Film Review: Blood: The Last Vampire
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
Long ago in Japan there was a war with demons. A brave samurai who fought the demons
was slain by an ancient and ferocious demon called Onigen. The Council, an enigmatic
organization bent on hunting these creatures, has a secret weapon in their war: a
young woman with a katana named Saya. And best of all, it takes place in 1970s Tokyo.
Blood: The Last Vampire is the live-
You know how the word “Saya” refers to a katana’s scabbard? Well, you do now.
Now, apply Japan’s love of phallic symbolism to our heroine, and…
The film has a few shining moments, but it’s far outweighed by how bad it looks throughout.
The locations are probably some of the best visuals of the whole film, with much
of the movie taking place on a US Air Force base and the immediate city areas, and
changes only towards the end when there’s a shift to rural outskirts. Beyond that,
it’s just atrocious. The film is CGI heavy, especially in areas where it really doesn’t
need to be, such as using CGI blood dripping from mouths instead of fake blood. The
vampiric monsters are perhaps the worst offenders because they look bad in CGI, even
by the standards of 2009, and not even in old-
The soundtrack is uninspired. There are a few songs from the era, which helps build
an atmosphere for the film, but the rest is comprised mostly of the generic monster
action movie sounds: there are build ups before some lone person is attacked, drums
are in heavy use to create long and deep beats, it’s all mediocre. However, there’s
never anything that’s too over the top, nothing jarring or out of place, and it’s
not an abomination or hurtful on the ears. It’s not exactly high praise, since you
could say the same of an obnoxious child you babysit regularly only to find that
they’re quiet and well-
“I’ll just show myself to the time-
Even though the plot is still simple enough, it can feel convoluted at times or even outright not explain things. For example, Onigen has a servant who looks all cool and intimidating, yet I couldn’t tell you what his name was because I don’t know if they ever said it. Another is that I couldn’t tell you anything more about the Council than I have already said in the beginning: there’s enigmatic and then there’s “we exist, but play a minimal role in the entire movie despite being important.” And then there’s Alice, the young teenage daughter of a general, who is essentially a token white girl who serves no meaningful purpose in the narrative, and was probably included so that the film wasn’t overwhelmingly Asian in Japan. The only character we even care about is Saya, and even then she’s lacking personality outside of the barest minimum required for a protagonist.
And for those wondering, no, the same can’t be said for her clothing.
Can’t win for losing, can we?
The acting straddles the line between dull and bad, which is a shame because some of the more noteworthy actors are not that bad. Saya, played by South Korean actress Gianna Jun, was lacking in emotion outside of bloodlust and anger and, unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything else that Gianna has done. I say unfortunately because I feel that perhaps the language barrier might have limited her and the fact that she is quite a name throughout Asia. Alice McKee, played by American actress Allison Miller (Terra Nova, Go On), feels like one of the more competent actors, but her character, as mentioned, feels tacked on and useless outside of doing anything except being a force that progresses the plot to the next point. It certainly doesn’t help that some line deliveries sound forced, she mostly shrieks, and everything is crushed with the last lines she gives for the movie. And our big bad guy, the surprisingly attractive Onigen, is played by Japanese actress Koyuki (The Last Samurai). Perhaps giving the best performance, it’s a shame that she is seen so little, and when we finally see her in action as the antagonist, it falls so flat and just feels weak.
Beyond some flashy and well-
Atmosphere & Experience: 2
In which case, this may be a good place to start if you feel like you need to ease
Into Twilight. Baby steps, kids.
Director: Chris Nahon
Producer: Ronny Yu
Studio: Edko/ Pathe
Release Date (U.S.): Jul 10, 2009
Release Date (U.K.): Jun 26, 2009
Release Date (JP): May 29, 2009
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