Clocking in at a paltry 76 minutes, "BloodRayne: The Third Reich" finally manages to deliver a film somewhat similar to the premise of the game series that inspired the feature-length medieval big screen clunker that director Uwe Boll followed up with an even worse wild west outing. Boll returns to the helm, taking Rayne, the series' heroine, still played by Natassia Malthe (who replaced original film star Kristanna Lokken), to Nazi Germany to kill Nazis and stop Ekart Brand (Boll regular Michael Paré), an insane Nazi (is there any other kind?) who has acquired Rayne's unique vampiric mutation, which any viewer whose seen "Blade" will recognize: the ability to function in daylight.
At this point, anyone coming into the "BloodRayne" series (I cringe as I write that), isn't expecting high art, let alone a barely competent film, but for anyone who has followed Boll's career with interest, morbid fascination, or in my case a little of both, will understand the esteemed Dr. Boll always has a trick up his sleeve, resulting in a film that either manages to be more incompetent than the last or in some rare cases, such as Boll's serious political message film, "Attack on Darfur," show an earnest filmmaker who is capable of at least above average filmmaking. "BloodRayne: The Third Reich" is no exception to Boll's unpredictability and falls somewhere in between both categories. While far from being an average movie, not one frame tries to outdo the overly long, paper thin, insufferable excess of the preceding two films. Instead, Boll phones this one in, leaving viewers with a watchable time waster.
Even with such a short running time, "The Third Reich," manages to drag along, half-heartedly attempting to provide a narrative for a bland heroine played by an actress who looks the part but once she opens her mouth, makes one long for the days of Lokken. The highlight of the film, from both an acting and narrative standpoint is delivered by the incomparable Clint Howard, filling the twisted shoes of the not so subtly named Dr. Mangler, a Nazi scientist naturally, who speaks with the most unholy amalgamated accent since Nicolas Cage chose to randomly channel Jimmy Stewart in "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans." Howard is simultaneously insufferable and delightful, acting as the sick mastermind tying Rayne to Brand and the greater Nazi goal of domination. His plan to make Hitler a super vampire allows the film to indulge in cinematic absurdity by the hand of Boll who throws in a nonsensical daydream/nightmare for no other reason to limp the film towards the hour and 15 minute mark.
Non sequiturs are par for the course in "The Third Reich" with Rayne stopping into a war torn brothel to dispatch an abusive Nazi john and then engage in a trashy love scene with another actress who like Malthe is all looks and no talent. Boll's kitchen sink approach to filmmaking is mildly amusing, but the routine grows tired as the film progresses, killing what little charm was promised by initial scenes of CGI assisted Nazi slaughter in lieu of Clint Howard hamming it up and Michael Paré looking more confused than intimidating. "The Third Reich" raps up as well as one could hope with a final bad guy vs. heroine showdown that is brief but so ballsy it nearly makes the film required viewing for fans of schlock. Boll is remarkably restrained whilst playing in a land that is so ripe for exploitation. That's not to say the film isn't exploitative, by all means it is, but to be perfectly fair, it's a lot less sleazy than one might expect from a Boll led female vampiric journey into WWII Nazi Germany. Fear not though, because Boll does get the last laugh, ending on a possible set-up for a fourth "BloodRayne" film with a tease of more slaughter an a vulgar wood one-liner from Rayne herself. You can't ask for much more, nor should you.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer sports an intentionally drab, monochromatic color scheme that is faithfully rendered. Light noise persists throughout the image, making the already average detail level of the transfer look even weaker. Thankfully the image is free of compression artifacts and edge enhancement, making for a decidedly uninspired image, fitting nicely with the actual content of the film.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is relatively flat and lifeless, never offering much kick during the sparse action scenes. Dialogue is dominant and clear, a misfortune given the script itself. A French 5.1 track and English subtitles for the hearing impaired are included.
As with most Boll releases, a commentary track featuring the director himself is included. The film's writer joins him and together the two say little of substance and meaning. A bland, promotional style making-of featurette is included as well as a short interview with the writer, who begins on a very unintentionally funny note, although his intentions are well meaning. Finally a digital copy of the film is found on the disc should one desire to have this film on hands at any given moment.
In the vast catalogue of Uwe Boll films, "BloodRayne: The Third Reich" falls towards the upper middle. It never takes itself seriously and doesn't aspire to such heights that it looks embarrassingly incompetent; instead it's Boll lazily slapping something vaguely comprehensible together for consumption by those who "get" what he's about. The brief running time, decent action, and gamut of acting (with Clint Howard chewing scenery like there's no tomorrow) make it worth a rental and nothing more. Rent It.