Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Blood The Last Vampire |
Actors: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham, JJ Feild, Koyuki
Director: Chris Nahon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
The deadliest assassin to stand the test of time. From a Producer of Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes Blood: The Last Vampire, based on the cult hit anime series. Demons have infested Earth. And only one warri... more »
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I'm not here for those bottom-feeders
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/09/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Currently movie vampires are beautiful, seductive, and opulent. Well, most of them, anyway.
Things are a bit different in "Blood: The Last Vampire," adapted from a gorgeously animated, plot-thin anime. It's a fast-moving, gory flick with plenty of vampires and swords, but it also suffers from a cluttered storyline (what's the point of the Elder again?) and a predictable plot twist at the end. Jeon Ji-hyun makes a brilliant dhampiric anti-heroine, though.
As the movie opens, we see a mysterious young girl, Saya (Jun), on a train. When the lights go out, she savagely attacks a man at the other end of the train with a sword. Turns out he's a "bloodsucker."
Half-vampire Saya works for the mysterious Council, and a kindly man-in-black named Michael -- but only until they find the vampire overlord Onigen. When people start dying on an American army base, she has to go undercover at the base high school. Unfortunately the general's daughter Alice (Allison Miller) sees Saya slaughtering a couple of vampires in the school gym, and later wanders into a vampire bar. She's as bright as a smashed lightbulb.
And some of the people working for the Council are determined to kill anyone who interferes in their work -- including Alice's father, General McKee. Alice ends up on a desperate road trip with Saya, trying to dodge the malevolent vampires that are tracking her new buddy. But Onigen is tracking them now, and it's becoming very personal. Cue a Big Reveal of epic clicheness about Onigen and Saya.
"Blood: The Last Vampire" is changed in many ways from the original OAV, such as Saya's background and her being a dhampir. The whole second half is basically invented by writer Chris Chow -- complete with a rosy-eyed look at Saya's youth -- while preserving the bleak, dimly-lit look that the anime had.
Unfortunately, the first half is messy -- there are too many characters (the Elder doesn't DO anything!) and plot elements (Vietnam war criticism from a VAMPIRE?) that feel randomly inserted. Fortunately director Chris Nahon chops away all the deadwood in the latter half of the movie, and gives the visuals a surreal beauty -- bleak rainy streets, misty forests, and a wuxia-style climax full of fire, water, blood and floating veils.
While the first action scene almost gave me a seizure (slow-mo! FAST! Slow-mo! FAST!), the splattery fight scenes become cooler later on: Saya smashing through buildings, slicing enemies apart, and dueling with a flying vampire on a rickety bridge. And the vampires are wonderfully ghastly -- bat-winged, fanged, slimy-skinned monstrosities who splatter dark blobby blood. Also, two words: Vampire. NINJAS.
Jeon Ji-hyun/Gianna Jun is absolutely stunning in this role -- she jumps, kicks, spins, slashes, and infuses her character with a sense of hollow loneliness that nothing can heal. And she plays a very different Saya in the flashbacks from four hundred years ago, when her innocence was shattered by her own vampiric nature. Miller does a decent performance as the whiny Alison, and the stunning Koyuki does a pretty good job as the malevolent Onigen.
"Blood: The Last Vampire" suffers from a ragged first half, but it tightens up into a much more beautiful and memorable movie in the second. If nothing else, watch it for Jeon Ji-hyun."
Not the least bit disappointed!
Angelus Draven | Abilene, TX | 10/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When the animated version of this film first came out on DVD in 2002, I bought it right away. The animation at the time was amazing and beautiful compared to other anime released around the same time. The only gripe I had about it was that it was short, left us with a HUGE cliffhanger at the end and many questions unanswered. For years I had been waiting for them to make at least a sequel. My prayers were answered with the 50-episode series, Blood+. Instead of continuing the movie, Blood+ was revamped to fit a thicker story and plot. Needless to say, I was very happy with it.
So what was going through my mind when I saw a bootleg version of this live-action movie? "Nah, dont expect too much but just watch it since you have nothing better to do today". I'm an anime lover and infatuated with the Japanese culture as a whole, but 95% of their action movies have disappointed me, so I didnt expect much to begin with. As soon as I popped this in and saw the first few minutes, I thought "Wow, when was this made? Early 90's?". As the movie went along, I noticed a number of scenes from the animated version were integrated into the movie. I was very impressed that they did that on top of expanding on the story and action.
The action was absolutely great, but you have to either appreciate the anime versions or "kung-fu" movies to begin with. If you're not into this genre, don't bother wasting your time looking for a deep, twisting plot. This is purely entertainment. Especially now that the Twilight series has taken the world by storm(at least in America), you wont find any Vampire/Horror movie with an "original" plot anymore. I'm also a fan of horror movies, but the genre has become dull.
Bottom line: Watch this movie if you have somewhat interest in ANIME or KUNG-FU type films. If not, don't waste your time."
3 ½ Stars: Samurai Swordplay and Japanese Vampire Lore Colli
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 09/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vampires and Samurai action; a great combination. Such as the case with "Blood the Last Vampire", an anime film made in 2000. It garnered a cult following that several interpretations were made in different mediums. The one-shot (sequel to the anime film) manga by Benkyo Tamaoki was published in 2001, that was also inspired by the anime cult classic film directed by Kitakubo Hiroyuki which has also spawned a Japanese TV series called "Blood +". "BLOOD THE LAST VAMPIRE" is the live-action treatment of the anime film which was released in 2008 in Japan under the title "Last Blood" (aka. Rasuto Buraddo). Directed by Chris Nohan (Kiss of the Dragon) with screenplay written by Chris Chow, the film focuses on a half-human, half vampire girl named Saya who hunts and kills full-blooded vampires and shape-shifting demons in alliance with the humans. It stars Korean bombshell Jeon Ji-Hyeon (My Sassy Girl) in the lead, who is credited as Gianna Jun in this film. I was fortunate that the film is playing on a limited engagement in San Francisco.
Saya (Jeon Ji-Hyeon) is a 400 year old half human, half-vampire who was sired by a human demon/vampire hunter and a vampire mother. Raised and trained to become a hunter by a man called Kato, Saya is now the chief operative of a secret organization who hunts vampires called the 'Council', in her quest to seek out the most powerful vampire, Onigen--also said to be one of the oldest of the vampires. Saya is sent to go undercover at a U.S. air force base located in Japan. Saya is a loner and likes to work alone, but as fate would have it, she forms an uneasy friendship with a girl named Alice after she saved her from other demons. Saya is determined to kill her way to find Onigen, but now it seems like the hunter has become the hunted...
When Bill Kong announced the live-action rendition of "Blood the Last Vampire" and decided to shoot the film primarily in English rather than Japanese, I was excited. The film had experienced several hurdles before it went to production, but hey, I guess this is what happens when American filmmakers invest in the making of a film. The film's backdrop takes place during the 1970's with the shadow of the Vietnam War looming in Japan. The film follows the plot and tone set by the anime series, as shape-shifting demons and vampires are living among the human population, they are everywhere and Saya is on the road for vengeance as the most powerful vampire, Onigen (played by Koyuki, Last Samurai) is the one who had killed her father centuries ago. The film is a story of vengeance and redemption, and the script by Chris Chow does remember to explore the depths of Saya's soul; yes, Saya is a vampire with a conscience, raised by humans with some very human emotions and sensibilities.
Much of Saya's background is told in the form of her own narration. I was quite pleased that although Saya looks like someone in her early twenties, she acts like a mature, experience-rich woman. Nicely portrayed by Jeon Ji-Hyeon, Saya is a vampire whose soul is torn between the human world and the demon world. She is at odds with herself, and one may say that her hatred for Onigen is the one catalyst for her to hunt down her own kind. Saya is half human, therefore she can walk under the sunlight, all the more having the same strengths and weaknesses as her full-blooded brethren. Saya still feeds on blood, but she hasn't murdered anyone for them. It does open a small plot hole as to how and when she stopped aging, or if she ages rather slowly but I was willing to overlook this minor gap. The direction by Chris Nohan does also capture the mood, the tone and the atmosphere of the Japanese anime. The film also features several scenes that are reminiscent of the anime film; the film's opening act carries a lot of nostalgia for its fans as well as the scene in the file room. Some kill scenes and death scenes look like they came from the anime.
Now, granted, this is an action-fantasy film; so does "Blood the Last Vampire" deliver in the action sequences? Yes and No. Yes: There is a lot of action and the fight choreography by Corey Yuen is pretty stylish, cool and intense at times. The use of the usual wire-fu is inherent in the film's fights. There is a lot of slashing and dicing done by lovely Jeon Ji-Hyeon. The film's fights are full of cool posturing complete with moody stares; it does have a similar attitude to its source material. The fights have that usual bone-crushing impact and stylish swordplay. No: As cool as the film's fight sequences were, they aren't really very different from those seen before and offers very little that is fresh or inventive. The camerawork needed to hang back a little so the viewer can see the moves; I don't mind the occasional slow-motion as long as it is done right, but the editing had a few missteps that there was a scene with a truck on the cliff that Saya is seen with her sword then Alice tosses it to her--Flawed editing truly hurts an action film.
The film has its share of blood and gore, but most of them were CGI-enhanced. I thought this ruined the film's tone, the anime had the signature Japanese arterial spray-blood splattering effects, why did the filmmakers resort to cheap CGI? The film's fights would have felt more faithful to the anime if it utilized red ink and prosthetics. Also, the CGI-generated monsters look very cheap and rather fake; a clear indication of its limited budget. The final encounter between Saya and Onigen may also seems a little underwhelming, but keep in mind that there is an implied twist; Onigen wants Saya to embrace her demonic background. The encounter does look nifty, that seems to take place in a dream-like plane of existence but I thought it was a little too short. Koyuki is so beautiful as the evil Onigen.
The film does have its share of weaknesses in the screenplay, it may prove to be downright predictable. The film does establish the links between Saya and Onigen, and you can see the twist from a mile away. I suppose that the direction didn't put too much foreshadowing in its delivery; that any secrets is meant to be as such. I just found it a little hard to believe that the so-called twist wasn't found out within 400 years. Also, Saya's friendship with Alice felt a little too forced. Alice (played by Allison Miller) obviously was only meant as a plot device to establish some human friendship. Saya is handled by an elder named Michael (Liam Cunningham) and he was a little underused, but I thought Kato (Yasuaki Kurata) added a lot of needed depth to the film`s story. The `council' itself is a bit more fleshed out as a group of different individuals with different beliefs. The question does become asked; after Saya has killed most of the demons and vampires--what is to become of her? She is what she hunts, although she isn't without a conscience and a soul.
Overall, the film does have some missteps, but it did do a lot more things right than wrong. "Blood the Last Vampire" will no means become a classic; I did believe that while it should have been better, I was very thankful that the film wasn't a failure. The action scenes does have its share of weaknesses, but they were acceptable and better compared to those done in "Catwoman" and other Hollywood action flicks with this type of budget. The CGI-enhanced monsters and blood effects hampered the film's fight sequences and I wished for the traditional red ink. The film does fulfill the needs of the main character's development that Saya became one compelling individual. Plus, Jeon Ji-Hyeon does look convincing as a vampire-hunting school girl. The film is aimed towards fans of the anime, it does capture the mood, the tone and the attitude of the source material.
I was just happy that U.S. filmmakers didn't massacre the anime's spirit, that this Americanized version carried enough of the Japanese style and attitude.
Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]
BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE, KICKS DEMON BUTT AND TAKES NO NAMES
stryper | Canada | 10/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this movie has nothing to do with the newer anime series, BLOOD +, but is in fact a live action version of the older anime, BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE.
Secondly, where the anime relied more on stylized gore, the live action relies way more on stylized sword fighting and stunt work (which you might think would be a bad thing, where in fact it adds a really cool new dimension to the story and visuals).
You have to keep in mind, when going into the live action movie, that the original anime was done as more of a visual test than a character piece, as the animators where more concerned with the stylized look of the anime (an anime that blended 3D CGI elements and FX camera work with stylized 2D animation to achieve a bold looking, but story light, anime; technically a studio show real, to use to impress future clients looking to have them do anime for them).
Now what the live action movie does is take the 48 minute stylized anime, and turn it into a more character driven 90+ minute movie (which it does very well).
What we get with the live action film, is much more back story (told through flash backs) of the main character Saya and of her handlers (who are played more like, Men In Black types in the anime, but are given bigger roles and more fleshed out characters in the live action version).
Also, the anime story is told in the first half of the film, leaving a second half that delves into a more personal story of the Saya character which ties into the first part, in part, and also ties more deeply into her past, and gives us some insight into her motivations in the present.
As for the sword play and stunt work, I'd liken it to that in movies such as, AZUMI, with lots of great stylized sword and wire work done by a very competent, kick butt, female lead.
If I had any qualms about the film, it would be the design and sometimes execution of the demon make up and CGI treatment of the fully realized demon characters. Where as the anime versions where quite elaborate and grotesque, the live action counterparts are much more subdued and even a tad bland in comparison, and at times the CGI versions are of a lower quality than the movie needed, but that is just one little problem that doesn't destroy the rest of the film, or lessen it in anyway.
So overall I'd say that anyone looking for a live action copy of the anime, should just stick with the anime, but for those who liked the anime and would like to see it expanded upon in a live action format, and/or would like to see some great sword action to boot, then this movie is for you."