Blood: The Last Vampire

July 1, 2009

It must be quite nice to be a British actor at the moment. Watch any American drama, HBO or otherwise, and you’ll be sure to spot a friendly face from the UK Yanking it up. Apparently Brit actors work harder and are cheaper to hire than Americans. Good for them. This trend has continued into the Hollywood film, though I’ve never seen quite so many Brits in integral roles as in Blood: The Last Vampire, the latest in the string of Americanised live action re-imaginings of Japanese Anime classics. I’ll get the plot and what I thought out of the way first before we check out who was sipping tea back stage and hamming up the accent on screen.

I liked the original Anime version of Blood. It was short, violent and lacked too much establishing dialogue or material that would have dampened the impact of the visual style. Apparently the makers of the live action version thought the complete opposite. They imbue the whole thing with quite a lot of additional background info, making us learn about Saya’s (the vampire slaying heroine) past but leaving gaping holes in explanation elsewhere. Like why an ancient order, somehow staffed exclusively by Americans, is constantly interfering with demons on foreign soil. Especially when the demons in question appear to be native to the land in question. Perhaps its a cutting satire on the state of American foreign policy, but I doubt it. Anyway, the plot is unnecessarily extended to fill the 90 minute run time and if you’re inclined to pay attention to what’s going on you’ll be a bit irritated. If you can block out the plot the action is passable. Early scenes are filled with blood and dismemberment, but it’s mostly unconvincing CGI blood and repetitive slaying of inept demons. The action gets a lot better later on when things get a bit surreal, flashbacks ensue and the dreamworld finale fight is one of the most visually enjoyable moments. It’s not a great film and most will be bored by it, but fans of the Anime or of gore will find something to like.

Now, the cast. Larry Lamb who most readers will know from his roles as Archie in the UK soap EastEnders or Gavin’s dad Mick from sitcom Gavin and Stacy does an admirable job. He’s playing a US colonel with an accent that’s convincing, and like most other people he looks to be having fun in a silly film. Colin Salmon, who’s done extensive TV work in the UK and edged into Hollywood in Brosnan’s Bond films as well as fun tripe like Alien Vs. Predator etc, is also doing his usual big chap act, this time wearing some vampish facial prostheses. Dublin born Liam Cunningham is also present, though his weak accent and slightly brittle style makes him stand out perhaps for the wrong reasons. On the flip side those of you who’re used to watching Anime with terrible dubbed voice overs may feel more at home with this performance. It seems the best performances come from those with their tongues stuffed in their cheeks. It’s also the only way you’ll be able to enjoy the experience. I’m going to see Public Enemies today so my faith in Cinema should soon be restored.


One Response to “Blood: The Last Vampire”

  1. Cello Says:

    I reviewed this movie last week on my movie review blog, I agree the anime was great because it was so condensed and short and there wasn’t alot of filler, something this movie could have benefitted from! Great write up!

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