I had high hopes for Blood: The Last Vampire. Though I thought the original anime upon which this new live-action film is based is actually a bit overrated, I enjoyed the premise. The storyline, set in an American Air Base located in post-WWII Japan, has a hundreds of years old vampire hunting girl named Saya, who hunts hematophagous bat-like creatures called chiropterans for a secret organization known as the Red Shield. The movie changes things a little bit – “The Red Shield” is now “The Council,” and Saya is given a sidekick – a human named Alice who gets pulled into the war with the vampires.
Directed by Chris Nahon (Kiss of the Dragon with Jet Li), the live action film stars relative newcomer Gianna Jun as Saya, Allison Miller as her friend Alice, and even Colin Salmon (Resident Evil) makes an appearance as Powell the gym teacher.
So how did the film turn out? Check out my full review after the jump!
Due to be released in selected theaters this Friday (see the listing of theaters at the official site), Blood: The Last Vampire has a lot to live up to. The original anime movie and follow up series, Blood+, have a very dedicated following.
The film has some great ideas, but ultimately manages to do just about everything wrong. I know that sounds harsh, but how do you mess up a film about a japanese schoolgirl killing vampires? Well, make Blood: The Last Vampire, I guess.
I’ll start off with the positive. Gianna Jun is a bright spot in this film – her Saya is pretty damn perfect. She’s got attitude, she does the fighting extremely well, and…she’s pretty hot (call me!). Unfortunately, she’s not been given incredibly much to work with.
Now for the negative. Gianna Jun is just about the only bright spot as far as acting is concerned. Even the aforementioned Salmon, who I am a big fan of, managed to suck it up in this film. The acting is either too melodramatic, or not dramatic enough. Some of the actors recite their lines as if they’re reading them from cue cards without any kind of acting behind their dull, bored eyes.
Nahon’s direction is strong – the fight sequences are relatively well done, and the quieter scenes are still pretty to look at. Still, again, his skills are wasted on an abysmal screenplay by Chris Chow (Fearless, The Eye 3). The whole point of the storyline (well, originally, anyway) about the 400-year old Saya trying to fit into high school is pretty much given a massive FIVE MINUTES worth of screen time, followed by a bunch of fighting, some pointless side stories, and an ending that, while pretty to look at, had no suspense to it whatsoever.
It’s just a shame that such a great premise is wasted on a film that basically borrows from everything except its source material. There’s a fight scene involving a truck and a winged vampire that is almost an exact match to a similar scene in Underworld: Evolution.
If you get a chance to watch Blood: The Last Vampire during it’s limited theatrical run, you may find a fun time waster. It’s not boring – it’s just not good. Still, wait till you can see it on DVD or, better yet, cable, and you’ll see you didn’t miss much.