Uwe Boll actually did what many filmmakers probably have dreamed of doing. The producer-director-writer challenged all of his critics to step into the boxing ring with him.
Boll specializes in video game translations, with titles that include “House of the Dead,” “Alone in the Dark” and “BloodRayne.” He has been critically lambasted throughout his career, particularly on the Internet where there have been petitions, Web sites and other activities semi-seriously demanding Boll stop making movies.
Much of the vitriol thrown at the filmmaker goes beyond the realm of criticism. The director has received numerous death threats from online critics, many of whom attack the man behind the film.
It all became too much during the filming of “Postal,” which is based on the “Running With Scissors” game of the same name that has been banned in 13 countries. This summer, Boll, a former semi-professional boxer in Germany, challenged all of his critics to take him on pugisitically.
While a Google search will find endless pages of critics, the only four that were willing to accept the free trip and accommodations to Vancouver were Something Awful webmaster and CEO Richard “Lowtax” Kyanka, Ain’t It Cool News journalist Jeff Sneider, Rue Morgue Radio announcer Chris Alexander and online movie critic Nelson Chance Minter. Each of the contestants is roughly half the age of the 40-year-old Boll.
What began as a small series of successive three-round boxing matches ballooned into an event when GoldenPalace.com stepped in as a sponsor. Boll’s matches were preceded by local kids from Cobra Kai Academy performing a demonstration of martial arts, and followed by more legitimate boxing and kickboxing matches featuring such local fighters as Paul Tyrl, Mike Dowsett, Matt Anderson, Don Wilson, Nate Gray and Lindon Chambers.
Actor Michael Pare, who appears in “Postal,” introduced each critic/fighter and then handed them the microphone, where three of them proceeded to make the most of their 15 minutes of fame by publicly criticizing Boll and his film efforts. None of the critics lasted past the second round, with two of the four TKOs coming in the first round.
Being a businessman at heart, Boll put the proceedings on pay-per-view and will use footage in his upcoming projects. The four, three-round fights at the Palace of Nations are available for $5 from Wavelit.com and were filmed by a crew to be incorporated into Boll’s new “Postal” movie. Pare wore the track suit he wears as Panhandler in “Postal” to emcee the event.
Other actors from “Postal,” including Zach Ward, Ralf Moeller and Chris Spencer, were spectators for the fight. Kristanna Loken, who has agreed to star in Boll’s “BloodRayne 2” in February, and Omar Benson Miller also were in the audience.
Outside the ring, Boll’s critics should have plenty of new fodder to write about. The director is finishing the special effects for the $60 million Jason Statham fantasy film “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” which will screen at AFM this year. He’s also filmed the 1970s-set horror film “Seed,” starring Pare.
By February, Boll said, he will film “BloodRayne 2” in Vancouver with Loken and Pare attached to star. In the spring, the director will turn Ubisoft and Crytek’s best-selling video game “Far Cry,” into a movie. The director is talking to Statham about the lead role, and Pare has committed to the project. Boll also is considering a direct-to-DVD sequel for “Alone in the Dark.”
Then there’s “Postal,” which will wrap next month. That movie is expected to hit theaters in 2007. In addition to writing the script, directing and producing the twisted comedy, Boll will appear in the movie as himself, which should give the Internet yet another target.