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House of the Dead (2003)
A good 'bad' movie
Some say that making a video game into a movie premise is simply not possible. Video games just have a harder time since A) Nothing has changed peoples minds about the issue about video game movies being trashy throw away entertainment and B) Video game movies thus far HAVE primarily been trashy, throw-away entertainment. But look what else has been turned into movies successfully: Pirates of the Caribbean (a theme park ride), Transformers (a line of toys), Alvin & the Chipmunks (a high pitch vocals singing Christmas songs), etc... Whether you liked the films or not, these examples have all been commercially successful, meaning that, with enough ingenuity and a good writer(s), ANYTHING can be turned into a 'successful' movie. Maybe video game movies have just doing something wrong all these years...
'House of the Dead' first of what has been (and is sure to be) the rocky marriage between video game movies and filmmaker Uwe Boll. Based on a rail-shooter (where the movements and directions are predetermined by the game, all you have to do is point and fire), 'House of the Dead' is not a particularly deep game to begin with. The premise of the video games is typically a detective looking for someone, fighting their way through hordes of the undead and the undead's friends. Mr. Boll's film is about teenagers going to a rave and eventually find themselves fighting an zombies. Rather than using an original idea, Boll and the writers go for a well-worn, tried and true 'horny and stupid teenagers up to no good, find selves in supernatural trouble' path. Everyone in the film is a stereotype, and the actors know it. In the first two minutes upon character introductions, you can tell who lives and who dies. The premise, though over used, works for the film, in a super trashy way.
The parts only equal the whole in the film, because most of the parts are so small compared to the glue which holds them altogether; the jaw droppingly inane, over the top action sequences. Yes, the movie is missing direction, acting is sub-pare, and special effects are hilariously bad. But it all works! The movie has recently been re-released as a 'funny' version of the movie. I have yet to view it, but there is nothing as charming as the original film: it takes itself seriously and is completely UNself-aware. For 90 minutes of brisk 'bad' movie fun, you can do a lot worse, but a viewing with a few friends, it could be one for the ages.
Not quite offensive, but not a cult classic either
The tag line for the movie states "Some comedies go too far... others start there." This is an ironic statement from a film can not manage to be as offensive as it wants to be.
'Postal' is film light on plot but big on concept, which is fine. But what kills the the potential fun of 'Postal' is the concepts have all been done before... and better. The film aims to offend right away with a scene inside the cockpit of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. The scene is head scratchingly unfunny since it feels like we have heard all the jokes before (i.e. terrorists are talking about 'how many virgins they will get in heaven'). Had this film come out several years ago, it might have had a chance at comedic value and relevance. 'Postal' feels like a bad student film; starved for attention and willing to do anything so that people might look at it.
'Postal' throws everything at the wall in hopes that SOMETHING will stick: penis jokes, terrorist jokes, George Bush jokes, racist jokes, etc... you get the idea. Mr. Boll himself has referred to 'Postal' as a modernization of 'Doctor Strangelove'. Where as 'Strangelove' dealt with issues of the late 1950's-early 1960's with a much more sly and alarming manner, 'Postal' takes aim at everything from 2000 onward by preaching to the audience. Mr. Boll claims in his DVD commentary that many of the issues in the movie, he feels, are ones people need to get over (most predominately, September 11, 2001), but does not seem to make anything as laughable as his attempt to satirize, well, anything.
Maybe Mr. Boll is right. Maybe we really do need to start laughing at those things around us or maybe we do need to look at our current situation a little closer. But I do know that we cannot approach anything with as much disdain and contempt for everything as Mr. Boll has.
He is really trying hard this time
In the last 5 or so years, we have seen the rise of the 'torture porn' sub-genre, films that focus purely on the events (the torture) over the death of a victim themselves. Since this sub-genera was started in the halls of ultra low budget film-making, it seemed only natural that many filmmakers got in on the action.
Mr. Boll is one of them.
Seed half feels like it wants to be made in the 1980, along with one of the many low budget slasher films that came out in hordes during the decade. If this is intentional and paying homage to this time period, than it half succeeds, if it is done unintentionally, than it feels like Mr. Boll has never watched a single 'Friday the 13'. 'Seed' could have almost been successful had it been shorter and more to the point. Instead, the film drags for the first fifty or so minutes, and when people start dying, it is too little, too late. Perhaps the film would work better as a 'Masters of Horror' episode, or even just a short film, but instead, it feel padded simply to reach a ninety minute mark.
The film takes place in the early 1980s, once again, a decade which I am curious if Mr. Boll has watched a movie out of or even lived through. Mr. Boll and his design team's idea of the 1980s is large sideburns, tweed jackets, and ugly wall paper. Realistically, the film could have taken place any year after 1968, and it truly would not have made a difference to the story.
According to IMDb, 'Seed' was filmed back to back with Mr. Boll's other overly long and seen-it-all-before 'Postal'. It would make sense that these two films were filmed simultaneously, 'Seed''s direction feels lazy and tired, nothing more than letting the actors do what that do best in an Uwe Boll film, which is embarrass themselves in front of the camera for all to see.
What could have been a good time is mauled by being long in the tooth, half-baked, and just bored with itself.
(P.S. Look at the front and back of the 'Seed' DVD. Notice the girl? She is not in the movie. At all. This is not a spoiler, just faults advertising.)
BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007)
The worst kind of 'bad film'
Quick synopsis: In order for Rayne to save a town from a now-vampired Billy the Kid, she must recruit the help of several vampire hunters.
I will admit, I have seen and own all of Boll's films. Contrary to what many people say, they are great 'bad' movies. 'House of the Dead', 'Alone in the Dark', and 'Bloodrayne' are all assignments in being completely over the top, taught by a man who cannot love himself more and does not understand the material he is working with either.
This may be why all of these films were the best comedies of the year when they came out.
With that said, I was looking forward to 'Bloodrayne 2' assuming that it would be more of the same 'bad movie' fun. What I found instead was a movie that seem like nobody cared what they were making or what was going on. Typically in Boll's other films, he painstaking rips off concepts and ideas from other films for his films, recreating them to the fullest extent of his typical low budget. Thus the disappointment in finding no insane interpretations of a better western's set pieces, shoot-outs, or blood letting.
Just a bunch of plastic vampire teeth and Karo syrup. Thats it.
'Bloodrayne 2' is the worst kind of 'bad film' because it is boring. There is nothing even remotely fun or inventive with in the 90 minutes, just some boring and uninteresting people doing some boring and uninteresting things. No over the top violence or fight scenes; just someone's poor interpretation of what a western must be like, never having seen a single film from that genre, just the Loony Toons parodies of them.
Yet, since 'Bloodrayne 2' aims for nothing the entire time, it is probably fair to say that by beginning, doing nothing, and ending, it has hit the mark. A complete bull's eye.