A live-action film of the original anime of the same name, Blood: The Last Vampire is a high kicking, head chopping, demon-fest with plenty of gore and entertainment to keep any horror fan happy.
Set in 1970’s Tokyo, the film follows Saya (Gianna Jun) a 400-year-old samurai sword-wielding daughter of a demon hunter, dressed as a schoolgirl and undercover in a U.S army base. Sent there by the shady organisation known as The Council she is on the hunt for the vilest and oldest of all the shape shifting blood suckers, Onigen.
Along the way she inadvertently saves inquisitiveness Alice (Allison Miller), who follows her and uncovers the secret war between humans and monsters that has been raging since time began. When Alice’s Army General father is killed, the teen’s team up and head out to track down Onigen and stop her once and for all.
Frenchman Chris Nahon whose previous credits include the chop socky Jet Lee pic Kiss of the Dragon, and the excellent Jean Reno thriller Empire of the Wolves is more than competent directing action movies. Packed with stylish shots, good uses of colour and most importantly great fight choreography, this is a hack and slash horror movie with the emphasis heavily on the action.
This is no bad thing, and there are some excellent fight scenes including a street fight with Saya facing off against 30 odd demons. And a brilliant flashback to the 16th century with a samurai showdown Kurosawa would be proud of.
The blend of American and Asian actors works well and the cast are good – especially Gianna – who gives Saya a melancholy edge while still kicking ass convincingly. Oddly Saya is never actually referred to as Blood, or even as a vampire, leaving you feeling that the title was simply a marketing cash-in on the current fang fad dominating popular culture.
Plot wise it’s not hugely original with a story and characters reminiscent of Blade and Hellboy. Even the final climactic battle has some dialogue strikingly similar to the end of Return of the Jedi, without the Ewoks obviously.
Another thing holding Blood back is the CGI which is unfortunately not up to the standards of other bigger budget movies like the ones previously mentioned. Well done in the fight scenes with flying body parts and spurting blood, it is slightly less believable when used to create the movie’s monsters, that look less ‘demonic’ and more like ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.
All that aside though Blood: The Last Vampire is a very enjoyable film and worth a watch. Crammed with monsters and martial arts, its short running time will leave you wanting more once its done.
My fingers are crossed for a sequel with more money, more demons and perhaps Saya in a nurses uniform this time.
Additional film information: Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)
Blood: The Last Vampire is out on Blu-ray and DVD Now