"Blood: The Last Vampire"
(Courtesy of Festive Films)
Genre: Action Director: Chris Nahon & Chris Chow Cast: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham,
JJ Feild, Koyuki, Yasuaki Kurata RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins Released By: Festive Films & Cathay-Keris
Films & InnoForm Media Rating: M18 (Violence) Official Website:www.festivefilms.com/blood/
Opening Day: 4 June 2009
surface, Saya is a stunning 16-year old girl, but that youthful
exterior hides the tormented soul of a 400 year-old “halfling”.
to a human father and a vampire mother, she has for centuries
been a loner, obsessed with using her samurai skills to rid
the world of vampires, all the while knowing that she herself
can survive only on blood like those she hunts. When she is
sent onto an American military base in Tokyo by the clandestine
organization she works for, Saya immediately senses that this
may be her opportunity to finally destroy Onigen, the evil
patriarch of all vampires. Using her superhuman strength and
her sword, she begins to rid the base of its evil infestation
in a series of spectacular and elaborate showdowns. However,
it is not until she forms her first human friendship in centuries
with the young daughter of the base’s general that Saya
learns her greatest power over Onigen may well be her ability
for human connection…
There’s plenty of bloodletting in Gianna Jun’s
much touted Hollywood debut, the Korean actress best known
for her breakout role in My Sassy Girl. Gianna plays Saya,
a 400-year-old vampire hunter, also a “Halfling”-
born of a human father and a vampire mother- on a quest to
kill the vilest and most powerful vampire of them all, Onigen.
grudge is personal- Onigen killed her father soon after she
was born and also her mentor/ teacher Kato (played by veteran
Japanese martial arts actor Yasuaki Kurata). Copious amounts
of CGI-ed blood will spurt and spill; and arms, limbs and
heads will fly- all thanks to Saya’s very deadly katana.
Beware- there’s none of the sassiness that you’ve
so fondly associated Gianna with in here- she’s more
likely to take your head off than slap you across the face
if you cross her path.
whether playing a vampire slayer or an impertinent girlfriend,
Gianna the actress still shows she has the chops, the kicks
and the moves to impress. In Blood, she runs across rooftops,
wields a lethal samurai sword and does a 360-degrees kick;
and you’ll be amazed to know that Gianna actually performed
many of the stunts in the movie herself. And luckily for her,
with renowned action choreographer Cory Yuen on board, the
action sequences here do not disappoint.
so fortunate however is her well-intentioned attempt to inject
any sort of emotional pathos into her character Saya. Based
on the popular anime of the same name released in 2000, which
thus far has spawned mangas, novels and even a TV series,
the half-human, half-vampire Saya is portrayed here wrestling
between her humanity and her demonism. Not only is it a theme
that has been countlessly recycled in such genre movies (Blade,
anyone?), but here screenwriter Chris Chow makes little effort
to make it any more inspiring than it is unoriginal.
Gianna tries her best, but she is sadly let down by the insipid
script that plagues this movie. So is director Chris Nahon,
best known for directing the Jet Li vehicle Kiss of the Dragon.
The noted French commercial and music video director displays
a distinct flair for the visual and it shows in the many arresting
images that this live-action anime adaptation boasts. Alas
his movie is not helped by a pedestrian plot and aimless subplots
(such as the internal conflict within the Council, an organization
that Saya forms an uneasy alliance with).
same goes for the mostly uninteresting supporting characters,
including Alice, a teenage girl Saya comes to befriend and
protect; Michael, the leader of a group of operatives under
the Council; and even Onigen, supposedly the most feared and
most vicious of all vampires, whose final showdown with Saya
is surprisingly anticlimactic. By the time it’s all
over, you won’t find yourself caring for anyone of them.
other thing that could surely do with more work is the visual
effects. Particularly dire are the almost laughable creature
animation of the chiropteras (bat-like creatures that the
vampires transform into) and the poorly rendered landscapes
during the action sequences- especially one involving a truck
down a deep ravine.
is undoubtedly the best thing that this movie has going for
it. Still, it’s sad to see her energetic performance
squandered in a middling effort that could have accomplished
much more. As it is, this movie may have some teeth, but it
certainly doesn’t have much bite.
(My Sassy Girl’s Hollywood debut satisfies your lust
for blood and action- and maybe, Gianna- but little more)