CHUD’s got a good number of columns that cover a pretty wide chunk of the film spectrum. Beaks gives you the prestige, along with liberal helpings of wit and brilliance. Devin’s all over the place with great movie and TV-related rants. Jason Pollock spotlights the obscurities. Nick heaps sarcasm and hate on the survivors.

So what remains? Just my tiny little forgotten, yet favorite section of this biz: The direct-to-DVD action movie. We do pah-lenty of DVD reviews here on CHUD, and will likely increase that. But this isn’t so much a review column as it is a series of valentines to the video junk that makes me smile. Any chump can shoot snark and irony for days all over these types of flicks. It takes a man to openly and unabashedly love ‘em.

I could think of no better start to this
joyride than the latest (and surprisingly first direct-to-DVD) directorial
effort from Dr. Uwe Boll. As I said on our brand spanking new podcast,
I truly admire the guy. I’m not sure whether it’s intestinal fortitude
or psychological trauma that allows this man to believe that he’s doing
good work, despite a myriad of financial, critical, and spiritual
evidence to the contrary, but whatever it is, he has it in spades. And there’s something so….I dunno…inspiring about a guy who refuses to obey common sense and logic and dedicates himself to a discipline that he has no aptitude whatsoever for. If it were music, he’d be the off-key, all-thumbs, charisma-free wannabe that fancies himself a rock star. Since it’s film, he’s the guy that can watch and love great movies, know what makes them great, and yet find himself utterly unable to do the same. Somewhere between the guy’s brain and his extremities and mouth, something gets fucked up.

Never has this been clearer than when I finished devouring the DVD for BloodRayne 2: Deliverance. Despite the name and cover, it is neither 1)A BloodRayne film nor 2)"A heart-stopping adventure" that takes place in a graveyard, or any other traditional vampire setting. Instead, Uwe – a man who is determined to branch out into all genres eventually – has decided to make this his "great Western." For the Teutonic investors, they might have been better off putting their $10 million (the default budget for a Boll joint) in a Best Western hotel franchise, but that’s between them and the German tax offices. Instead, they chose to fund this homage to that most American of genres that is "Boll-ized" by the rather rude forcefeeding of vampire elements where they do not belong.

Oh, but I haven’t even explained how it’s not a BloodRayne film yet. Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the last minute replacement casting of Natassia Malthe in the lead role. Other than getting 100 percent less topless than Kristianna Loken (despite the "Unrated" billing, this is a largely tits and gore-free affair. Budget, y’know…), you’ll notice no difference. Well, you’ll notice no difference for the tiny smallings of time she occupies the screen, that is. The character doesn’t show up and isn’t even referenced for the first 16 minutes of the film. Instead, we trod through the Dead Man-esque arrival of a nerdy outsider (Chris Coppola) to a grungy old West outpost of a town, Deliverance, only with tinny knockoffs of Morricone’s grand Once Upon A Time in the West-score in the background as opposed to Neil Young’s ambient electric guitar strums. He’s come to find "tales" of adventure in Deliverance (pop: 12, but I don’t believe there are more than 7 people onscreen and in the background, regardless of how wide the shot is, at any given time. Budget, y’know…). Shortly after his arrival and a chat with the mayor (Michael Robinson. Reaaallly now…), we flash to a frontier family having supper. Seconds later, Boll offers a dividing line that will force you (assuming you have basic knowledge of 19-th century Americana lore) to decide whether to eject the disc and urinate on it or to man-up and power through:

He introduces us to one Billy the Kid.

A vampire.

From the old country, complete with "Romanian" accent.

And being tracked by Pat Garret (Michael Pare. Budget, y’know…), an American human who has never met him before.

So right away before BloodRayne even appears, we know that Boll is messing with…scratch that…is assfucking the tales of the West in order to attach some bizarre name recognition to a vampire film based on a video game that was never set in that time period. If you can accept this, you know that nothing else the movie can throw at you will be as endearingly stupid. It’s not even physically possible.

Anyhoo…Billy the Kid and his "vampire gang" show up out of nowhere and attack the family offscreen (Budget, y’ know…). And after that resoundingly unsatisfying first reel that appears spliced in from another movie altogether, Rayne shows up looking for the now missing family. Why, you ask? Does she have any relation to the family? Was she hired to look for them? Perhaps it’s better we not know. It’s just a setup for a meet cute between Rayne and Garret, who then immediately separate so that she can attack and kill two vampires before getting captured. Sentenced by Billy (from afar) to a public hanging, she’s saved by Garret with the help of Bartender Bob (Chris Spencer AKA the black dude who used to host Vibe AKA a muhfucka gotta eat, man). Only problem is, we’re 40-plus minutes in, and nothing of any real consequence has happened.

Those who enjoy Boll’s films can only do so through amusing, aggressively bad sequences like House of the Dead‘s daytime "rave" or any time Tara Reid tries to speak in Alone in the Dark. Without that stuff, he’s just another boring, untalented filmmaker. And if you can only make it through the first half of this movie, that’s exactly what you’ll come off thinking. But once Rayne is rescued, Boll gives up trying to set up Western atmosphere and goes straight for the cinematic shorthand (but in his own retarded way).

Realizing they need help, Rayne and Garrett rustle up a "posse" of sorts. Among their new recruits are such unique and distinguished characters as The Preacher, a holy man who’s actually an accomplished ruffian and gunman. No way! By the time the recruiting sequence is through, there’s only 20 or so minutes left, so we have to immediately jump to them arriving in Deliverance with the knockoff Morricone crapola cranked to full behind them. Then everybody in the cast except BloodRayne gets an individual moment or two to go out in a blaze of glory against the gun-toting vampires (who don’t bite, shapeshift, or do anything supernatural. Budget, y’know…). It’s epic, I tell you. Well, I’m not telling you, but the swelling Casio strings are. It’s fucking epic!!!

Did I mention this actually isn’t a BloodRayne film? It’s not really a film at all, if by "film" you mean a narrative with any sort of cohesion. This is Uwe Boll pulling a Batman: Dead End and making a series of homage shots and moments to something he knows he doesn’t have the talent, money, and will to truly do justice to. You can listen to Boll’s commentary (well, when he doesn’t up and leave to take phone calls, that is. That’s one of the golden moments on the alternate audio track for this disc.) and hear his ambition. He namedrops Ford and Leone. The entire documentary is scored to actual Morricone music. He so badly wants to pay his respects, yet somehow ends up sticking his dirty penis in the mouth of the very films he claims to love and commences to thrusting. That is Uwe Boll’s curse.

Hell if it isn’t my pleasure, tho.