Blood: The Last Vampire Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short version: Blood: The Last Vampire is a fun (if forgettable) film with some extremely well choreographed fight sequences. It’s really only for the action fans out there – anyone else may want to skip it.

blood the last vampire Blood: The Last Vampire Review

Screen Rant Reviews 'Blood: The Last Vampire'

Blood: The Last Vampire is one of those action movies whose faults can be overlooked in favor of some entertaining action. There are plenty of problems to be found here: From cheesy dialogue and acting to the sometimes fake-looking CGI. But when the movie is in full-on action mode – that is, a young woman in a schoolgirl outfit hacking up vampires – it’s a lot of fun. And the fact that it stands at a tidy 90 minutes will means it’s easily re-watchable.

Based on the 2000 anime movie of the same name, Blood: The Last Vampire follows a half-human, half-vampire called Saya who spends her time hunting those who are half her kind: Vampires. Loosely working with an organization known as “The Council” which devotes itself to the hunting and killing of vampires hiding amongst the human population, Saya enrolls in a high school on an American army base in Tokyo.

Proclaimed by Saya herself, the only reason she lives is to hunt down and kill the “oldest and most powerful demon,” known as Onigen, who she believes was responsible for the death of her father when she was very young.

Most of The Last Vampire seems like padding in between each action scene. The dialogue is pretty lame at times (sometimes downright eye-rolling), and the storyline doesn’t have much to it other than a generic revenge plot. It also suffers from some not-so-great acting at times, with an army general and one of “The Council’s” agents being particularly questionable in the performance department.

But does all that really matter in a movie called Blood: The Last Vampire? The name (along with all the promo material released for the movie) promises action, not an Oscar-worthy drama. And that’s exactly what we get for the most part: The action scenes are very well choreographed, which isn’t surprising considering the guy who is credited as the “action director” here is Corey Yuen, who worked on the first two Transporter films (which, if nothing else, were impressive in the fight scene department) and a few Jet Li movies. Three action/fight scenes in The Last Vampire particularly stand out, one involving Saya’s mentor battling a dozen guys in a forest, another being a sequence in an alley, and the last being the obligatory bigger-than-the-rest end battle sequence.

blood the last vampire image1 Blood: The Last Vampire Review

More buckets of blood than you can count are spilled in this movie (as you would expect with “blood” in the title), although the blood spattering is an area where the cartoonish CGI weakens the film. Perhaps it was on purpose that the blood should look fake to give the violence that cartoonish feel, but I would have much preferred if they had gone the Shogun Assassin or Kill Bill route and used spraying blood set up by real-life devices as opposed to creating it on a computer. But again, the way the action is choreographed, along with the fact that the movie doesn’t really focus on the blood all that much once it’s flying through the air, sort of makes that weakness ultimately not matter all that much.

I was afraid going into The Last Vampire that there would be an overuse of the wire-work style of action scenes we saw in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers. And although it’s used a little here and there throughout The Last Vampire, it’s never used too much. I don’t necessarily dislike that style of action, but personally it pulls me out of a film more than “realistic action” does (if you could call flipping through the air and chopping the heads off of vampires “realistic”). Most of the action scenes consist of swordplay, and many, many vampires and all other kinds of demons getting their bodies slashed and heads chopped off.

bloodthelastvampire01 Blood: The Last Vampire Review

Playing the lead-killing lady, Saya, is Korean actress Ji-hyun Jeon, who is going by the more “Westernized” name of Gianna Jun for this movie. This is her first action role, and a big change from the type of films she’s mostly known for (romantic comedies and dramas). But she is an adequate lead, doing what needs to be done. Again, it’s not a role that calls for Oscar-worthy acting but rather the conviction that she can kick some serious ass… and trust me, she does so in spades.

What must be noted is the beautiful cinematography here by Hang-Sang Poon (Fearless, Kung Fu Hustle). It gives a nice, strange contrast to the bloody violence happening on-screen. At times the film looks cartoonish, but since it’s based on, yes, a cartoon, perhaps that was a purposeful homage to the source material. A ridiculously silly rooftop chase sequence aside, the cartoon quality of the film just adds to the fun a lot of the time.

So, even if Blood: The Last Vampire won’t be winning any acting or screenplay awards, it’s nonetheless a fun movie with some very entertaining action sequences. It’s an entirely forgettable movie and never is it what you would called “great.” But for what it is, it’s fun.

Was there really anything else to be expected?

Blood: The Last Vampire opens in the US in limited release on July 10th, 2009.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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TAGS: 3 star movies, blood the last vampire

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  1. Oh boy! All you can expect is action? You know what someone is going to say; someone is going to comment about another little film that’s nothing but action and CGI with no substance but got less than 3 out of 5. Prepare for war! :-)

  2. @JohnKayless

    I was thinking the same thing.

  3. Disappointing. I hadn’t heard of this film until just the other day so didn’t get to excited about it. I really like Vampire myth and lore. I enjoy a lot of vampire stories, but I am so sick and tired of the bad ass female super hero like character in film these days. That’s one thing that killed Underworld for me. Especially with Vampires for some reason we can’t get a great vampire movie or even a bad one with a male hero. This probably sounds a little sexist, but I don’t care. It’s just annoying at this point when we take the super thin model actresses and try to sell them as major action stars and yet when a guy is an action hero he has to be ripped most of the time. You’ll never see a guy like Micheal Cera as a believable action star yet we are suppose to buy in to super models being ones. A world in jeopardy and the only person who can save us all and destroy the most powerful creatures in the world is this super model who hasn’t eaten in 3 weeks.

  4. @Daniel F

    1st of all, this is based off an animé that indeed had a female lead.
    2nd – Did you not see Blade?
    3rd – Exactly how many bad a** female super hero like characters are there, actually?
    Not many I put forth.
    BTW I liked all the underworld movies so you may dismiss my points if you wish. :)

    Liam Neeson – Taken – great action movie and star – not ripped.
    Bruce Willis – BIG BIG action star – not ripped.
    Jackie Chan – GIANT action star – ripped, but not big.
    Mel Gibson – BIG action star – not ripped.
    Matt Damon (Bourne franchise) – not ripped.
    Keanu Reeves (Matrix) – not ripped.

    Need I go on?

  5. I’d been dreading your review of this movie, mostly because your reviews are notoriously critical, which is NOT a bad thing because then we readers know that when you give a good review, the film has definitely earned it. I’m happy that you didn’t think this movie totally sucked.

    I’m a big fan of the original movie and the anime spin-off, so I was both excited and afraid for this movie. I’m glad it doesn’t look like the movie will turn out as bad as I’d feared. Sounds like a fun, enjoyable movie, and that’s really all we can expect at most. I look forward to finally seeing it.

    In response to the kickass female lead discussion, Daniel F, I believe you’re mistaken. There are a thousand times more action heroes with useless hot chick sidekicks/love interests than strong female heroines who actually manage to kick some considerable ass. INK made several very good points. At the moment, I can only think of the Underworld, Alien, and Resident Evil franchises that achieve the opposite with kickass heroines and somewhat useless male sidekicks. (I love the Underworld movies too, but I think we can all agree that Scott Speedman’s character is pretty useless when it gets down to it)

    I think the rarity here is to find strong a hero and heroine who are evenly matched and pull their own weight in an action movie.

  6. Courney the point is these aren’t strong female heroines their tiny little nothings that manage to kick everyone’s ass. They don’t have one muscle on their body most of them and yet they can take down the most powerful of enemies.

    Ink Matt Dameon is actually an above average size guy who is pretty ripped. Have you actually seen the guy ? He isn’t small. Gibson is also a fairly big guy. Not ripped, but he isn’t a small guy. He’s fairly large. Why even list Jackie Chan he is ripped how did that help your point? He is also amazing at martial arts and is a legit action guy. No matter how bad ass some guys look Chan could actually take them because he knows what he is doing. Not a good actor, but very believable. Keanu isn’t really that big of an action star. Speed doesn’t count he just sat on a bus mostly. Matrix was a virtual world where anything is possible. Out side of that how often does he actually kick ass. I’ll give you Liam Neason sort of, but lets see how many times we have actually seen the guy as a tough as nails action star? As for Bruce Willis. Well Bruce isn’t small. True he isn’t big or ripped, but he isn’t small or fat either. The point about these girls is that they are all tiny super thin nothings. Also I would add that the point is that just looking at these girls they are not remotely believable as tough action stars and it’s just ridiculous. Bruce just looks tough when you look at him. He’s one of the very few action stars that just looks tough.

    There are other movies as well courtney. It doesn’t have to be a franchise. I would add to your list. Laura Croft, Aeon Flux, Kill Bill franchise, Even the matrix more in the original not the sequels, The Brave one, wanted, and there are more, but off the top of my head I can’t think of them. Just think of Tarrentino films or Sin City had an entire city full of them.

    If we have to have so many movies full of these tough as nails women at least make them semi beliable. I can’t think of one that I actually came close to believing yet. They just pick a really attractive woman and that’s that. The most realistic was Sigourney Weaver and even that is pushing it. She wasn’t hot and at least had like 1% muscle on her arms.

  7. @Daniel F

    While I think you make some good points …

    I don’t believe I have ever seen Matt Damon, Bruce Willis or others with there shirts off. I’ll leave that to you. J/K:)
    NTTAWWT
    But I would put forth that they are not actually big guys but average in build and stature.

  8. Ink Matt is slightly bigger than average and pretty toned up as well. As I said you are right Bruce is not big nor toned, but like you said he is an average build guy. These girls however are stick figures and I’m pretty sure one punch from any of the people they are fighting would actually break them. I realize girls Bruce WIllis size are not usually considered attractive they would at least be a little more believable as tough people. I mean if you took someone like China from WWE I could see her being tough and kick ass. However I doubt she can act and I know she is not attractive. My main point is I am tired of stick figure action hero girls. Either use men or put something that isn’t just eye candy up there. I’m sorry, but not one of these girls aside from Sigourney looks tough.

  9. Well, that is why I said “at the moment” as in I was thinking off the top of my head. Those are very good examples, but still there are less movies with female leads than males. I never said it had to be a franchise. These were just the most memorable examples I could think of. Off the top of my head.

    But these are movies. You have to suspend your belief for a moment and not expect these actresses to be ripped body builders. Very few women are genetically capable of turning their bodies into that, especially for an actress who’s career it is to constantly change her body’s shape to suit the role she’s playing (bulk up for action roles or soften down for dramatic roles).

    Angelina Jolie, Sigourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich, Jennifer Garner (Elektra, another example I forgot) all have very sculpted, athletic bodies for the action roles they played. Even Kate Beckingsale, but you couldn’t see much of that under all that leather she wore in Underworld.

    And in any case, how important is size? I’m not an expert, but isn’t a lot of martial arts (which dominates fighting styles in action films) about overcoming opponents with advantages over you, like size? The Bride in Kill Bill and even Lara Croft, though physically stronger than the average woman, don’t rely on brute strength like most ripped action heroes do. They have to rely on being smarter and faster and skilled with weapons.

    I think that’s a lot of the appeal of a strong female lead: They are smaller than a huge, tough guy, but they have to outsmart their enemy, have a little better aim with a sword or gun, and use their smaller size to run faster and jump higher. And gorgeous women who can do all these things go against the stereotype of a beautiful, useless woman, who has to be saved constantly (as in Megan Fox’s character in Transformers). I’m not saying that this won’t become a stereotype one day, but for now it’s fresher than the latter example.

  10. I disagree. I don’t think it’s fresh at all and way over used. Especially if you are in to other forms of media like Video Games. Movies rely on suspending your disbelief, but these seem to go to far and enter the real of ridiculousness. Most of these movies almost make me suspend reality as much as a pixar film.

  11. @Courtney

    Please note that I didn’t review the film, Ross did. And I don’t think I’m overly critical as I pointed out in my “Snobs” post. :-)

    Vic

  12. Vic your the biggest review snob I’ve ever seen. JK

    Vic honestly this is the only site I like to use for reviews. The only way I even bother to look anywhere else is if you didn’t personally review the film. Then I’ll look for other opinions. If anything Vic I think sometimes your to easy on some films.

  13. @Daniel F

    Completely agree with your last post concerning Vic and the site.

  14. I see that he did! I should pay more attention to who posts. Either way, I’ll see this movie because I’m a fan of the movie and TV spin-off and the review makes me feel better about it. I don’t think that your reviews are “overly” critical, but you don’t seem to tolerate lazy writing or lazy anything else. Your readers appreciate that.

    @Daniel F, but what is the alternative? You either get a hero or heroine. There’s not really another option. I’m not sure if you read much, but I will say that a male lead in contemporary fantasy these days is exceptionally rare. We rarely see anything other than a smart-mouthed heroine whose asskickery borderlines on bullying. If you think the action film genre is bad, steer clear of contemporary fantasy.

  15. There have been actresses that could have been great female action heroes: The actress that played Tina Turner, the actress that played Zena. I actually thought the first 2 Underworlds were pretty good; not so the last one.

  16. vampire this, vampire that. soon we’re gonna have hannah mon-vampire and the vampire-nas brothers movies.

  17. Courney I do read fairly often and yea i have seen that trend in books. The thing about books is that you can picture the people to a certain extent in your own vision. So the girls can look tough in your head. Sometimes they are even written realistically as far as being believable to be tough. I use to read a vampire series where the girl was tough, but she was like cop tough. She wasn’t some amazing martial artist and she wasn’t stronger than any one twice her size she was just simple able to take abuse and new a few basic moves. Most of it was about how much she got the crap kicked out of her, but found a way eventually to either use some other weapon or her gun. She wasn’t a bad ass she was just tough, but took a lot of abuse. It was a good series until it turned in to a second rate sex novel. I think the RL girl who wrote it stopped getting any at home and could only write her novels.

  18. havent seen it as of yet but going today, daniel actually the whole action female heroine who looks good is what sells the film it makes money its what the producers n directors think the audience wants to see….. so therefor if they are right they get a big blockbuster hit meaning more money and more publicity. and also getting idiots ike u complaning about another films major formula of the film and how charecters are portrayed!! its a film just chillax and watch it, if its good y slate it!

  19. Wow personally attack me. I didn’t say anything negative about anyone here why do you have to act like that ?

  20. WAS NO SURPRISE THE FILM WASN’T GOING TO BE WORTH MUCH. JSUT LIKE ONG BAK 2. GOOD FIGHTS BUT NOTHING ELSE.

  21. I’m just happy they stayed true to the fact that Saya was Asian, instead of picking someone like Sarah Michelle Gellar or someone equally non-Asian to play her. As far as substance, I wasn’t expecting much in the form of acting, just ass kicking, as it is in the Animé. I appreciate a lady heroine, so I don’t see what the gripe is about, when martial arts isn’t so much about being bigger than your opponent as it is being a better fighter/strategist than your opponent. I think male leads in hero/action films have been the norm for quite some time. Rocky, Conan, Predator, Hercules, and others are just a few from back in the day. Sure, we don’t always want to the skinny model type chick to get all the glory, but a powerful female character is something I will never get tired of. It’s the Damsel in distress that pisses me off.

  22. I just saw the movie and I thought it was EXCELLENT!

  23. Gianna Jun, i became your fan, you are so cute in blood movie, wow, awesom.

  24. The casting is OK, i believe. Although, they should have made the fight scenes and special effects a little better. And, they should have practiced more on the delivery of their dialogues, specially Koyuki. Yes, it is very understandable that she has an accent, but they should try a little harder considering of their foreign audiences. Nonetheless, I like how Gianna portray her role.

  25. na loko nah!…..