The 'World's Worst Director' Fights Back

  • Share
  • Read Later
Mention German-born filmmaker Uwe Bollís name in certain circles—especially those of the Internet geek variety — and youíre sure to be pummeled by an onslaught of negative adjectives and metaphors. Indeed, Boll is no stranger to criticism: when his film Alone in the Dark—based on the video game of the same name—came out in 2005, critics called it "overblown, amateurish gibberish," and used it as proof that Boll "belongs in the pantheon of inept directors." His follow-up film BloodRayne, another video game adaptation, was equally panned, and left critics declaring that he was "fast becoming one of the worst directors on the planet." Just this week in fact, TIMEís book critic wrote a pained reflection about a detractor who had dubbed him "the Uwe Boll of the book reviewing world."

So what does the worldís worst director do when he gets tired of such revilement? "What any successful filmmaker would do," his press release boasts: challenge his enemies to a boxing match. And so Boll, 41, a former amateur boxer with 10 years experience, has done just that. This weekend, on the set of his newest film Postal—you guessed it, another adaptation of a violent video game, set to open in 2007—he will enter a boxing ring with four Internet film critics, one after another, for a three-round slugfest that he hopes will teach critics a lesson about who theyíre slamming. For their trouble, and their bruises, theyíll receive free airfare and hotel accommodations in Vancouver, and roles as extras in the film.

The entire match will be sponsored—and broadcast over the Internet—by Golden Palace Casino, which in the past has concocted marketing campaigns for oddities like Britney Spearsí pregnancy test, William Shatnerís kidney stone, and the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Says Golden Palace Marketing director Drew Black: "This was just a perfect fit—what filmmaker is going to take their critics to the point to say, you donít like me, put up your dukes?"

And the critics should be prepared to defend their opinions, says Boll. "If you read the BloodRayne reviews, it is completely ridiculous: 75% of the review is about me as a person and nothing about BloodRayne," he says. "Iím not expecting good reviews, but still, in any review there should be at least a few lines of the technical work of the movie -- whoís in it, whatever. They can write that they donít like the movies, but this didnít happen. And this was so annoying that I said at some point, ĎLook I want to fight these guys."

Heíd already gotten his chance earlier this month, when he boxed the Spanish film critic known only as "Oso," from the website Boll deftly defeated the oafish Oso, knocking him to the ground several times, though never completely out. At the end of the one-sided fight, Boll said in a prepared statement, "Contrary to what those stupid, weak critics say, I have now proven that my movies are fantastic."

"The reason why the Spanish critic survived in the ring was that I felt bad for him," Boll later told TIME, after conceding that there is, in fact, no correlation between his win and the ability to direct a feature film. "I hit him a few times, he went down a few times, but then I felt bad because he was completely defenseless." His other challengers may not be so lucky. So vitriolic are Bollís feelings towards the content creators at Ainít it Cool News —a website capable of generating so much Internet buzz about a film that it was featured in the HBO series Entourage—that when his request to fight Ain't it Coolís reviewer who slammed BloodRayne was turned, he agreed instead to battle Jeff Sneider, a freelancer for the site who had never even seen one of Bollís movies.

"Honestly, I have nothing better to do this weekend," Sneider says of the forthcoming bout. Not all of Bollís contenders are taking the fight so casually. Chris Alexander, a critic for Rue Morgue Magazine in Toronto, has been training five hours a day for the past three months, and has reportedly been taking tips from punk rocker Alice Cooper and actor Verne "Mini Me" Troyer. Of the four remaining contestants, he is the only one expected to put up any sort of fight. Boll, however, is still cautious: "I have a few disadvantages," he says. "I have to do four fights in a row—that is super-exhausting. I cannot box 12 rounds. If I donít knock some people out in the first rounds I will not survive the last fight."

As for his filmmaking, Boll admits he's an easy target for critics, though he says he canít stop making video game movies because of pressure from the international financiers who bankroll his films. "I hope that at least a few people will not try to be trendy in trashing Boll," he says. " I hope a few people start focusing on the movie more if theyíre writing about a movie, or if theyíre writing about me they at least write about Bollís fight of the situation, so that Iím not a complete retard." But, he admits, "I have the feeling that no matter what I do it will turn against me."