BloodRayne: The Third Reich

BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011): Uwe Boll

I saw this title on Showtime and immediately recorded it. I didn’t know a thing about it, except that Nazi movies are always fun. You know you’re going to get Nazis doing evil things, and the crazier they are the better the movie.

I should have stopped during the endless opening credits, because when one says “AND Clint Howard,” it’s time to quit. But I didn’t. I stayed for a sexual splatterfest tinged with National Socialism.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Rayne, a super vampire, finds herself in Eastern Europe, Nazi hunting/getting laid.

Hero (4/10)

Damphyr Rayne (Natassia Malthe) is a half-human, half-vampire, whose mother was “raped several times” by her father. The introduction implies that Rayne was a child watching her mother turned into a vampire. I’ve heard of diseases passing from mother to child, but not after they’re born.

The film opens with a montage of the Nazi scourge of Europe and a voiceover by Rayne. “The man’s dark soldiers spread across the continent, raping and murdering, butchering millions.” What man is this? He is similar to Rayne’s father: Hitler. The voiceover informs the viewer of Rayne’s hatred for Nazis, which we need, because we could believe that vampires would love being Nazis.

Rayne never feels cold, because she leaves exposed her décolletage in the wintery eastern wastes. When she isn’t dressed like a courtesan she’s, uh, she’s having sex. Because she’s always dressed like a courtesan. Perhaps this is a distractive technique. When not getting laid–and she gets laid a lot–she’s angry, and especially at Nazis. Whatever she’s doing, it’s with a scowl.

No one in the Reich can match Rayne’s fighting skills. Swords, guns, planks, rocks: these weapons and more she uses to hurt or slay Nazi scumbags. She hates Nazis because Hitler reminds her of her father, the mother-slaying father I mentioned before.

Rayne works on her own, she claims, but Nathanial Gregor, leader of the local resistance in occupied Soviet Europe, has her a little head over heels. You can’t tell from her facial expressions, but only because she keeps finding ways to be around him.

Rayne starts the movie kicking ass, and she finishes the movie about to kick ass. I don’t think she learned anything or changed in any way. But do we want her to change?

Villain (3/10)

Commandant Ekart Brand, presumably a highly ranked commander in the region, dies in the first scene. Rayne shish-kebabs him with rebar as she’s shot from behind by a Nazi stooge. Her blood gets on Brand. Next thing you know, he’s playing chess (with Nazi pieces). He learns he can tolerate sunlight. His eyes turn to black in a later scene. He became a vampire the hard way.

His vampirism gives him an idea: to immortalize the Führer with Rayne’s blood. It’s a good idea, and one he pursues with total clarity. He vampires (to verb a noun) a soldier just so he can effectively track the Damphyr for his purposes.

But Brand might simply be hungry for blood. When a whore brings him news of Rayne’s presence at a local bordello, he thanks her by sucking her blood. He also says things like “I am now the trick personified, that has been played upon the gods.” A Yoda streak in this one there is.

He doesn’t get much of a final battle with Rayne, which is hardly his fault and more the fault of the filmmakers. Brand can hold megalomaniacal views like the best and most dedicated Nazis.

Action/Effects (2/10)

Rayne allies with the local resistance group, led by Nathaniel Gregor and his code breaking team. Rayne and Gregor often work together, until the Nazis learn of their location.

The Nazis kill most of the Russian resistance fighters. Nathaniel and some of his buddies survive, and they decide to raid the train depot to get their codebreaker back. The Commandant has her there, but only as bait to capture Rayne. It’s a pretty good plan, from the Nazi perspective.

Rayne first attacks by knifing five guys with a knife she taped to her arm. One guy was pissing. Reliving yourself? There’s no relief in war. They fine the codebreaker. She’s been turned. Suddenly a Nazi vampire brigade descends on them, and though they kill many of them with a “shoot the glass” moment, Rayne and Gregor are captured and transported toward Berlin.

The blood work in Reich probably soaked up most of the budget. Through slashing, biting, and beheadings, many people and vampires erupt in blood. Brand bites Rayne in her arm for a little snack, and the blood oozes from her bite wounds, despite her having spent the previous hour being drained for science reasons. One Nazi is slashed by Rayne in the stomach, and he looks down to find his intestines falling out. He didn’t make it.

The best thing I can say for the movie is that its fake blood was as thick as the film was thin.

Sidekicks (3/8)

Nathaniel Gregor (Brendan Fletcher) heads a rag tag group of Russians fighting the Nazi juggernaut. He is a practical man, but one of passion, anger, and a love for shedding Nazi blood. Luckily for him, Russia is at war with Nazi Germany, and he is just the man for the job. He meets Rayne when they both attack the concentration camp transport train.

Fletcher was movie’s best actor. He really seems invested in the resistance stopping the Nazis. When his best codebreaker is captured, the despair is palpable. Unfortunately he wears a silly looking beanie.

Henchmen (1/8)

Ah, Clint Howard. Few brothers in history have risen as highly on the wings of their more successful brothers from the same or other mothers. Philip III of Macedon, Joseph Bonaparte, and all three Lesser Baldwins deserve a mention, but Clint Howard might take the cake (wreck). He appears early in the film, grisly operating on a still-breathing vampire inside a Nazi concentration camp.

Howard plays Dr. Mangler. No joke. That’s his name, and he lives up to it with the vampire by “testing its resiliency” in cutting off its ear. Mangler, when not covered in bloody scrubs from his lab, changes into less bloody lab coats to meet with greater Nazi figures.

Mangler, for better or worse, steals the movie. Here are some things he says. “Times they are a-changing, Gypsy.” Mangler is a Dylan fan. “The world is our oyster.” Mangler is a Shakespeare fan. “You’ve jettisoned your human foibles. Your mortal coil.” [shakes head]

Mangler steps into a cage with a vampire prostitute to see if she will vanquish her sexual urges. She attacks him, but he’s ready, scouring her with holy water and staking her dead. The only thing Howard slaughters worse than vamps? A German accent. One pity point for being Clint Howard.

Stunts (1/6)

Rayne’s weapon of choice is a short sword. Two of them. In one scene, Our Hero leaves her Russian friends and walks the cobbled streets, which are deserted, except for two vampires walking her way. Watch out, Rayne! Oh, she sees them. Good. But they each have two short swords. What will Rayne do? She swipes at them a few times. They swipe back. The tussle ends about a minute later when she slashes one in the back and the other in the face and walks away. Uh, Rayne, don’t you know that won’t kill them? Do you not care?

Third Reich offers much hand-to-hand combat, but the bursts are quick. The camera cuts many more times than the blades on film. Rayne slashes a lot of Nazis, but rarely are such cuts seen. The camera too often turns from Rayne with her blades drawn back to a trail of blood from her victim. We don’t see the hit. We can only assume it.

Climax (2/6)

Rayne and Gregor are captured. They are placed on a truck driving to Berlin to infect Hitler with Rayne’s superblood. It’s unclear why they brought Gregor, but they did.

Despite the Nazi attack, the resistance endures. Gregor’s underlings launch a desperate attack on the convoy on a snowy road. “If they reach the pass, they reach Berlin,” says a sniper. Rayne and Gregor spend their last free moments alone engaging in Blitzkrieg mit dem fleischgewehr. (You should look it up.)

A sniper sets up across from the road. She fires one perfect shot that splatters the lead truck driver’s head inside the cab and the windshield. Dynamite placed beside the choke point explodes simultaneously. Luckily, Rayne and Gregor have redressed and are ready to fight. The trucks stop and soldiers converge on the traffic jam to fight.

Rayne grabs a broken piece of wood and smashes a few Nazis. Gregor finds a weapon and guns down four Nazis from behind. He attacks Brand, but is thrown away like paper trash.

Brand drinks a vial of Rayne’s blood meant for Das Führer, and his veins pulse through his face with power, an instance of power literally going to one’s head. He adopts a demon-like deep timbre to his voice, but he’s still a Nazi buffoon. He says, “I am power incarnate!” and then Rayne kicks him from behind and he goes Whawp like a cartoon villain.

Dr. Mangler flees the battle with the remainder of the blood, but the sniper shoots him in the back. He throws his hands up, cries out, and falls with a silent film pastiche. You can almost hear him utter a Wilhelm scream.

Rayne knocks Brand to the ground, picks up a rock, and smashes his head into goo.

If you think that was the movie’s climax, you’re wrong. The movie cuts to a montage of nighttime artillery barrages and stock footage of soldiers. Which soldiers? We can’t say.

The movie returns to show a truck driving into Mangler’s concentration camp. The back of the truck opens to reveal Rayne and the surviving resistance fighters armed and ready to kill. Rayne says, “Guten tag, mother fuckers.” Cue guitar. Roll credits. THAT’S how you end a movie.

Jokes (0/4)

Ball grabs, whore jokes, Shakespeare quotes: Third Reich has all the joke types you need. Clint Howard’s accent is one big joke. Whether he’s in on it I can’t say. He oozes great lines. “Alexander Fleming had his penicillin fungi. I have [Rayne’s blood].” “It’s time to meet Hitler, damphyr.”

The Commandant has a gem of a line, which he might not have known to be funny. A soldier says, “Herr Commandant, I have news of the woman you seek.” Brand says, “I seek many women, my child.”

I laughed a lot at this movie. Yes, “at” the movie. Did Uwe Boll know what he was doing? Did he care? I think he knew what he was bringing to the world, and for that he must suffer. Zero points.

Setting (2/4)

Eastern Europe shines as this movie’s brightest star. The Nazis are entrenched in Soviet territory, all mossy forest and cobbled streets. The land is devoid of people except the characters and the Nazi soldier destined to die. The whole movie feels like a set, despite actually filming in the field. Buildings are old, as we’d expect, and just as decrepit.

The lack of people and definite location allows the viewer to focus on the movie. But why were the streets empty? Only soldiers and characters walked around. The town was merely occupied, not ruined. I suppose the budget for extras did not exist.

The snowy forest where the resistance attacked the Nazi convoy looked so beautiful and real. Pure snow is a great place to spill some blood. The white really makes the blood’s red pop.

Commentary (0/2)

Many Nazis are turned to vampires in this movie. That raises an important question: do vampires feel loyalty? Traditionally they are more animal in their desires. They seek only to prey sexually or literally on humans, and little more.

Most vampires never show any sense of morality, charity, or world-building. Yet, in the movie some Nazi vampires remain loyal to the Commandant. The Commandant still wants to use Rayne’s blood to immortalize Hitler. Is Nazi propaganda so powerful that it overrides vampire instincts?

Offensiveness (0/-2)

Everything seems fine here. Run of the mill offensive Nazi stuff, sure, but let’s move on.

Others

  • I love the large map table in the Commandant’s recovery chamber. It depicts the current Nazi holdings, but instead of any helpful information like ports, airfields, or Panzer division location, the map only shows a great big swastika spanning their land holdings.
  • (1) Unnecessary sex scene.
  • (3) Automatic War bonus.
  • (-3) Just kidding.
  • (-2) The opening credits, displayed on a black screen, are interspersed with shots of a train carrying Jews into a Nazi station. It continues for six minutes and maybe 14 credits, at least twice as long as it should have been. This movie is 79 minutes long. We don’t have time for this!
  • Rayne stops behind enemy lines for a sexy massage in a brothel along the Eastern Front. How does a brothel still have silk robes and massage oil in the midst of war? She pauses her massage to beat up a Nazi who is beating up a prostitute. Then, as a thank you, she gets a free, uh, session, from a different prostitute.
  • Brand wants Rayne caught for her blood. He has his goons search the town for her, and eventually he learns she is in the bordello. When the Commandant arrives to capture Rayne, his men start shooting when she flees. He screams for them to capture her alive, but wouldn’t he have said this already? It’s the one thing that was important, essential, to the mission.
Summary (17/68): 25%

Blood Rayne: Third Reich mixes vampires, sex, Nazis, crazy experiments, pristine uniforms, and concentration camps. Just enough verisimilitude to add true horrors to imagined ones.

Still, it sucks.