Jarv’s Schlock Vault- Blood: The Last Vampire


I never make mistakes

Jarv’s Rating: 1.5 Changs. Reasonably enjoyable stupid violent fun, but at the end of the day it’s heavily flawed and kind of shit.

Well, after the crushing disappointment that was Splice, I wasn’t feeling all that great about watching anything in particular, especially not anything that was released in the summer. However, at the same time, I’m busy watching as many vampire films as I can stomach in the hope of unearthing some that aren’t completely terrible and preferably nothing like the romance driven soppy vampiric drivel that plague the genre nowadays. Except, now that I’ve watched it I have to say that this isn’t  a vampire film.

The thing is, I know it’s got “Vampire” in the subtitle, but really, that’s a misrepresentation. I’m getting a bit sick of this, to be honest. If I purchased some food and bought a tin with “beans” written on the front, then opened it to find that it actually had tuna inside then I’d be a bit pissed off- and this is happening all the time with films. Splice, for example, is clearly being sold as some kind of cerebral Species, when it’s nothing of the sort. Or Black Snake Moan being sold as sexploitation when it’s nothing of the sort. Or Tarantino movies being sold as actual films rather than the cinematic onanism that they actually are. Anyway, you get the drift. It’s dishonest. At no point in the film Blood is the word “vampire” even mentioned. Demons are, and “old ones” quite frequently, but not “vampire”. Also, they can go about in daylight, don’t have any vampiric weaknesses, don’t really have a blood dependency and so on and so forth. These aren’t vampires. Also on this note, there’s no blood in the film- despite what the tagline says. There’s plenty of CGI squib’s bursting and showering red stuff everywhere, but it isn’t blood.

Nevertheless, they are demons, and therefore quite eligible for a small Korean woman (I know she’s meant to be Japanese, but she’s Korean) to cut them in half with a ridiculously big sword, so that’s all right then. There are also samurai, ninjas, secret societies, good actors paying the mortgage and stupid Americans so really, I can cope with the lack of vampire action.

Blood: The Last Vampire follows the adventures of Saya(Gianna) in her quest to eliminate all the demons- particularly the oldest one, an uber-bitch with head popping powers called Onegin. For reasons too confusing to think about she has to go undercover at an American Base, and much head chopping fun ensues. She also gets an annoying American sidekick (Alison Miller) who adds nothing to the story, but traipses around after her generally getting in the way. The film trundles along quite happily interspersing flashbacks with the action before climaxing with the inevitable showdown between Saya and Onegin.

 

This is not, and this isn’t going to come as a massive shock, a particularly good or even noteworthy film. The writing in this is pretty bad, but there are plenty of unintended chuckles to be had- particularly in the Darth Vader moment between Saya and Onegin-

“You kill my father”

“Child where do you think you get you’re strength from? Me, I am your mother”

“Noooo. I kill you”

Obviously, I’ve paraphrased that, but you get the idea. Which reminds, me Onegin in the final face off resembles an end of game boss from Final Fantasy- being suspended 10 feet in the air with ribbons around her. This is not a good thing.

Gianna is ok-ish as Saya, but if I’m honest, after her stunning turn in Daisy, a bit of a disappointment. Oh and don’t call yourself “Gianna”, love, your name is Ji-hyun Jun- don’t pander to us ignorant westerners. Alison Miller sucks ass as the sidekick, being at least 7 years too old for the part and having the screen presence of a small root vegetable. Other than that, there are numerous British thesps begging for a paycheck (Liam Cunningham and Colin Salmon), Japanese actors who should know better, but the acting overall is alright without being spectacular.

Then there’s the action. This is a bit of a fuckup, to be honest. It’s like Chris Nahon watched 300 and thought, it was OK, but clearly needed a bit more slo-mo. The fights themselves (particularly the ninjas in the wood) are choreographed well, and it’s good fun, however, the climactic battle is as damp a squib as damp squibs go. Furthermore, I’m starting to come round to Koutch’s thinking on this one, but CGI blood is a fucking plague and needs retiring. There’s no practical blood at all in this, but fountains and fountains of ridiculously fake looking CGI blood. Still, it’s hard to complain when demons are getting split down the middle by a Japanese schoolgirl.

Which brings me on to the effects generally. Which are shit. The demon transformations are pretty lousy really, and there are numerous fucking laughable demon effects in it. There’s one sequence in particular where Colin Salmon’s demon form is running along the side of a building that just redefines terrible. If you can’t do CGI properly, don’t do CGI.

Nevertheless, despite all of the above, it manages to be quite good fun. Ninjas and demons are intrinsically entertaining, as are 25-year-old Japanese schoolgirls, and it is really surprisingly enjoyable watching them get chopped up. It’s a thoroughly ridiculous premise, and they try to be incredibly serious with it, so the whole farrago is just kind of funny. Much to my amazement, I found myself enjoying something that I was all prepared to hate.

Overall, would I recommend it? Maybe. Add some beer, and this is a potential winner, but the ridiculous CGI blood is far too excessive and it’s a bit of a soulless experience. It’s not the worst thing I’ve seen recently, but it hasn’t exactly fucked my eyeballs either.

A great big “meh”.

Until next time,

Jarv

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

24 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault- Blood: The Last Vampire”

  1. Bartleby says :

    See, I just didn’t even have fun with it. It was too incompetent for that. It was so obviously a cultural hodgepodge and the action scenes were terrible, especially that one towards the end with the truck.

    Granted, I went into this last summer after Ebert’s positive review and was probably expecting slightly more than you were.

    I did enjoy some of the ancient Japan sequences, with the whole ‘you kill my master’ storyline, but overall….bleh.

    • Jarv says :

      I think I was ambushed by expecting it to be absolute refuse and it wasn’t as bad as that.

      Reverse Splice.

      I do agree about that Truck scene- I was thinking about Kato fighting the ninjas (easily the best bit of the film).

      • Jarv says :

        Wait wait wait- I’ve missed the most important point of your post: Ebert gave THIS a positive review?

        Christ, even I didn’t.

  2. Bartleby says :

    he gave it 3 stars. that’s one more star than he gave Brazil, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Thing.

  3. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, Im getting your review up tonight. I didnt have any time to work on the site, and I need to fix the banner image and get the categories and stuff up. My wife and I had to make an unexpected trip into the city and between that and trying to get all these screeners watched and sent back, no time to do it.

    I promise, by Grothwar’s hammer, I’ll have it up tonight.

  4. Bartleby says :

    sent you an email.

  5. just pillow talk says :

    Fuck. Demons and Ninjas…and the action scenes are shit?

    Unfuckingbelievable.

  6. ThereWolf says :

    When I saw the trailer last year, the set pieces looked kind of flat and unimpressive. I was expecting ‘epic’ but it seemed restrained.

    Correct about CGI blood.

    • Jarv says :

      Bits of it, especially the fuedal japan bits do have an epic feel. But too much of it takes place in narrow confinements, and the forcing in of American characters and historical accuracy doesn’t work at all.

      • Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

        Jesus Jarv. What are you doing to yourself? For all that’s good, put in something enjoyable for a change. Quit subjecting yourself to shit.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m the mug that sat through The Descent 2. Nothing will touch that shitfest for a while.

        I posted the link at AIBN- it’s shit.

      • Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

        I posted a link to your review of the first one. I couldn’t bring myself to link to Part 2 as you ravaged it and I figured I’d already talked about the movie too much anyway.

      • Jarv says :

        Bastarding shit film.

        I’m tempted to do a “top 10 films that shouldn’t exist” and put it in, along with the Star Wars Prequels and some remakes.

      • Jarv says :

        Also donor, Gianna was in Daisy. I don’t know whether that makes me sad or not.

      • just pillow talk says :

        It makes me a bit sad and I haven’t seen it.

  7. koutchboom says :

    I wonder if the use of CGI blood is a money thing or a personal preference?

  8. Droid says :

    This sounds a bit crap to be honest. I’m never one to rush out and watch something like this and you’ve done a fair job dissuading me from ever seeing it.

    CGI blood? Why?

  9. herr milflover says :

    Maybe you should try watching DEVILMAN next, based on another classic anime.

    The trailers made it look possibly awesome with plenty of gruesome bloody CGI flying demon fights and all kinds of cool shit, but it was a long boring talky garbagefest with maybe 15 barely decent minutes of ‘action’.

    On second thought, avoid.

  10. herr milflover says :

    I’m guessing the overly prevalent use of CGI blood is because practical blood gets expensive and if they have to do retakes then there’s no mess to clean up since it’s all done post-prod.

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