Judge David Johnson wants to see a no-holds-barred fight between the last vampire and the last of the Mohicans.
Our reviews of Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) (published April 23rd, 2002), Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) (Blu-ray) (published December 18th, 2009), and Blood: The Last Vampire (2009) (published November 2nd, 2009) are also available.
Where evil grows, she preys.
Blood is a live-action adaptation of an anime series of the same name. If only the anime had been an adaptation of a video game, then it would all make perfect sense.
Facts of the Case
Saya is a human/vampire hybrid who's also a samurai. She works for the clandestine anti-demon organization The Council, dispatched here and there to jam her huge sword into the balls of Hellspawn. Her latest assignment is on an American military base where the mightiest demon on Earth is sniffing around. So Saya jumps into a schoolgirl costume (of course), rescues a confused American girl from gaggles of demonites, and embarks on a swashbuckling adventure crammed full of CGI blood and over stylized decapitations. Her ultimate destination: a rendezvous with the source of all vampire evil.
This whole enterprise looks like a comic book and feels like a video game. If that one sentence appeals to you, then I submit you are the film's target audience. Blood: The Last Vampire isn't a bad movie, it's just an empty-caloric movie-going experience. A fantasy/action flick that embraces a hyperkinetic shooting style and trippy visual look, while kicking substance and coherence to the curb. Then curb-stomps it.
Edit that. The plot makes as much sense as your typical Japanese-schoolgirl-vampire-samurai-kills-a-bunch-of-demons movie, which is of course a backhanded compliment. And here's another one: it doesn't make any less sense than some of the crazy anime I've seen over the years.
The narrative is just a method to keep the action scenes loosely connected to each other, and judged by that rubric, it succeeds. All Saya needs is to be motored from one demon encounter to the next, and the script allows for that. Once she does get her sword out to get her stab on, the real purpose of Blood gains traction: wholesale demon slaughter filmed stylishly with zero regard for real-world physics. The fact that Saya is a vampire earns her some slack on the aerial attacks, and director Chris Nahon goes out of his way to make sure that when she does drive her instrument of death into the brow of an undead target, the computers rendering the blood animation blow a motherboard. There is a ton of blood and gore here, but the violence is so comic book-y it never feels real. As far as I could tell, all of the blood was CGI, which certainly saves on the food coloring budget, though realism is sacrificed at the altar of garishness. That's the tone of the movie, and I get that, it's just when you fully embrace the video game angle—as Blood has—there are no consequences, and thus no real tension. What you have left is eye candy, and thankfully the eye-candy here is pretty nasty, if utterly devoid of nutritional content.
That metaphor got away from me at the end, but you know what I'm talking about. This movie is all glitz…and that just might just be enough.
The Blu-ray transfer is a looker, the bump in resolution and color saturation doing wonders to stylize the violence even further. Those computer-generated blood globules really pop off the screen. What doesn't fare well are the creature effects—and by "doesn't fare well" I mean "looks ridiculously bad." The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio offers a fine aural complement to the film's attractive visual fidelity, making for a satisfying 1-2 HD punch. Extras: two standard-def featurettes on the making-of and the stunts, and a Blu-ray exclusive storyboard gallery (whoop-dee-doo).
There's some disposable fun to be had here, but I doubt you'll remember any of it in a month or so.
A lukewarm Not Guilty.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.