Friday, December 5, 2008

Rise: Blood Hunter

Against my better instincts, I was looking forward to Rise: Blood Hunter (It is rare that a vampire movie is worth seeing). I should have listened to those instincts.

Rise: Blood Hunter was written and directed by Sebastian Guttierez, who I’ve thought promising in his past work. (I liked The Judas Kiss, although it seems I may be the only one). The cast was also good, with Michael Chiklis, Carla Gugino (Gutierrez real-life significant other, and a favorite of mine) and Lucy Liu. It almost works, but not quite.

First thing of note is the title. It sounds like a video game, although it isn’t based on one. I guess Gutierrez wanted to tap into some of the Uwe Boll fanbase. It is the story of a reporter (Liu) following a story of some disappearances. As you can probably guess, she learns that vampires are behind them, and she is attacked and turned herself. For no good reason, instead of turning into an evil bloodsucker, Liu devotes herself to hunting down the vampires and killing them. In this, she is helped/hindered by Michael Chiklis’ character, a police detective whose daughter was also a victim. She is also helped by another vampire leader, who wants his rival eliminated for reasons never made completely clear.

I knew the movie was in trouble when we met the lead vampire, and he started to expound on the philosophy of being a vampire. I hate a lot of things, but emo vampires are near the top of the list. He is supposed to be tremendously powerful, but we only know he is because he says he is. He actually comes across as a lightweight. If I ever ever get attacked by a vamp, I would hope he would viciously rip out my throat, rather than recite bad poetry. Once the action starts, the other vamps are ridiculously easy to kill. Liu can’t seem to decide if she wants her character to be cold, merciless and capable, or a fragile wreck, and the character veers from one to the other from scene to scene. The story is told in the now-common alternating present/flashback form. Since the flashbacks concern Liu discovering she is a vampire (which we already know), they serve only to kill any momentum the second half of the story builds.

This is worth seeing only if you have a desire to see Lucy Liu naked (and haven't already), or you are really desperate for a vampire movie.

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