Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vampire Assassin – review

dvdDirector: Ron Hall

Release date: 2005

Contains spoilers

There are two things desperately wrong with the DVD cover of this film. Firstly it is how much the figure on the cover resembles Blade, long leather coat, shades, katana and glave. If I were Marvel, I’d be a little concerned that my copyright had been impinged. The second thing is that if this is meant to be main character Derek Washington, as played by writer, director Ron Hall – well let us just say there are some delusions with regards body image.

We are in low budget vampire land again and this one, let me tell you, was a struggle. I mean I really just wanted to fall asleep as I watched it, but not in the pleasant embrace and warm cocoon of the lullaby, rather in a desperate attempt to relieve the boredom that spread through my bones at an alarming rate.

Slovak - vampire hunterIt starts off in a scene from the past as vampire hunter Gustoff Slovak (Mel Novak) hunts down loads of vampires. Note the electricity arcing from them when they die… why? There is never an explanation so I guess it is down to the fact that they wanted a death effect but didn’t have the budget to pull off dusting. Looks silly though… Anyway, it was a night that would change everything for hunters – or so we are told. Why? Because Slovak tastes the blood of a vampire… Would it cause him to turn? Well that’s not much of a secret as we find out in a couple of minutes that he is the baddy of the movie.

Mel Novak as SlovakWashington is a cop in a car and tries to summon his teams. No one answers – something has gone wrong, he tells himself and subsequently us (in case we missed it). Does he call for backup? Oh, no he’s straight in there with no regard for his own safety as that is just the type of guy he is. In the house there is a small fountain (presumably producing blood) as well as blood on the floor, with a ring… the significance of which was lost on me. Slovak appears and uses telekinesis to push Washington over. He is found by other cops and put on administrative leave for talking vampires.

Now, online I discovered that his father had been murdered and he was witness to it as a child (we know his father is dead from the dialogue, but little else). As a result he has a fear of blood – that one wasn’t evident at all. Seems that Slovak was called Jackoff – which, whilst not the same as the imdb character name, seems more relevant (EDIT: of course this was some wag's idea of a Wikipedia edit joke and it has been corrected since) – and a counterfeiter. All this came from the Wikipedia stub - none of it was related by anything within the actual film.

Samantha - pointless characterIn film he meets an internet news person called Samantha – she was a pointless character generally. He tries to enlist the help of a group of slayers, who start off saying they ain’t cheap and within seconds are trying to kill him for no good reason… that is until he slips, or bumbles more like, through a door and then they declare that they have underestimated him. Don’t forget about them, he’ll fight and kill them all later, even though they are all meant to be vampire slayers!

at least they used chainsHe goes against Slovak on his own… Attacking the vampire isn’t difficult as he knows where he lives! However he gets himself captured – and as an aside at least they kept him locked down with chains, rather than use a small amount of tape as in Vampire in Vegas. He is rescued by a student of famed vampire hunter Master Kao (Gerald Okamura) and becomes a reluctant student of the weird old guy.

Gerald Okamura as Master KaoWhy reluctant? Well it seems he feels that he can do this on his own – except he clearly can’t, he had to be rescued once already and he went to the mercenary vampire hunters for help. Whys and wherefores are lost, however, in the on rush of inconsistencies and bad dialogue – on rush is generous, to be honest, its more like playing spot the story and when you do realising that it is inconsistent with the last bit you managed to spot. He was right to be reluctant, however, when it turned out that Slovak trained Kao – but I’d given up trying to work out any rhyme or reason when that one was revealed.

Vamp face revealedAs for lore. We do not get too much. A bite will turn someone anywhere between 24 – 48 hours. Unless you are a cop, bitten in an all out assault on the precinct (that looked suspiciously like a warehouse). In that case you’ll turn in minutes so as to add peril for the hero, and then you might even turn if the vampire shot you rather than bit you! Slovak has telekinetic powers, but none of the other vampires appeared to have such gifts. Slovak can stop bullets by flicking his cape – which just had me thinking of batfink ("Your bullets cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!" - and all that) that brief thought of a childhood cartoon character was probably the most enjoyable bit of this for me!

lightning flashes and a vampire diesWashington can chant incoherently and make water become blessed. How? Who knows and, in fact, who cares? I have already mentioned lightning exuding from slayed vampires and I think that’s about all folks. The acting was wooden throughout and I suspect that Samantha was dubbed. The martial arts was poorly choreographed. This is a turkey, avoid. 1 out of 10 awarded for the sheer audacity of the DVD cover. Incidentally, the cover of my edition is exactly as that pictured above but for a flash that says "full screen" and the title is shown as Vampire Assassin in singular rather than the plural as the cover pictured shows.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK


Everlost said...

Batfink was awesome... sounds like you struggled to get through this one, one of the worst ever?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

To be honest, inept rather than simply bad...

nothing beats Geek Maggot Bingo though - the film I couldn't actually get through.