A Profile Of Uwe Boll

Our extreme cinema correspondent Andrew Stimpson salutes Uwe Boll, the straight to DVD director who beats up his critics and realises that all Lord of the Rings was missing was Ninjas.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Boll

Spetember 23, 2006, The Plaza of Nations, Vancouver. Weedy webmaster Richard Kyanka stands gloved in a boxing ring wondering why the fuck he signed that waiver. Accompanied by the brutal marching riffage of Rammstein, the internet’s most reviled and mercilessly harangued target of geek bile strides towards the ring. The self-dubbed ’Teutonic Terror’ is fixated upon his target in the squared circle. His supporters chant “Uwe, boma ye! Uwe, boma ye!” The first bell is rung and twenty seconds (and five punches) later Kyanka is prone upon the canvas. A similar fate awaits two more bedroom web critics and a writer for Rue Morgue magazine who fights wearing a Mexican wrestler’s mask and a pair of rubber bat wings which provide little in the way of protection from Boll’s rain of blows. Following his bizarre triumph the Terror addresses the clamouring press: "I hit them so hard, they have brain damage. They love my movies now! Jean-Claude Van Damme is next. He’s a poseur."

Uwe Boll takes on the critics

The Teutonic Terror’s true earth name is Dr Uwe Boll and his day job is film director and owner of Boll KG, a studio responsible for some of the most excruciatingly average video game to film conversions of the past five years.

The Boll began rolling in 2003 when he won the rights to adapt SEGA’s first-person-shooter series House of the Dead. The result was a cheeseball mash of faceless teenagers, guns, zombies and Matrix-style camera sweeps that was devoid of any real thematic link with the source material. Sadly for Boll KG it simply did not make muster with the rabid fans of the video game series and was roundly lambasted by critics. On the other hand the DVD made stacks of moolah upon its worldwide release, by which time Boll was already well on with his next project.

Alone in the Dark has a long and rich history in the world of computer games, having spawned four sequels and crossed all platforms since its first installment in 1993. It spawned the survival horror genre and utilised a blend of complimentary influences ranging from H.P. Lovecraft to H.R. Giger. Boll attempted to capture this by “placing Lovecraft in a contemporary setting” and casting Christian Slater as a skimpy vested paranormal investigator blessed with the ability to karate kick impervious-to-bullets bad guys through windows and a habit of blowing away poorly rendered CGI monsters with “photon-accelerated luminescent-resin-coated bullets”.

Continuing the trend of casting actors who have long since leapt across the great white’s tank, Boll gave Slater support from Stephen Dorff as a humourless government apparatchik and, hilariously, Tara Reid as an archaeologist. Hilarious because of her total inability on several occasions to say ’cataloguing’, which is ironic as she’d look great in an actual catalogue.

Naturally the fans of the Alone in the Dark series were not particularly impressed with Boll’s take on their ground-breaking survival horror classic and they probably collectively voided when they learned that next up for the treatment was Bloodrayne.

It was of course deeply average. T3 feminator Kristanna Loken went on blood rampages, Ben Kingsley ran on autopilot, Michael Madsen ran on pies and Meatloaf and Billy Zane’s ludicrous wigs fought over the remaining scraps.

All three of these films have managed to make IMDB’s Bottom 100 list and Boll’s latest video game adaptation Postal has received thousands of 1 out of 10 votes despite being as yet unreleased. His films may not be masterpieces but do they really deserve to be ranked alongside or even below Hulk Hogan comedy shitfest Santa With Muscles? A whopping 64.7% of the nerds empowered by IMDB to register their dissatisfaction think just that and voted House of the Dead 1 out of 10. Similarly 53.3% of the votes for Alone in the Dark (almost ten thousand people) went the same way. The level of nerd bile and baiting directed at Boll himself is now reaching unprecedented levels, with an online petition demanding that he stop making films carrying over 200,000 signatures.

Uwe Boll responds to the online petition: "I am not a fucking retard"

So why all the wailing and gnashing of retainer-clad teeth? Boll knocks out undemanding adventure movies worthy of Charles Band and the golden age of the early 80’s straight to video boom. His response to continued criticism on Ain’t it Cool News was to publicly label chief contributors Harry and Quint as educationally subnormal. After Wired editor Chris Kohler ravaged Postal Boll sent a bracing email rebuttal in which he advised Kohler to “go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years . . . so she deserves it”. Naturally it was gleefully published and has only added to his reputation as a humourless hack who can’t take criticism. Little wonder, then, that Boll issued an open challenge to his critics to take him on in the ring in the event dubbed “Raging Boll” by his online casino sponsors. And this is what makes Dr Uwe Boll so utterly unique in modern cinema. He’s energetic and irascible but, most of all, he’s a character, something that is all too lacking in today’s corporate marketplace. This fact is gradually beginning to sink into the consciousness of the community. A counter-petition beseeching him to continue his work declares that “Boll is [a] kind of genius . . . maybe an evil one but still a genius.” At time of writing it has registered a respectable 4520 signatures.

Following his pummeling at the hands of the good Doctor at the Raging Boll event even Rue Morgue writer Chris Alexander reluctantly admitted "I’ve developed a sick admiration for him. Boll makes movies his way, without the aid of the studio system. Of course he’s yet to make anything decent, but I’m rooting for the crazy son of a bitch!"

The maverick director has no less than eight new projects on the go, one of them being In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Adapted from PC game Dungeon Siege it’s a loose LOTR rip-off but Boll has corrected the fundamental error of that series and avoided all the soppy man-love. Instead he gives us Burt Reynolds as an aging King, Ray Liotta as an evil wizard and Jason Statham in Crank mode as a kung fu kicking peasant farmer called Farmer. It took Uwe Boll to realise what everyone else was missing, give Statham a sword and throw him into the middle of some epic fantasy battle scenes. Wisely he eschews CGI trickery to beef up the monster and action count but to make up for it he throws in some ninjas. Pure. Unadulterated. Genius.

Disclaimer: If you watch it you can’t unwatch it.

A clip from Boll’s Merchant and Ivory-esque Postal

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