Okay, so better late than never, right? I intended to see the showing of Blood The Last Vampire during AX LA, but the Palm got in the way. Thankfully, Sony Pictures unexpectedly sent me a copy a few weeks ago.
The story of Saya, the human-vampire hybrid destined to rid the Earth of the blood-sucking undead, has a near cultish following in the manga and anime world. And so, it’s no surprise that her hunt for Onigen, the strongest and perhaps progenitor of the modern vampire, has finally been translated into a live-action Hollywood flick.
Unfortunately, if you’re a disciple of either the manga or anime, this movie will probably leave you in a state of blah.
The action is definitely there. Gianna Jun’s portrayal of our katana-wielding schoolgirl is a hero only LA and the Hong Kong film industry could produce. I like her! She’s good! In fact, without her and the elegantly choreographed, gravity defying fight scenes (a la Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), we’re looking at an epic fail! There’s just no story.
Set on an Army base in the 1970’s, Saya’s mission to hunt vampires in the American high school and her eventual befriending of Alice, the General’s daughter and all around problem child, is a hollow, underdeveloped ploy to fill the space between the films opening, its consistent vampire slayings, and the Onigen climax. Much like the recent Transformers sequel, narrative logic and story telling is the fragmentary background to a pugilistic, utterly visual aesthetic – though even the special effects and CGI are not entirely impressive. This flick is just sans character development. Who the hell are Alice and her dad? Why should I give a crap about them?
Basically, if you just watched the fight scenes, you’d not only get the movie, but you’ll still enjoy it.
At any rate, Blood is popular enough to generate love for this live-action adaptation. But, like so many other critics before me, it could have been something more, something better.