I sure can pick them lately. Ironically, I was pretty excited to this one. Not into Anime at all, but the story of "Blood: The Last Vampire" has intrigued me so when it became a live action film, I got my hopes up. Of course, then it wasn't in stock anywhere in town and I ended up renting. Good thing too, as it really wasn't worth the dollar I paid for it.
Of course, it didn't help I got my hopes up for it. Directed by the guy that did "Kiss Of The Dragon" with Jet Li, with some bad ass ninja and vampires - it was a horror/kung fu fan's dream come true...on paper. Conceptionally, its still a very cool story, but it pretty much failed on every level of execution. Damn. It's harsh, but true.
I think the film's first mistake was its awful pacing. The focus was placed so firmly on the style of the film and its action sequences that they forgot, oh yeah, there's a damn story in here! Consistently throughout the film, the dialogue is rushed through to get the plot cruising so they can get to the next big sequence which is almost always an action scene. The acting doesn't help with the pacing either, Allison Miller fumbles her way through the film and poor Jun (whom plays our vampire slayer, Saya) feels awkward with expressing herself in English. The language definitely feels foreign coming from her and coupled with the poor dialogue - everything just feels shoddy. We also get tons of randomness in this film. The film tries to give us some back story to Saya that feels out of place when it shows up and far too much like exposition for the sake of padding the film then it does allowing us to see our anti-hero's life. But that isn't all folks.
So if the story is poorly constructed and poorly expressed, who cares, right?! We have a ninja lady killing fucking vampires! Who needs backstory with a concept like that?! Unfortunately, even in this area "Blood" fails hardcore. The action sequences are far too Americanized for their own good (lots of quick zooms, moves, and edits that butcher most of the actual choreography) and the over-the-top style only works in some cases. The ninja fight in the forest with her trainer comes to mind when it didn't work. Ninja pop from every corner without any logistical reason and even...burrow through the leaves?! I can only go so far even with this story, guys. By the end of the film I was so done with its style and poor editing that I didn't care about the fight sequences anymore. Where is the integrity for classic kung fu?!
Not to mention that this film has some of the worst special effects I have EVER seen. At first, I was going with some of the cheesy effects, writing it off on the low budget, then they had these CGI vampire/demons that looked like something from a direct to video release in 1994. The entire fight with the vampire on the truck in the chasm was hair tearing poor. Oh damn, whoever did the effects should go back to school.
I would like to say that this film just didn't convert from Anime to live action well, but since I never saw the Anime, all I can do is blame this movie for being far too shitty for its concept. How could you go wrong with Ninja and vampires?! Well, don't answer that, cause I just saw it.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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