BloodRayne II: Deliverance
Fighting talk - Uwe Boll interview
Ahead of the release of BloodRayne II: Deliverance, Henry Northmore talks to controversial film director Uwe Boll about his latest adaptation
The name Uwe Boll may well strike fear into many a gamer’s heart. The German director is famed for his videogame adaptations, with his myriad of delights to date, including House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and BloodRayne. However, it isn’t just his choice of projects that has made Boll such a controversial figure, it’s the reaction his work has provoked from reviewers and fans. In short, they hate him. Not many directors have three films languishing in the IMDB Bottom 100 or a website (www.stopuweboll.com) dedicated to finishing their career.
The latest Boll title to get a UK release is BloodRayne II: Deliverance, a continuation of the adventures of the titular half human-half vampire. ‘It was the worst shoot ever,’ laughs Boll. ‘It was shit weather and we had to drive in everyday for hours, shooting almost only nights. It was very cold and wet and then, to top it all off, the railway station exploded by accident. We were running away as one gas heater after another exploded. The last thing was that Natassia Malthe had to jump into ice-water at one point and almost drowned. I think she still hates me.’
But what incites the fury in fans and critics? One of the main problems may be that Boll often makes changes to the source material. A gamer himself (and a particular fan of Tiger Woods Golf), he acknowledges that videogame movies get a rough ride from the critics and is the first to admit that some of his films are far from perfect. ‘On House of the Dead my mistake was that I didn’t insist on revising the script,’ he explains. ‘On Alone in the Dark my mistake was that I picked Tara Reid instead of a better actress.’
Alternatively, perhaps it is the fact he is able to work unaided by the Hollywood system (tax breaks in Germany mean even unsuccessful films can be profitable). ‘If you get the studios behind you everybody treats you with more respect. As soon as you go independent they treat you like shit.’
Despite his reputation, however, names like Burt Reynolds and Ray Liotta have all appeared in Boll productions, although working with Ben Kingsley in BloodRayne that was a particular pleasure. ‘In a way it was a big surprise for me that he agreed to make the movie, but he told me two things. First, he needs money, and secondly, that he wanted to play a vampire. He is so well prepared you have no work to do as a director.’
Boll has never been a man to take things lying down and has fought back against the critics, quite literally, with the event ‘Raging Boll’, which was also filmed, where he took on five critics in the boxing ring. The director won every fight. ‘If you say you’ll do something, you have to do it. Otherwise you look like a pussy. ‘Now every day I get emails from people who want to fight me.’ This no nonsense attitude has led to Boll attaining a strange cult status, with his films getting far more attention than many of his peers, which is no bad thing. The simple fact is: the world of cinema would be a far duller place without mavericks like Boll biting at its heels.
BloodRayne II: Deliverance is out on DVD, Mon 22 Sep on Metrodome.
Henry Northmore charts the slightly dubious history of big screen videogame adaptations
Super Mario Bros (1993) •• Tron whetted the appetite of the movie-going public (but wasn’t actually adapted from any specific game) but Mario was one of the first big budget adaptations. Despite the perfect casting of Bob Hoskins as the plump plumber it was a convoluted mess, with Dennis Hopper looking confused throughout as villain King Koopa.
Street Fighter (1994) • Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue star in the live action version of the greatest fighting game of all time. How could it all go so wrong?
Mortal Kombat (1995) ••• Ok, it's cheesy and a looks a bit cheap, but it's so much more fun than Street Fighter, and it lead on to an equally OTT sequel and even a TV series.
Pokémon: The First Movie (1999) • Inspired by the phenomenally successful day-glo cartoon, this is still utterly incomprehensible to the over 12s.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) •• Angelina Jolie stepped up to the iconic role of Lara Croft in one of the most commercially successful videogame movie of all time.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) •••• Visually stunning CGI masterpiece let down by a bafflingly mystical plot. Looks gorgeous throughout though.