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Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

by on 2010/05/12

Japanese school girls. Samurai swords. Ancient evil. Vampires.

Blood: The Last Vampire has all of the above in heaping helpings. How could it possibly go wrong?

Based on the anime series of the same name, the film centres on Saya (Gianna), a half-human, half-vampire warrior. Like Blade, Saya wields a fearsome sword but unlike Blade, is positively adorable in her Japanese school girl disguise.

The first few scenes of the film were very promising indeed. Watching Saya kick her samurai sword out of her backpack when confronted by vampires gave me shivers.

Yet as quickly as the awesome was delivered like a roundhouse kick to the jaw, the problems began.

Saya fights vampires for the Council, a covert organization mandated to stamp out super evil. Her handler, Harrison, played by Liam Cunningham is more late-night infomercial announcer than Giles the Watcher.

Sent by the Council to investigate evil doings on a Japanese military base, Saya poses as an ambassador’s daughter and is introduced to a general’s daughter Alice (Allison Miller). Watching Saya kick mean girl vampire ass when the class bullies are revealed to be undead as well as unkind definitely didn’t suck. However this altercation saves Alice who we are then stuck with for remainder of the film.

A 70s wild child and rebellious daughter, Alice is almost unwatchably petulant, whiny, shrill and generally irritating. Saya’s every bit the flinty hero and Alice is the damsel you wish would just run, break a pump and hide …far, far away. But alas…

In the events that follow, we get to watch Alice and Saya by turns flee and fight demonic forces. And by demonic forces, I mean the $1 worth of clay and minced-up garbage bag that make up the unforgivably poorly executed stop-motion claymation vampires that pursue them.

50’s Film legend Ray Harryhausen was doing better special effects than Blood’s super demons when grandma was pushing a hoop with a stick (with a stick) for fun. Jaded as I am, I demand more from my movies.

I wanted to love this film and there are indeed moments to love. Notable is Saya’s confrontation with the queen of the demons, Onigen (Koyuki). Beautifully staged and filmed, this is a scene worthy of this outstanding character and overall concept.

Unfortunately, the problems outweigh the positive in this flawed offering. I’m now on the hunt for the anime series.

* *

Rated R for stylized violence

89 minutes

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