DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Darkmatters does Blood the Last Vampire

Blood: The Last Vampire 2000 – anime (15)

Dir. Hiroyuki Kitakubo

Blood: The Last Vampire 2009 – ‘real skin’ (18)

Dir. Chris Nahon

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You Asshole! Don't ever piss her off again! As far as we know, she's the only remaining original!”

This is a quote from the anime version of Blood: The Last Vampire (which I have owned on DVD since it came out and thought it was time to give it a re-view as I caught the new live action version at the weekend)… The quote works as advice to Chris ‘Kiss of the Dragon’ Nahon too and fortunately he’s heeded the warning as his film is a great reworking / companion piece to the anime.

Basically in both films Blood: The Last Vampire tells the tale of Saya – half-human, half-demon, all schoolgirl. This ancient immortal (who still looks like a typical 15 year old due to unexplained lack of aging) is from a bloodline of demon / vampire hunters. Needless to say that Saya is the last of her kind – duh – the clue is in the title... Saya (Gianna Jun) is more than a Japanese jailbait ass kicker, she wields a magically enhanced sword which can cleave demon vampires right in two… and she wears a sailor girl uniform whilst killing lots of bad-ass-baddies.

Saya works for The Council – no, not Luton Borough Council (been there, done that) but a shadowy organisation that employs her to hunt demons. The new film is a period piece circa 1970 but the original anime seemed more present day – judging from the military hardware on display.
Another difference is that in the feature film there is a main story arc about an ancient demon known as ‘Onigen’ (Koyuki). Bothe film open with the same scene – a subway ‘hit’ where Saya takes out a vampire and gets questioned by her superiors because the perp looks just like a normal guy… But instead of being reprimanded, Saya is sent undercover to an American military airbase in Tokyo to investigate possible demon assisted deaths there.

Here the films diverge in that in the anime Saya saves a chubby teacher and fights monsters just on the base. In the new film Saya save teenage hottie Alice McKee - spoilt daughter of the base's commanding officer – who happens to be martial arts trained too, so in effect a much more agreeable sidekick.
Bill Kong, producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero worked on the 2009 adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire and the fights are pleasingly stylish and brutal affairs even if all the blood that gets spilt is CGI – with an almost cartoony element to it.
This dodgy use of CGI in the new film is entirely at odds with the original anime which boasted some of the best computer generated artwork ever… (which was noted by James Cameron).

So how did I rate the two Blood: The Last Vampires?

Here you go:

Blood: The Last Vampire 2000 – anime (15)

Earns an arbitrary Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – great visuals and fun plot but only 45mins long!)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7
Style 9
Babes 6
Comedy 4
Horror 7
Spiritual Enlightenment 3

Blood: The Last Vampire 2009 (18)

Earns an arbitrary Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – expanded on the original, just sit back and enjoy, don’t worry about the dodgy effects!)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 8
Style 8
Babes 8
Comedy 5
Horror 7
Spiritual Enlightenment 4

"Gianna Jun - in 'non vampire' alter ego"

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