Blood: The Last Vampire

Time Out New York Project: Issue #719, July 9-15, 2009

★★☆☆☆

Dir. Chris Nahon. 2009. R. 91mins. Gianna Jun, Allison Miller, Koyuki.

This live-action adaptation of Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s popular anime one-off from 2000 appears to have been made by a company of finches tweeting, “Cheap…cheap.” It’s twice as long as its predecessor and about five times as stupid, especially when the weightless digital effects take over. Dolby-assisted thuds and pixelated arterial sprays are the orders of the day, in addition to a multinational cast that ensures better bang for the import-export buck.

Pleasure is to be had, though, in watching Korean actress Gianna Jun as half-breed vampire Saya, who is on a government-sanctioned rampage against any and all bloodsuckers. Never underestimate the power of a Japanese schoolgirl uniform or a well-placed roundhouse kick to excite the slobbering adolescent within. Saya is the girl of many a teenage dream, even that of the submissive sidekick (Miller), whose friendship with the vamp slayer alternates intriguingly between platonic and sapphic awe.

The action scenes are for shite, save a flashback forest attack by leaf-covered ninjas who torture Saya’s mentor (martial-arts movie superstar Yasuaki Kurata) in ways that would make Hellraiser’s Pinhead proud. By comparison, the final confrontation with supreme demon Onigen (Koyuki) is a sequel-ready anticlimax light on coherence and heavy on CG chiffon. The producers should just submit this thing to NewFest.—Keith Uhlich



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