Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vampire Hunter D - sassy hand + sailor suit =

Today's slice of wire-fu features a Korean actress starring in the French-directed live-action remake of a Japanese anime with stunt direction from Hong Kong. Sadly, Blood: The Last Vampire is less a shining beacon of international cooperation than a bloody effing mess. And I never even liked the source material. The first half or so is a remake of the original anime (presumably Blood+ is a separate license), and then from there it strays off into random period wire-fu as the script completely collapses.

To be fair, this movie does have two things to recommend it. First, the awesome mean-girls-from-the-kendo-club hazing sequence, which is far too amazing a concept to be wasted on this movie. Second, the bit where Saya's mentor single-handedly wastes like twenty old-school, earth-tunneling, tree-rappelling ninja (who are presumably also vampires). This scene also teaches us that Saya has been specifically trained to hang upside-down from a tree trunk and stab someone's eye out.

Sadly, these are mere pinpricks of enjoyment drowning in a sea of nonsense. It's so fundamentally incoherent that it reminds me of Transformers 2; characters are constantly acting on information they have no reason to have, and all kinds of plot elements get introduced during the scene in which they are resolved. The movie ends when Saya and her American sidekick drive into a giant canyon right outside of Tokyo, which turns out to be some kind of timegorge that literally dumps them into a flashback where they kill the big bad, which apparently traps Saya outside the flow of normal spacetime for the sake of a last-minute Alice in Wonderland reference.

Yes, really.

Most unforgivably, the final cut removes all trace of the blacula fight that was the only reason I had any interest in seeing this. It's just kind of a sadly underachieving movie, on the whole; Corey Yuen's stunt direction is smothered in gratuitous quick cuts and sped-up footage (you'd never believe the same guy did Fong Sai Yuk or even New Legend of Shaolin), and the usually reliable Clint Mansell's score is so unmemorable that I can't recall a single piece of music. I've seen worse movies, but that's still no reason to recommend this one.

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