiric Billy the Kid (Zack Ward). Teaming up with secret vampire hunter Pat Garret (Michael Paré), Rayne must stop Billy and his gang before they decimate the town.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
Boll returns to DVDActive! The last time the notorious director appeared on these fine pages with In the Name of the King, I caused quite a bit of a negative stir by giving the film a pretty decent review score (possibly one of the best scores on a movie website... oops), and it's safe to say that it didn't go down too well. I still stand by that review, and I still feel that an instant one star review for an Uwe Boll movie is lazy internet journalism. Therefore, I refuse to give Bloodrayne II a single star review, but the truth is it's pretty close to being one.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
For a start, the concept is utterly uninspired. Two films in, and Boll still alienates the film's potential video game fan base by failing to place Rayne in the game's World War II setting, and instead tries to take a 'unique' foray into the vampire cowboy genre, suggesting that Uwe Boll has never been to a video store and seen the box for Sundown or From Dusk Till Dawn 3. It's hard to see why the director chose this era to place Rayne in, as the budget quite simply cannot provide the production value to build a convincing Western town. Also, the idea that Billy the Kid is a vampire and Pat Garrett is a Van Helsing style hunter is a good idea for about three minutes, and then it suddenly dawns on you that the idea is actually outrageously shite.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance  
Although it is clear that Boll has a love of westerns, with decent nods to Leone and Peckinpah, this lacks none of the grandeur that a film of this genre thrives on. Instead of sweeping camera movements and striking masters, Boll has chosen to utilise 'shaky-cam', in the style of Bourne and Saving Private Ryan. This is fine, but the style is not simply used for action sequences, but also for static dialogue. This is incredibly jarring, and badly implemented—the camera jiggles and wobbles around in an incredibly poor manner, suggesting the cameraman was going cold turkey at the time. The film looks incredibly amateurish as a result.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
The odd thing about the film is, the film actually has a competent cast. Although Kristianna Loken is sorely missed as Rayne (a sentence I never thought I'd actually write), the supporting cast are fairly game. Shorn of the former A-list stars that slum their ways though previous Boll films, the actors actually make an effort with this one. Zack Ward certainly makes a better villain than Ben Kingsley did in the first film (Kingsley didn't even bother to phone it in, he simply sent a fax). Michael Eklund is surprisingly high energy as a conman preacher, and gives the film some much needed zip in the last forty-five minutes. Michael Pare isn't outstanding by any means, but he did make me go and watch Streets of Fire again instead of this, so kudos to him for that. If only Nastassia Malthe wasn't a) so god-awful, and b) the lead, things would be almost acceptable.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
Say what you want about the first Bloodrayne, nobody can deny that it had plentiful bloody action. It then comes as quite a surprise that this film has very little action to speak of. The only action sequence to speak of is the climactic showdown, featuring Rayne and a hastily cobbled together Wild Bunch consisting a of a conman priest and a barmy gunslinger. Although this is quite well handled, it's safe to say that the rest of the film is one long, dull slog.

The horror element of the Bloodrayne franchise is incredibly tenuous here, and it's quite obvious that the writers were far too busy trying to ape Deadwood to try to have any link to either the previous movie, or even the genre it existed in. It has to be said, although the film is as incoherent as any other Boll film, particularly the fact that Billy the Kid's evil plan makes so very little sense, there are some decent characters in there, with the corrupt preacher/gunslinger being quite iconic, albeit in concept rather than execution.

Let's be honest, it really doesn’t sound very good, does it? It's unrelentingly cheap and poorly directed, it has none of Boll's eye for decent action sequences, it's got serious pacing issues, and the whole thing feels like a horrid contractual obligation (which it allegedly is). Even by Boll's lowest achievement, House of the Dead this comes out as the loser—for all of its failings, at least HotD was never boring.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
Video
I'm not going to beat around the bush here; this 1.78:1 transfer is absolutely atrocious. For a film that was shot in 2005, the amount of grain evident in the picture is unforgiveable. Although night sequences are not so bad, with decent black levels, daytime sequences are literally teeming with grain. The level of grain brings to mind those old region one Artisan DVDs that were simply VHS transfers. The biggest problem is some serious vertical picture interference in daylight sequences, where any clashing of blacks and whites such as branches against sky or jackets and shirts whilst moving causes a bizarre interlacing effect that makes images seem to ripple. Horrid.

Audio
Considering the picture is so bad, you wonder why the effort was put into creating a DTS track. Although good use is made of the track in the action sequences, with some fairly impressive use of surrounds during gunplay, the smaller scenes suffer from highlighting both on-set bumps, scuffs and poor dialogue, and also the clumsy, dead air ADR that becomes a little suffocating. The 5.1 option is frankly so close to the DTS, one wonders why they bothered. The two channel stereo option is sloppily mixed, with dialogue getting lost somewhat in the balance.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
Extras
Unlike previous Boll commentaries, which are usually packed to the gills with chatter from the man, this one is very odd. There are huge gaps in the track, and Boll seems to be uninterested in talking about the film. Unable to even muster a decent tirade against the Bollbashers, he simply goes quiet around fifteen minutes from the end, and is never heard from again. We can assume Boll is not a fan of this one. The interviews section is fairly long and fairly interesting, but almost unwatchable due to the sound level being far too high, making everybody unintelligible due to a huge tin can buzz muffling peoples’ voices. Having said that, one still raised a smile when Zack Ward said he was ‘better than Ben Kingsley. I kicked Kingsley's ass!’ toward the end. True, but sadly not too hard either. The 'deleted scenes' are nothing of the sort, and are merely extensions of scenes in the movie I was bored with in the first place.

Bloodrayne II: Deliverance
Overall
It has to be said, despite the man's generally poor filmography, this is probably the weakest Boll film yet. It lacks the sheer energy and car-crash watchability of House of the Dead, it has none of the decent action or production design of Alone in the Dark, it's not as slick as ItNotK, it skimps on the action and gore of the first Bloodrayne, and it has the failings of all those films. Recommended only to those who are intolerant to general anaesthetic, and who want an option of something not quite as unpleasant as an epidural.


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