Mania Grade: C
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- DVD: Blood the Last Vampire
- Rating: R
- Starring: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller
- Written By: Chris Chow
- Directed By: Chris Nahon
- Distributor: Sony Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2009
- Extras: See Below
- Series: Blood: The Last Vampire
Blood the Last Vampire DVD Review
Live Action Adaptation of the Hit Anime Film
By Tim Janson
October 19, 2009
Blood: The Last Vampire is a live action adaptation of the 2000 Anime of the same name. The original anime was light on plot and the live film is even more devoid of a succinct storyline. Saya is a half-breed human/vampire who hunts down other vampires known as chiropterans although they are never called that in the film. In fact the film doesn’t even refer to the m as vampires, only bloodsuckers or creatures. Saya works with a secretive organization known as the “council” (called Red Shield in the Anime). But what the council is, exactly, and their history remains a mystery. Their sole purpose seems to be to move Saya around so she can hunt more vamps.
The film is set on an American Military base in Japan during the 1970s although you’d be hard pressed to guess that given there’s not much that sets the tone or style of the 1970s. Saya goes undercover as a student at the base’s high school to hunt down more vamps and saves Alice (Allison Miller), the daughter of the base commander. Her eventual goal is to hunt down and destroy Onigen, the most powerful of the vampires.
The film interjects a background for Saya showing her early life as a girl centuries ago and her training with her mentor Kato. While it helps fill in Saya’s past it does little to enlighten viewers as to the history of the vampires, the council, or any other important plotline in the film. The character of Alice seemed to have been added for the sole purpose of having a character that American audiences could identify with. She adds little to the story and hinders Saya more than she helps. A sidekick isn’t something she needed!
Korean actress Gianna Jun plays Saya and does an admirable job. Her lack of true martial arts prowess is hidden through splendid harness and wire stunt work and some clever, but choppy editing. Still, the fact that she did all or most of the wire work herself was impressive. The action scenes are what keeps the film watchable. Saya’s fight with the vampires in the streets and across rooftops was a highlight as was Kato’s battle with hordes of assassins.
The film takes a stylized approach to its action with heavy use of slow-motion and CGI created blood. Rather than blood spurting out it kind of cascades off in droplets. It’s an interesting effect, if not realistic. The CGI is far less effective with the Bat forms of the vampires, which is some of the most brutal CGI seen in a long time. Put it this way, the Sy-Fy channel would laugh at the quality of the CGI.
Well-known Japanese actress Koyuki is the arch-villain Onigen but outside of being a graceful an exquisite beauty, she brings little to the role. She has one expression throughout her climactic battle with Saya and was thoroughly unimpressive. In fact, during the making of documentary, Koyuki has a look on her face like she has no desire to be on the film at all.
The bottom line is that Blood: The Last Vampire seems like an incomplete film. The story needed to be fleshed out more. As it is, you feel like you’re dropped into the middle of a film, and not a very good one.
The Making of Blood the Last Vampire (19:05) This typical making of featurette has interviews with cast and crew. A look at actress Gianna’s stunt work is featured as most of the other actors comment on what a good job she did with the role.
Battling Demons: Behind the Stunts (16:45) A closer look at the various action and stunt sequences and the choreography. One moment shows Gianna hitting one of the stunt actors a little too hard, injuring him and drawing blood.