If there’s one name gamers and cinephiles alike have come to despise it’s Uwe Boll. He’s a German director who’s made a surprisingly good living grabbing the rights to middle tier game franchises and through some faustian pact with a dark god managed to con famous talent into starring in his terrible videogame movies. But in some ways he’s like a real life Max Bialystock living out a modern version of The Producers. Thanks to a German tax loophole, he’s been able to keep going by exploiting the law as a way to lure investors despite the fact this films almost always lose tremendous amounts of money. Many countries offer tax incentives if you film there, and employ a certain percentage of your crew from the local populace. Germany has those tax rebates but without any of the restrictions of needing to film in Germany or use Germans as your crew.
Not only that, but Germans who invest in financing the film can write-off the production cost and even delay paying their taxes. The best part is that someone only owes any taxes if the film actually sees a profit. Even more insane is how German investors can borrow money and write that off on their tax returns too. This created a system that allowed Uwe Boll to continuously pump out trash film after trash film. He even went as far to poke fun at himself in the Postal films saying how he made his films with Nazi gold. He admitted as much on the DVD commentary for Alone in the Dark saying, “And the reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest in a movie in Germany, you get basically fifty percent back from the government.”
But recently, the limitless goldmine of Germany’s tax rules have been closed off to him. Uwe Boll has even been reduced to using crowd funding sites like Kickstarter to get his productions off the ground. As you might imagine, those campaigns have had a less than enthusiastic reaction. Although his Kickstarter tirades and rants have made everything worth it. Recently Uwe Boll announced he is officially retiring from filmmaking. Don’t cry too much for him since he said he has enough money to to play golf for the rest of his life and owns his own Michelin star restaurant in Vancouver called Bauhaus. So after producing over a decade of cinematic dreck, he’ll still be able to live out his golden years in comfort. But seeing how completely bat-shit crazy he was in both his craft and the way he countered his criticism (he literally fought his critics in a boxing ring and nearly beat them to death) there’s part of us that feels like we’ll miss his general insanity and awful filmmaking. So to celebrate a life time of terrible nonsensical work that continued to defy any kind of conventional wisdom here are our favorite best worst Uwe Boll movies.
Postal is so low on this list because it’s probably the closest thing Boll has ever made that might be considered a good movie. It’s a comedy which helps a little bit given the fact that his general bat shit crazy artistic sensibilities serve the realm of comedy far better than any kind of serious drama or even a route action film. Instead you have have a throw-everything-at the-wall-and-see-what-sticks comedy that sees nothing as sacred as the Postal guy (that’s literally what he’s listed as in the credits) finds himself fighting off Osama Bin Laden as well as a religious doomsday cult, Nazis, and Vern Troyer is assaulted by 300 chimpanzees. It’s probably the most faithful to the game of any of his other movies. Uwe Boll even pokes fun at himself by playing himself in the movie and proudly boasting how all of his films are made using Nazi gold.
He even kills himself by getting shot in the nuts and saying how much he hates videogames. The entire thing is like a crazy episode of South Park without any of the skill or witt that Matt Stone or Trey Parker have. But there are a few laughs to be found. It’s not subtle, but gonzo comedy suites Uwe Bolls sensibilities far better than anything else. The mad German is probably at his best when he’s just letting out his unbridled rage, making this easily the best film he’s ever made and most watchable movie on this list. It’s a shame we never got to see his mad vision fulfilled in Postal 2 which he tried to Kickstart but failed to meet his funding goal. But at least we have his wonderfully angry Kickstarter rants on YouTube which were more entertaining than the movie ever could have been.
10. Assault on Wall Street
Is it weird that I feel like after a certain point, Boll actually started trying? Like, he looked around, saw where his career was, and went “Oh shit, maybe I should stop wasting my life!” Except Boll is at best, mediocre. Completely mediocre. Assault on Wall Street doesn’t have any of the gonzo go for broke terrible that infests things like BloodRayne and House of the Dead, but instead it has something almost worse. When we see Boll trying so hard to make a character relatable and likeable only to make them boring instead, we have to wonder why he even bothered. The thing is, this should not be hard to do. The irresponsible, downright criminal behaviors of Wall Street left us with a recession, stagnating wages, and a host of other problems. Making a guilty pleasure movie about a man who has had enough and starts murdering the people who have done so much to help destroy the American Dream should be easy. And yet for some reason, it just kinda ends up bland. Come on! This is the man who directed Postal and House of the Dead. He knows how to go completely crazy when he wants to, and yet this is the movie he chose to hold back on? Dan Harmon manages a better job of rage filled catharsis in less than two minutes in the Rick and Morty episode “Look Who’s Purging Now” when Rick and Arthricia murder a mansion full of rich douchebags. How did Boll screw up 97 minutes of what should have been unrestrained populist rage?
Holocaust films are the holy grail of Oscar bait prestige filmmaking. There’s a reason why only the best of the best of filmmakers usually attempt a movie about the Holocaust, since it’s a very delicate tonal tightrope given the gravity of the material and the history of great films about the Holocaust. Uwe Boll is probably the last person who should ever be thinking about doing a Holocaust film. But on one hand you have to hand it to him, the man is a first class troll and provocateur and made half of his career making overly expensive video game adaptations and the second half trying to do provocative socially conscious stuff to capitalize the spectacle. Auschwitz falls in a similar place as Attack on Darfur and Assault on Wall Street. Both are socially conscious films designed to provoke controversy and outrage, but they come across more like Roger Corman grindhouse exploitation films than anything else. The guy who jokes about using Nazi gold to fund his films probably shouldn’t be making a Holocaust movie. It’s about as good at showing people the horrors of Auschwitz as Isla, She Wolf of the SS is at being a historically accurate drama.
If you’re thinking this might be an adaptation of the classic Rampage arcade game where you play as a giant monster that smashes buildings and eats people, I can understand why you might not be surprised to see this on the list. With so many other video game movies that Boll has made how could it not be? But no, this is not based on a video game. Instead Uwe Boll decided to make some kind of weird homage to school shootings with a film about a literal rampage. After getting fed up with like society a guy builds himself a Kevlar suite and then loads up with dozens of weapons as he goes on a shooting rampage mowing down police and civilians alike as he sticks it to the man by randomly murdering people. It’s a try hard edgy film designed to incite outrage, but unlike similar films like Falling Down or Taxi Driver, Uwe Boll does not have the cinematic chops to pull off something like this with any grace. So instead you basically have Boll’s id on display as he attempts to shock and offend as much as possible, even though he was mostly ignored.
7. In The Name of the King: The Last Job
Uwe Boll managed to somehow turn Chris Taylor’s Dungeon Siege RPG series into his own Lord of the Rings fantasy epic to do whatever the hell he wanted with. As the films progressed, they became cheaper and cheaper. But out of the entire series, none were quite as bizarre as The Last Job. Somehow Boll thought that he if could take one terribly cliched set-up and combine it with another cliche set-up from two completely different genres of films he’d somehow create the ultimate B-Movie. In the hands of a more competent director that might have been the case, but never with Mr. Boll. In The Last Job, an assassin looking for a way out of his trade takes on one last job before he can get out. He needs to kidnaps a businessman’s children, but somehow gets trapped in a medieval fantasy realm. So literally you have the “one last job” trope combined with “the sucked into a fantasy world” one. The sad thing is that this isn’t the first time he’s tried this. The awkward middle child of the In the Name of the King trilogy sees Dolph Lundgren playing an special ops soldier who goes into the Dungeon Siege fantasy realm to kill things. But while that one had a bonafide b-movie star, The Last Job couldn’t even muster that or match the budget of the first film. It looks like it was shot in someone’s backyard. The it was the kind of fantasy film that most people dreaded until Peter Jackson made it cool with Lord of the Rings.
6. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Let’s face it, you were never ever going to make a good movie out of Dungeon Siege. It’s a hack and slash RPG made by famed game designer Chris Taylor. It was a game that was never really built to have compelling story or interesting lore. Still, it was Boll’s chance to try and step into the realm of high fantasy realm filmmaking to see if he could pull off a Peter Jackson. But when the game’s protagonist is called Farmer and the films main star is Jason Statham whose character is Farmer then chances are you’re not going to see the same success as Frodo and friends. Somehow Boll managed to dig up $60 million to get this movie made and got quite the cast together. Ron Perlman, Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, John Rhys-Davies, Burt Reynolds, and Matthew Lillard. It’s like a who’s who of B-Movie talent. Practically everyone in this movie has done better… much better. What we get is a mediocre knock off of many better fantasy films with a touch of Boll inspired insanity. It’s almost worth watching just to see how little Ray Liotta seems to care about anything he’s doing as his accent fluctuates between ren faire light and modern cadences. The orc creatures look especially lame and Jason Statham looks especially confused by just about everything in the movie and even his usual stoicism isn’t quite enough to get him out of this fiasco. Despite the fact that the film barely made $13 million at the box office and for all intensive purposes was a miserable flop, Uwe Boll managed to make two sequels that no one particularly wanted.
5. BloodRayne: The Last Reich
Okay. Just so you know, the original BloodRayne is further down on this list, but of course Boll made sequel. And of course it’s terrible. Our dhampire hero accidentally gives Nazis the idea to turn Hitler into a dhampire, thus making him immortal. I’m honestly not sure what that would have done to change the tide of the war since I’m pretty sure D-Day and the angry swarm of Allied soldiers would have just swept through Germany regardless of whether or not Hitler was a vampire or not. All it would mean is that Hitler would have had a harder time killing himself in his bunker. The same kinda goes for the rest of the Reich. I mean, I guess their plan was to turn the rest of the Reich into dhampires, but according to the video game source material, dhampires have their own weaknesses, including… salt water and prolonged exposure to sunlight. So the fuhrer’s plan is to turn everyone into pale skinned monsters who can’t handle a day at the beach. How long before the allies start replacing their guns with the 1940’s equivalent of a super soaker full of seawater? At least this movie was slightly more in line with the original source material, but not like that’s much high praise at this point.
Okay, I need to stop here and just… I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what to think about this other than the fact that it’s terrible. This movie is a shot for shot remake of BloodRayne: The Last Reich except there’s a plus sized woman in the lead role. That’s it. That’s the entire joke. This has all the comedic chops of a terrible Adam Sandler movie like Jack and Jill. I mean, are you even surprised? Boll is a hack. The thing that’s so baffling is that BloodRayne: The Last Reich is an Uwe Boll movie, and Boll has shown himself to have paper thin skin when it comes to criticism about his work. He staged a boxing match and punched the hell out of his critics. Was this some kind of epiphany about how terrible his work is? It it only funny if he’s the one making the jokes? Did he never care in the first place, and everything he’s done including the boxing match just some sort of weird money grabbing publicity stunt? I have no clue. All I know is this movie is terrible, and Boll should feel terrible. Weirdly enough though he used almost all of the original crew and cast when making this film. It almost feels like it could be an avant garde experiment like Lars Von Trier’s The Five Obstructions where he has a filmmaker remake a film five times with different restrictions. You can almost imagine some great filmmaker taking the same material and doing it in five different genres, but Uwe Boll is not that smart, he probably just wanted an excuse to make a bunch of fat jokes or maybe he just hates himself and hates his audience even more.
Usually sequels are worse than their source material. You take something good and water it down in hopes of cashing in. Well, Bloodrayne was… Just terrible. Watering it down made the sequels more watchable, if not by much. Bloodrayne was a campy mess full of terrible sword and sorcery tropes which is kinda weird considering the original game involved fighting nazis. How is having Rayne leave a circus better than having her show up ready to kick ass and hunt down her father in the ‘30s? I really don’t understand the direction this film went or how Boll managed to get some of the actors he did. Why was Ben Kingsley in this film? Did Boll somehow manage to blackmail him? Meatloaf and Michelle Rodriguez make a little more sense, but seriously, how did anyone read the script and want in on this? All I can do is blame the wave of early 2000s dark and tryhard edgy movies like Under World and Blade where vampires and leather were all the rage and, of course, Boll’s complete and utter lack of talent.
2. Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark is probably the closest to Boll’s master piece of terrible filmmaking, although not quite as amazing as the last entry on this list. Alone in the Dark was his second big video game adaptation after House of the Dead. This time he managed to dig up a bit more star power getting Christian Slater and Tara Reid to star in it. What follows is one of the most terrible action/ horror films ever created. You should have a decent idea of what you're getting into when the opening two minutes of the film are devoted entirely to scrolling text with a voice over detailing the intricate backstory about the ancient Abkani and their mystical artifacts and several orphan children who were experimented on amongst other shenanigans that never really make much sense. Then the film manages to repeat this exposition several times throughout the movie just in case you didn’t get it the first time around. It also features some of the most bafflingly terrible action sequences ever committed to film with flashing jump cuts to soldiers firing weapons at CGI Giger monsters cut between perpetual unending strobe lights. The whole thing feels less like a movie and more like a child smashing some action figures together only on a much larger and more expensive scale. Which is kind of sad seeing how the original Lovecraftian inspired Alone in the Dark games are often seen as the early progenitors of the survival horror games. It’s the kind of z grade made-for-tv movie filmmaking that would turn Boll into the king of crap. Also, for the record putting glasses on Tara Reid does not make her smart or believable as a scientist.
1. House of the Dead
Okay. Out of everything else here, this is the worst. I’ve made a hobby of watching terrible movies. I’ve watched Troll 2 and The Room. House of the Dead is on par with both in terms of sheer unwatchability. Boll took a movie that, on it’s face, should be fairly hard to screw up, and just massacres it. Zombie movies are hard to make really really good, but they’re also hard to screw up. It’s like pizza. It’s there, so you might as well consume, right? How bad could it be? Well, House of the Dead intersperses clips of the game into the movie. I still don’t know why. There was no reason for it in the context of the movie other than to ram home the fact that what you’re watching is based on a video game. He uses it for transitions and during every action scene. It would be like if important events in a To Kill a Mockingbird were punctuated by some kid turning a page as he reads a book in his house with absolutely no reason ever being given as to why this keeps happening.
Oh, and then there’s the absolutely horrendous bullet time sequences when people get shot. Zombie movies do not need to be The Matrix. While we’re on the subject of shooting, somehow every single college student in this movie knows how to shoot a gun. But possibly the most egregious thing in House of the Dead was the flashback of the climactic fight sequence by a character who was just in said fight sequence. Why? We just watched the scene. We don’t need a recap. Hell, the character just lived through it. Why is he reliving the entirety of something he did less than ten minutes ago? This isn’t a flashback to the beginning of the film to remind us of something important. This isn’t even a flashback that reveals important new information. It’s just a sped up summary of events that both the audience and the character just went through right before the damn flashback started.
So there you have it our best worst Uwe Boll films. Tell us which one’s you’ve managed to endure in the comment section below.