out of Five
Running time: 91
Stylishly shot and undeniably trashy, this is a strange mish-mash of a film that's actually surprisingly entertaining, despite the usual choppily-edited fight scenes.
What's it all about?
Based on a popular anime cartoon, Blood: The Last Vampire stars Gianna Jun as Saya, a centuries-old vampire warrior who's working for a sinister organisation known as The Council, in order to destroy a deadly vampire demon known as Onigen (Koyuki). When Saya goes undercover in a 1970s US Air Force base in Japan, she meets feisty general's daughter Alice (Allison Miller) when she saves her from an attack by vampire cheerleaders.
When it turns out that the school actually harbours several vampire demons (including PE teacher Colin Salmon), Saya and Alice attempt to warn her father (Larry Lamb) before it's too late. Meanwhile, Onigen marshalls her forces for a final confrontation with Saya.
Director Chris Nahon keeps things moving at a decent pace, ensuring the film moves quickly from set-piece to set-piece and that you're never too far away from a beheading or two. He also stages some imaginative and exciting action sequences, most notably a scrap in an alley where Saya and Alice are hopelessly outnumbered and a thrilling truck chase with a CGI demon.
Gianna, Koyuki, Miller and Liam Cunningham (as Agent Harrison) are all superb, but it's distracting seeing British actors like Larry Lamb (aka Archie Mitchell from EastEnders) playing American generals and you spend a lot of time wondering if his accent is dubbed. The film is also extremely stylish throughout, particularly during the climactic fight scene.
The main problem is the usual one of choppily edited fight scenes, although they get better as the film goes on and Nahon uses some good slo-mo techniques to showcase Saya's special moves. Similarly, the dialogue's a little disappointing and the effects are dodgy in places, but the CGI demons have a rather charming, Harryhausen-esque stop motion feel to them which works well.
Blood: The Last Vampire is a strange mish-mash of everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to manga to Japanese horror flicks and noir movies. With a better script, it could have been really great, but it's still surprisingly entertaining. Worth seeing.
Blood: The Last Vampire (18)