|Tags: action, based on anime, blood, blood the last vampire, Chris Nahon, Ji-hyun Jun, live action, military, ninja, samurai, swordplay, vamps|
Cast:Ji-hyun Jun, Allison Miller, Masiela Lusha, Liam Cunningham, Colin Salmon, Koyuki
The original OVA came out back in 2000 and I remember renting it at the time and really diggin' it. I even spoke to my friend about how cool it'd be if they made it into a live-action film. Now it's 2009 and a live-action feature is now available, but sadly, it's far from what I expected it to be. I wanted to like this movie, but it just had so many problems with it that are hard to overlook. Specifically the CGI -- wow, I hadn't seen such bad CGI for a bigger-budgeted flick in quite some time. The look of the vampires after they turned into their original beastly forms was pretty bad. Not only that, but they all pretty much look the same. The regular grunt vampires were your typical "Buffy" vamps, offering no real original characteristics for the film, except for the fact that they all tend to wield swords for some reason.
So the story is set in the 70's and we follow Saya (Ji-hyun Jun) a "half-breed," who works for a secret government organization that hunts down vampires throughout Japan in hopes of luring out their main objective -- "the most powerful demon in the world" named Onigen (Koyuki). The first 40-or-so minutes is basically the OVA that it's based on, with some minor changes here and there. The other half of the flick is all fairly new material, even offering some back-story on Saya herself, which was definitely lacking in the anime. Sadly, the back-story is basically the only thing I liked best about the movie. The scene between Saya's mentor fighting off several ninja-like swordsman was a pretty sweet sequence -- badass old dude.
The flick offers your pretty standard storyline, and throws in the usual cliches, like Saya having to protect the daughter of an army general after she witnesses too much and some backstabbing within the organization. Then it came down to the final showdown between Saya and Onigen, with an added "twist" revealed towards the end, as if the viewer couldn't already guess what it was by then. You'd expect the "most powerful demon" to put up more of a fight, but I have to admit that (although nice visually) the fight was probably the weakest in the entire film.
Of course the movie isn't entirely bad. I did enjoy it from the start and I'm actually a fan of South Korean actress Ji-hyun Jun (who plays the Japanese Saya), so her dawning the role was a nice treat for me. Also the movie did serve up a couple nice fight sequences, showcasing Saya's dominance with the sword. During most of these scenes we get a lot of slow-mo and sped-up swordplay, which was made popular in Zack Snyder's 300, and works decent here too. There's also an aight amount of blood and some decapitations here and there, but sadly they opted to have the vamps and beasts spew out black blood, which proves less effective than it would have had they stuck to the red stuff.
A disappointing film that suffers from a horrible script, bad CGI, and at times some questionable acting. However, I was still entertained by some of the fight sequences and swordplay. Worth a check if you're a fan of the anime or want some decent swordplay action.
|Posted on July 21, 2009 - 2:52pm | FrighT MasteR|