The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Monday, November 12, 2007

BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007)

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After seeing the first BloodRayne and knowing how bad it was, I should've steered clear of this bad boy when I saw it in the video store. But I'm a glutton for pain when it comes to bad movies, and try as I might, I had to watch this. Man, did it hurt.

BloodRayne II: Deliverance has Rayne tracking the vampire Billy the Kid to a town named Deliverance that's waiting for the railroad to be built through it. After he takes over the town and fortifies his position, Rayne tries unsuccessfully to fight him on her own. She fails and is almost killed, and has to come back with Michael Pare-- who's Pat Garrett, and a member of vampire fighters Brimstone-- and two other dudes he recruits: a hired killer with bad teeth and a reverend who swindles people out of their money with the promise of salvation. With well-manicured nails and a professional make-up job in a town full of hygienically challenged individuals, Rayne makes the Wild West safe again and vampire free.

Wow, this was bad. Not like the first BloodRayne bad, but like Skin-a-max film quality bad. The acting, other than Pare, was tough to deal with. The whole thing was so amateurish I could envision the set and crew around the actors. I wanted to yell cut after each scene. The reason a Skin-a-max movie can get away with such poor production value is its high soft-core porn sex content. Without that you're left with a bad film school student's final project.

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Painkiller Jane took a pass on this because she had to do Painkiller Jane. That's her story, and she's sticking with it. I'd like to think she saw how much of a stinker the first one was, and without great actors like Michael Madsen and Ban Kingsley to entice her to get on board, she stopped returning their phone calls. To replace Painkiller, they got a chick named Natassia Malthe, who you may remember as Typhoid Mary in an even poorer film called Electra. She was also in the shortly lived (as in one weekend in the theaters) DOA. As an actress, I can see bad film adaptations of video games as her thing: she has the physical attributes with none of the acting ability. She'd make a good Kitana if they make another Mortal Kombat movie.

The idea of marrying the western and the vampire genres is interesting. It'd be nice to see it done in a good movie. Here we get the director's lame attempts to emulate Peckinpah and Leone. The close-ups of weapons and facial features didn't create the tension we'd get from a good western, but rather created annoyance because we just wanted the movie to get on with it. Also, the pauses before action sequences where we'd get these close-ups and whatnot happen at times that don't work in the film, like when the vampires would have guns trained on people and should've shot them but didn't just so the film can have it's "tension". If you're going to make a vampire/action film, just do it, and don't try to get cute with it. If you were a good enough director to get cute, you wouldn't be directing BloodRayne II.

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The Billy the Kidd character sucked as a bad guy. In real life the guy who played him looks kind of cool, but in the movie he had this gross stringy hair and beady little eyes. He was no Ben Kingsly. Nor was he any Emilio Estevez. Was Bruce Payne or Wings Hauser that busy? Or even better, were they that far above such a horrible project? You know you're bad when you can't get them to be your bad guy. A semi-decent baddie would've made this film bearable considering the chick playing Rayne wasn't bad on the eyes. But instead he, and the extras they had playing his henchman, all sucked.

Perhaps the worst character was the fat little newspaper guy who suddenly can handle a gun and guilts/bullies the townsfolk into fighting the vampires. The character was annoying as hell when he was the meek reporter, and even worse when he berated people who probably weren't in the mood to die to go get killed. What script writer liked this guy? Who thought his transformation when it was convenient to the plot would play well? Why do movies have annoying fat guys with high pitched voices in them anyway? Just another aspect of the film that made my skin crawl.

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This film is chock full of bad lines. Early on, Rayne plays cards with some guys, and one has an Irish accent. He asks her if she knows what an Irishman sounds like, and she says "the cross between an asshole and a dead man." When she goes to fight them, the mayor tells her she doesn't know what she's up against, and she says "that's fair, because neither do they." When she's captured by the vampire sheriff and put in jail, she's scheduled to be hanged at "high midnight". Then my favorite came at the end, when Michael Pare tells the newspaperman: "Life is like a penis. When it's hard, you get screwed, and when it's limp, you can't beat it." To go the Pare route, I'd say: "BloodRayne II is like a bad dick or fart joke. It's crass, immature, and only makes you laugh because it's so stupid."

There was plenty of other bad stuff in this. imdb said the budget was ten million US dollars. If that's true, they didn't use it for sound effects. When vampires were killed, they sounded like neighing horses or snorting pigs. When Rayne put her blade threateningly near Pare's crotch, it made the sound of steel hitting steel. In an attempt to put Rayne in a no win situation, Billy the Kid sets it up so the kids he's held hostage are all in nooses that are set off when Rayne enters his room, causing a large rock to be lifted up as a counterweight. For some reason if the stone's lifted, the kids immediately die of strangulation, which makes no sense. Finally she lets the rope holding the stone go and cuts the nooses off the kids all at once. Why she didn't do it the moment she entered the room is anyone's guess.

When it comes to bad movies, this is almost as bad as it gets. We're almost at the Bruce Penhall Julie Strain level. If this shows up on TV, I'd say maybe watch it with your friends because it is laughably funny. But don't spend any money on it, especially not new release money, because you'll feel the people who made it accosted you with a ski mask and a gun.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0896036/

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