Blood: The Last Vampire
AKA: Last Blood
Year of release: 2009
Director: Chris Nahon
Action director: Corey Yuen
Producers: Bill Kong, Abel Nahmias
Writer: Chris Chow
Cinematography: Poon Hang-Sang
Editor: Marco Cave
Music: Clint Mansell
Stars: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham, JJ Feild, Koyuki, Yasuaki Kurata, Larry Lamb, Colin Salmon, Masiela Lusha
Rated R for violence and language
Bill Kong interview
Movie review index
Based on a popular Japanese manga and anime, Blood: The Last Vampire would seem to have all of the elements to make a successful action/horror hybrid, especially with Corey Yuen working behind the camera during the fights. Unfortunately, the would-be bloody vampire antics never really manage to generate any real excitement, mostly due to the fact that the special effects look like they were done by one guy on his outdated iMac using a janky pirated version of Photoshop.
Blood takes places in 1970's Japan, where the half-vampire Saya (My Sassy Girl's Gianna Jun) has been enlisted by the CIA to hunt down a horde of blood-suckers led by Onigen, who killed Saya's parents. Disguising herself as a high school student in the local army base, Saya begins her quest for revenge, only to to discover that both her friends and enemies might not truly be who they appear to be.
Like many modern takes on the vampire mythos, Blood takes some liberties with the "classic" characterization of the creatures. The vampires here are able to live in sunlight, eat the souls of their victims, and transform into huge demons. It's through these demons where Blood's shortcomings become painfully clear.
Before watching this movie, I fired up the Playstation game Command & Conquer: Red Alert, a 1997 release well-known for its' cheesy live-action cutscenes. Why do I mention this? Because, as cheap-looking as those cutscenes are, they look like a million bucks compared to the output here. It's hard to take a threat from a demon seriously when it comes off as so obviously fake.
The terrible CGI rears its' ugly head in other manners as well, most notably during the fight scenes, where poorly-animated blood spurts take the emphasis off of Corey Yuen's otherwise solid action direction. Scenes that are supposed to be gory and exciting quickly turn into unintentional comedy, which, as you might expect, is not a good thing for a movie of this type.
If you really want to check out a martial arts/vampires hybrid, there are many better alternatives out there, like Mr. Vampire and Blade. Blood: The Last Vampire is a release best left on the shelves until it inevitably becomes the insomniac late-night cable TV fodder it was seemingly meant to be.