Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vampire Warriors – review

Director: Dennis Law

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

This is one that nearly slipped under the radar. A wire-Fu Hong Kong movie that mentions kyonsi but actually features vampires more western in design – despite the main bad vampire being played by Yuen Wah, who was the vampire in the iconic Mr Vampire (as well as being in Vampire Super and Dating a Vampire).

female vampires
The film begins with Ar (Jiang Lu-Xia) on the streets of modern day Hong Kong. She seems to be trailing someone and ducks into a building as a couple walk past. They meet another couple and the guys seem to be leading the girls down an alley. One of the girls stops to be sick – she can’t hold her booze. They lead the girls into a disused building and put music on, dancing with the girls. Ar appears and the girls reveal their vampiric nature. The boys leg it, three male vampires come in – cue some (fairly subtle iro the wire) wire-Fu fighting. Ar is fairly spectacular for a human, suspend your belief now folks and go along for the ride – it’s worth it.

As the vampires are staked they dust in a lets-out-do-Buffy cgi way. The final vampire, one of the girls, is questioned about a vampire in a red cloak called Sue (Pinky Cheung Man-Chi). She claims to know her and confirms that she is almost two hundred – and is staked. Sue is only a few (vampire) years old. Ar gets home and Kung Fu flies over the fence – Ar’s powers are never explained and thus one assumes they are Kung-Fu powers. She is stitching a gash in her arm when Max (Chrissie Chau Sau-Na) shows. It becomes clear that Max is a vampire but she does not feed on humans and thus the two girls are friends.

vampire water chugging
Ar sniffs something (she can smell out vampires, it seems) and chases after a figure vanishing off into the distance. They lose the vampire but comes across several more vampires. There is Rex (Rock Ji), Kar (DaDa Lo Chung-Chi) and Lin (A. Lin). We also meet Rex and Max’s dad, Lung (Chin Siu-Ho, also Mr Vampire and New Mr Vampire) and his girlfriend (Rachel Lam). All these vampires subsist on animal blood. We later hear that the blood is the conduit to steal the victim’s lifeforce. During this scene we get to hear that Sue is Ar’s missing sister and see a game where the vampire’s bet on how long it will be before an old lady they can detect will die and the losers have to chug water – water being potentially poisonous to vampires. Vampires, incidentally, can fly as well.

face turns black
We see a couple of prostitutes meeting up with a girl, they are on loan to her it seems. They are taken to an abandoned house and seem to be followed by a man in a funeral costume. He is Mung (Yuen Wah). The girls get more and more spooked as they climb the stairs and are going to run until their escort vamps out. She has brought them for a male vampire (Xiong Xin Xin, Musical Vampire). His repast is interrupted when Mung attacks. Eventually, after a long fight, the male vampire ends up accidentally staked. Mung is not happy as he cannot take the soul if he dies. He remembers the female vampire, finds her and feeds on her. Her face turns black as he does this. He is a vampire who feeds on vampires. He also has, in chains, the now vampiric Sue whom he keeps captive as he doesn't take rejection well and she had rejected his romantic overtures.

oap vampire
So we see some more vampire slaying and the good vampires drawing the attention of Mung as well as Ar coming onto his radar. The vampire kids – for want of a better term – spend a lot of time complaining that they cannot feel anything. They would do anything to feel pain. This whinging might have got in the way but it also attracted a level of pitch black humour. At one point Rex jumps off a bridge, because he can and he’s bored, landing on the pavement head first. The three vampire girls jump also. This is witnessed by some drunk human girls, one of whom emulates them, declares she is awesome and then realises that she has broken her back.

vampire sleeping
The effects work well, mostly. However there was a moment with a rabbit that was obviously a cuddly toy and it looked plain silly. Essentially Max pulls a rabbit snack out, fumbles it (dropping the real rabbit) and grabs again. The illusion of her feeding on a real rabbit fails miserably and we all wonder how much blood you’d get out of a toy rabbit. Vampires like to sleep upside down, they can only feed on warm-blooded creatures (snakes are out) and sunlight burns them. We find via Lung that Mung follows the 'demon way'. By feeding on vampire souls he gains their powers but will die if he doesn’t devour a vampire every day. One wonders why he hunted more than one a day in that case, but never mind.

Rex flying
There was nothing in depth in this and the characters were paper thin. It didn’t matter too much though, it was just a Kung Fu flick at heart, a take your brain out actioner. One wonders exactly why lore such as water being poisonous was introduced just to be ignored later. The film is totally secular except for an idea that the vampires’ souls would be in Hell after Mung consumed them (no, I didn’t get how he could consume them and them be in Hell, but never mind).

Max and Ar
As thin as it was plot and character wise, I found myself entertained and Chrissie Chau Sau-Na was very pretty – though her character did little more than look pretty. Indeed a good number of the cast were models, many of the Lang Mo variety. As daft as it might sound I’m going to stick my neck out and give 6 out of 10 for a no-brainer wire-Fu flick with pretty people looking pretty a lot. Honestly I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did and it was a pity about the occasional whinging, but I liked this one.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: