Monday, November 26, 2012

Vampyre Nation – review

Director: Todor Chapkanov

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Sci-fi channel does it again… Whilst this is airing in the UK as Vampyre Nation the fact that it is also called True Bloodthirst shows that it is essentially ripping off other genre pieces. As well as True Blood (not only the name but the fact that vampyres – as spelt in film – are out of the coffin thanks to the development of synthetic blood), there is a huge slab of Blade 2 with a smattering of Daybreakers - oh, and let us not forget a name borrowed from Dracula.

Now, I know the genre is one built on borrowed concepts, outright thefts and lore evolution but this was just so very blatant. The question is, was it any good…

We are in Bucharest and a man (Joro Zlatarev) walks down a line outside a club, a vampyre openly feeds. He goes to the bouncer (Dimitar Ougrinov) and says that he wants to see Grigori (Velislav Pavlov). He is sent round to the back of the club where he is met by Grigori and two other vampyres. He is trading AB -ve blood, very rare he says, for cocaine. Grigori has worked out he is the source but his 'from the neck feed' is interrupted as a large bat creature appears. It kills all three vampyres and the blood dealer.

Nail Jackson as Derricks
Over the credits we hear bits of news reports that mentions the vampyre virus, synthetic blood, vampyres being moved to Bucharest sector 5 – a quarantine zone that is more like an internment camp, and Konstantin Kovacks (Roark Critchlow) being made head of the Department of Vampyre Relations (DVR). We watch cop Derricks (Neil Jackson, Blade the Series & The Thirst) arrive at the DVR. A vampyre entering the building has mislaid his pass, Derricks takes him to one side until he finds it. The vampyre points out that he empties Derrick's bins and deserves respect. I liked the fact that a sign mentioned strigoi as well as vampyre.

Andrew-Lee Potts as Harker
Derricks wants in on the attack at the club and Kovacks admits that there have been similar attacks. He puts him on the case but tells him that he has to take Scotland Yard detective Innes-Bunchley (Jonathan Hargreaves) as a partner. Derricks says he wants John Harker (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Kovaks agrees if he takes Innes-Bunchley too. Harker is in a prison fight along with his friend Andrei (Vlado Mihaylov) – his freedom is offered for working with Derricks. Harker wants his sister, Celeste (Heida Reed), freed as well. They, along with his girlfriend Katya (Claudia Bassols), are vampyrgia (however you spell it) – vampyre hunters. The specifics of their incarceration is not given but one assumes it was for killing vampyres.

Ben Lambert as Nikolai
When they go – tooled up – to the vampyre club they meet Nikolai (Ben Lambert) second in command to his 600 year old sire who says he campaigned with Vlad Ţepeş – though later dialogue actually suggested he is Vlad Ţepeş. They tell them that the attacking man-bat creatures are vampyres infected with a retrovirus that devolves them, increases their metabolism even more than vampyres and thus makes them voracious – so whilst they look like the subsiders from Daybreakers the plot is pure Blade 2. Indeed the retrovirus is man-made and a conspiracy is unearthed whilst vampyre hunters and human hunters have to learn to work together.

killing a bat creature
Other lore; mercury will kill vampyres and silver burns, they burn in sunlight; we see one burn with head and hands exposed but they seem to be ok with a hood, shades and scarf – despite exposed foreheads. They heal quickly, have night vision, superior hearing and drinking a vampyre’s blood is enough to ensure turning. The bat creatures can be herded with the use of a sonar signal and they dust in a flash of light leaving a skeleton that then crumbles.

working together
The plot was simply lifted, as I say, though it had a sub-text of racial tolerance running through it. Some acting was okay, for instance Neil Jackson was rather good, but other acting was terrible - Jonathan Hargreaves’ English detective was painful to watch. Some accents appeared and disappeared and whilst his performance wasn’t too bad, and he seems a likeable cheeky chappy, Andrew-Lee Potts is just too baby-faced to pull off the big, bad vampire hunter.

kind of sub-Blade 2
The cgi was blooming awful and, of course, this relied on it and generally the film was just a sub-standard Blade 2 rip off – even the boss vampire was a red robed, bald vampire living in a castle like crypt. All in all pretty poor, but not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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