Much maligned German filmmaker Uwe Boll announces retirement and we look at some of his movies that are actually really good
Much has been written lately about the life and times of Dr. Uwe Boll, the larger-than-life producer/director who made his millions by making a series of German/Canadian genre films, most of them adaptations of beloved video game franchises. Early titles like House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark sadly sealed Boll’s fate with the cinema press and gamers alike and with good reason as, by contemporary genre film standards, they just weren’t very good. A big part of the problem with those early pictures was that Boll was trying to make what he thought was a commercial horror or science fiction film, but something literally seemed lost in translation. That, and the fact that Boll is an ace producer but was still trying to to find his footing as a director.
So the world dumped on Boll. Lots. I did too. In fact, I was one of the four people who actually fought Boll in a highly-publicized boxing match stunt dubbed “Raging Boll”. You can read all about that battle here. And yeah, I lost, but I learned to like Boll. I spent plenty of time with him post-match and instead of the loud-mouthed, defensive Teutonic cartoon he had positioned himself as, I learned that Boll — who is indeed a Doctor — was rather brilliant. An eccentric, yes. Maybe even a bit too under pressure for his own good. But a man who literally knew everything about film. About world cinema. About horror and fantasy movies. A man passionate about the medium he had devoted his life to and both confused and hurt by the endless viral abuse he was getting ad nauseum.
I talked to Boll recently, a chat spurred on by the announcement that after the release of his latest film Rampage 3: President Down (out on iTunes and VOD tomorrow), he will be giving up on making movies.
“When the German money dried up, everything changed,” Boll told me.
“I had to start using my own money to make my movies and the world of making these kind of movies and exhibiting them was changing. When Blockbuster died and the industry changed and everything became Netflix and Hulu, there was no money to be made by making the kind of movies I was making. I’m tired. I’m going to just run my restaurant and my company and stop directing. I’m too old now. I don’t have it in me.”
And though many journos are making sport of this “farewell tour,” I hope it’s not really goodbye for Boll. Cinema needs more two-fisted wild-men like Boll, people with guts and passion and — for better or for worse — aren’t afraid to speak their mind.
“Critics always were so mean to my films. Even the serious ones, the ones I put so much of myself into, they just never gave them a chance. All the bad reviews and bad press. And because I was always trapped in the same B-level zone, I could never afford a big actor to push my films into that next level.”
Indeed, amongst Boll’s middling to lousy genre quickies, the man made a series of rather excellent and often very personal and political movies that got lost in the shuffle, unfairly.
Here then, amidst the 33 movies directed by the man, are seven really good Uwe Boll movies that might just make you change your mind about those things you thought and said about Boll. You don’t need to step into a boxing ring to work out that negativity. Just give these flicks a chance…
Do you think we’ve heard the last of Uwe Boll? Do you think his work is worth a closer, more serious-minded look? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…