I had given up on Uwe Boll. I had taken the name and put it on my dusty shelf along with all of my bags filled with laughter. The joke was old. For all said purposes, he was dead to Bloody Disgusting and completely removed from the site. Anything announced was ignored, and anything resembling a Boll film was castrated from the horror community.
So there I was at the AFM talking to some chaps here and there about what films were hot, and which were not. In one of my colleague’s breath he uttered the title Rampage. “What’s that?” I asked. “An Uwe Boll movie…no, no, no…a good Uwe Boll movie,” he replied. Get the f*ck out of here. I looked to the sky and there were no pigs to be seen. I looked around the hall and no fat women were pelting out tunes. I sat and pondered this for a minute. “I’ll do it,” I exclaimed aloud pumping my fist into the air. I felt like a superhero taking on the genres top supervillain. “I will win once again,” I thought.
Flash forward to the screening. I was actually kinda excited to see what all the fuss is about. Within just minutes, it was like night and day. Who the hell really filmed this movie? There’s just no way Boll shot this. I’m used to the over-exposed, blown out, 80’s look of his films. Rampage is stylish from the cinematography straight down to his handheld camerawork. Boll, know to be “inspired” by other’s work, has obviously taken cues from films like Cloverfield and MI:3.
Again, in sole Boll fashion, it also appears that there wasn’t much of a script as Matt Frewer (Max Headroom!), Lynda Boyd and Brendan Fletcher improv around a breakfast table. While some of it comes off as cute, a hefty portion is sheer agitating (Boyd just couldn’t handle this assignment). Thankfully, these segments are far and few between, and most of the film follows Fletcher on his mission of self-indulgence and annihilation.
In the film Fletcher plays Bill Williamson, a teen stuck in a rut. He’s an out of high school mechanic and living an unsatisfying life. His best friend is an activist and openly protests the government and world we live in. They don’t see eye-to-eye and Bill is sick of “all talk and no do.” He’s an angry young man disgusting by “things”, yet he understands that money makes the world go round. He takes it upon himself to send a message, while achieving the ultimate goal of financial gain. It’s the American dream, right?
Boll tensely shoots Fletcher working up to his methodically ploy, while editing in short sequences of the violence to come. It’s no secret as the viewer knows exactly what’s coming, and watching Bill workout, purchase guns, and construct armor is incredibly stressful. He’s about to go f*cking balls out ballistic (or can we say Bollistic?).
Now this is the part I find incredibly interesting. Bill goes bat sh*t crazy. He blows up a police station and them embarks on a massive killing spree at a small local outdoor plaza. First, only someone like Uwe Boll would have the balls to shoot a sequence this violent in a big budget movie. It’s obviously something that could scare away buyers and big studios from ever releasing the film. Second, I really want to commend Boll on his use of violence. If you’ve seen his horrific Seed, Boll goes out of his way to punish the viewer. The flick opens with animals being tortured and within the first 15 minutes a baby is slammed against a pole in a bus. What I learned from Seed is that Boll is trying wayyyyy too hard to shock his audience. While in a film like Rampage Fletcher’s character could have easily splattered his victim’s brains against the wall, he doesn’t. In fact, there’s a scene where Bill walks into a bingo hall for old folk, and while I expected an onslaught of dentures, it actually ends up being quite a charming moment.
Boll is learning and he’s evolving as a filmmaker. Once stubborn (refusing to accept any blame) and always angry with the press, it’s almost as if the German Ed Wood has taken a deep look into the mirror, reflected on his films, and made a turn for the better.
While Boll’s message can be slightly confusing and/or construed differently by each viewer, Rampage is a controversial film that’s not only relevant to our bleak times, but also politically daring. It’s not 100% coherent, and the acting can be painful at times (with the exception of Brendan Fletcher, OMG), but in the end Dr. Uwe Boll has delivered a film that I can finally recommend. While it might not sit well with every viewer, most of you might actually enjoy this.