Funimation // 2009 // 122 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 7th, 2011
An adventure they'll never forget...if they survive.
Akira is a young, hip kid from Japan who thought the most important thing he'd have to worry about in life was getting his sweet hairstyle to stay at that crucial 45 degree angle. That all changed when his brother went missing on a mysterious island. And not just any island, but Vampire Island. When Akira and his pals find themselves squaring off with a green-skinned bloodsucker one night, they know what their destiny demands -- travel to Vampire Island, rescue Akira's brother, and perhaps get absolutely drenched in blood.
And there you go, Escape from Vampire Island, a goofy, gooey import from the Land of the Rising Sun that's as over-the-top and delirious as the title makes it sound.
The plot really is that simple. A group of friends opt to endanger their lives by going to an island littered with vampires to embark on a suicide mission to rescue some guy's brother. Waiting for them is the undead head-honcho, a pale-white monster with flowing Edgar Winter locks and a thirst for the red stuff. He's got an island full of vamps ready to roll out, and pretty much the entire movie documents this hapless band of heroes trying to survive.
How can a few Japanese young adults with no proper self-defense training possibly hope to defeat a horde of homicidal maniacs? Good question, and one that is attempted to be answered in one of the most laughable training montages I've seen in some time. Akira gets a quick lesson from an enclave of Vampire Island survivalists and, after a few quick edits and a chirpy theme song, he's slicing through falling leaves with his sword. This would be a bit easier to digest if Escape from Vampire Island didn't take itself so seriously.
But we'll go with it, because it allows for more vampire bloodletting, which is what the production traffics in. And, to be frank, it's the only thing that will get this movie a look from horror connoisseurs. Luckily, there's much vampire immolation, as the gore pops from kill to kill, culminating in a fun, if thoroughly hard-to-believe, encounter with a giant lizard monster.
That's all there is to Escape from Vampire Island: slashing, bleeding, some quasi-erotic necking, and a hefty dose of dodgy CGI. But, you know, that just might be enough.
The Blu-ray sports a slick 2.35:1/1080p transfer, awash in clarity, which allows the voluminous effects -- both visual and practical -- to pop. The two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks (English and Japanese) are both active, though you should always ignore the dubbed option when you can. Two extras: a lengthy making-of featurette, and a DVD copy.
Not Guilty. Sure.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 122 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD Copy