Monday, 9 July 2007

Rise: Blood Hunter (2007)

Lucy Liu plunges into B Movie depths

There's no reason to watch Rise: Blood Hunter if you're not a fan of Lucy Liu, or if gratuitous female nudity doesn't get a rise out of you. This is basically a vampire and revenge movie with lots of nudity, as far as I can tell, but due to its ridiculously low budget, it has even less production values than anything playing on television right now (aside from straight to TV telemovies starring Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal!). Ordinarily, genre movies can be made on lower budgets and flimsier scripts, but beyond a certain point, what you get on your hands is a really bad or rather badly-produced movie, where clearly the director of photography couldn't do much with the equipment they gave him (and ends up shooting and framing every scene like a television director), where clearly the scriptwriter was constrained by the lack of budget to flesh out his script, and where the director was constrained again by the lack of budget to bring the script to some semblance of cinematic life. This is Blood Hunter. And this stars Lucy Liu.

Perversely, if you're not a fan of Lucy Liu, and gratuitous female nudity doesn't get a rise out of you, Blood Hunter might be the ideal low budget diversion (watch this on a Monday night or rent the DVD!). Remember, every A-list actor has made at least one unforgettably bad film in their past, but it's rare for actual A-list actors to end up starring in an unforgettably bad movie in the peak of their careers. This is why you might want to watch Blood Hunter!

But enough, on to the plot! Lucy Liu is an intrepid reporter for some tabloid rag whose last assignment on the poseur goth subculture (literally poseurs - angsty goth girls pretending to be vampires) leads her into an accidental initiation into the world of real vampires, who live for sex and murder. The end result: an undead Lucy Liu hungry for revenge, amongst other things, and a very angry cop hungry for the truth behind his estranged goth daughter's death, as well as revenge. Strangely enough, it is the cop character who does most of the investigating and unearthing of the truth, while Lucy Liu's vampire reporter gets the beans spilled by some David Carradine-wannabe mentor. And then, it's just a matter of hunting down the vampire coven who started all this, and killing them all. YAAARRGH!

Clearly Blood Hunter takes a few pages out from the Blade franchise: it's one of these modern films that have vampires in a modern setting, and radically remakes the vampire mythos. I would like to remind readers though, that Blade itself failed the Blade test - simply put, Blade was just a gangster movie that merely happened to have vampires as gangsters. It's not surprising that Blood Hunter also fails the test (it's just a police/investigation drama that merely happens to have vampires as underworld criminals), but that it fails the test so spectacularly. Why on earth would we have a movie where vampires are immune to sunlight and crosses, yet cast no reflection in mirrors? Why have all this... and yet offer no explanation?

Blood Hunter may pretend it's about vampires. It may pretend that it's about gratuitous nudity. Yet its script is so brain-dead to the point of squelching any interest that normal B-grade movies would evoke, while its camerawork is so uninspired that any other television serial would look better, and its acting is just flat-out flat. And unfortunately, the almost 40-year-old Lucy Liu doesn't actually appear nude in this movie (sorry, guys and gals!), but her body double.

First published at incinemas on 19 July 2007

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