When director Uwe Boll invited four of his harshest internet critics up to Vancouver to go three rounds in a boxing ring with him, I had to get involved. What follows is my blog from the time I spent on and around the set of Uwe Boll's Postal...
"Postal" Day 1: Thursday, 21st September 2006
It's about 6:55pm Vancouver time, which means 2:55am London time to my poor tired head, and I'm standing in the lobby of a posh hotel, looking around for Uwe Boll's publicist, Bill Wanstom. I've been told to look for a man who "looks like a grumpy Santa," but right now this lobby looks like it's holding a grumpy Santa convention. Tubby, bearded men looking like they definitely don't want any screaming kids sitting in their laps are everywhere; seriously, I can see at least six of 'em.
Luckily for me, I soon hear a booming voice talking into a mobile phone. "Hi, this is Bill. I told them to be here at 7pm, and I can't see anyone..."
I hasten to introduce myself; it takes maybe another 10-15 minutes to round up everyone else and whisk us off to a run-down gym out in the middle of nowhere. ("Everyone else" being Chris Alexander and his entourage from Rue Morgue magazine; Nelson "Chance" Minter; Jeff Sneider from Ain't It Cool.com; self-professed “workhorse actor” Andrew Jackson, Michael Paré, some guy involved with the production named Trevor, my university roommate Andrew Mickel, and, eventually, Something Awful's Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka and his wife, who aren't even staying at the same hotel as us due to some unholy mix-up.) The gym, when we get there, has a smallish boxing ring on one side; some punch bags littered about the place; a couple of bald-headed scary looking dudes with too many tattoos, and about a million movie cameras. Okay, well, maybe around five or six. There's a shedload of other journos there, too, including one representing UK mag Empire and a guy who may or may not be writing about it for Fangoria. We chat for a while before the man himself, Uwe Boll, shows up – with his dogs and another boatload of film-types in tow.
The first thing I hear him ask is “Are there any press here?” which strikes me as kind of funny. Basically, we're all here because Boll issued a challenge to the internet: he was sick enough of the bad reviews of his movies and general Boll-bashing that he would fly his five harshest critics to Vancouver, and then get in a boxing ring to go three rounds with him. The reason I'm here is because I responded to that challenge complaining that it wasn't fair that his critics got a free holiday to Vancouver -- I'd reviewed House of the Dead positively and had personally stood up for Boll on the IMDB message boards, and I wasn't going to get the chance to go up there. He invited me to come along, though obviously, being a girl and all, I wasn't about to get into a boxing ring with a semi-pro boxer with more than eight years of fighting experience. (Luckily, there are people far dafter than me who were willing to take him up on his challenge – enter Lowtax, Jeff, Chris and Chance.) The first fight took place around the beginning of September in Spain, with a Spanish writer; the fight was uploaded to YouTube and it became apparent that Uwe Boll was a force to be reckoned with.
Anyway, like the good little fangirl I am, I scamper over to introduce myself. Boll has a quick chat with each of his challengers, sorting out who needed to be kitted out with equipment and so forth, and I basically run around taking pictures of everyone and everything. Like, for example, Chance beating the hell out of a punch bag in an impressive manner, before giving Jeff some pointers (which seemed, worryingly, to be all the training he'd done). After some more general schmoozing, Uwe Boll and another director named Brooke Burgess get into the ring to have a sparring match.
I've been totally unable to find any physical stats on Uwe Boll, but he's got to be around 5'7” – 5'8”, and though he looks to be in good shape, he's not huge or anything. Burgess is, according to the press release, 6'2” and 185lb, and they actually seem to be fairly well matched. Until the crucial moment – Burgess called time, claiming that Boll had backed him into a corner and carried on punching him. The ref's unconcerned, but Burgess has had enough, and leaves the ring. Unfortunately, I am an idiot and was too busy trying to get a photo to actually see what happened, so I won't make any kind of judgement on whether Boll was actually fighting dirty or not.
With the slightly sour taste of that dispute in our mouths, we drove back to the hotel, and although I know people did go out drinking that night, I'm ashamed to report that considering I was still on London time, I just went to my room and crashed.