Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blood Shot – review

Director: Dietrich Johnston

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

One thing I have discovered in the years I have been writing this blog is that you really have to keep your eye out. Blood Shot has been on my radar for a while but its limited release (to the date of this review) almost slipped under that radar as it was in Thailand only. The magic of e-bay, of course, knows no cultural bounds.

Now, I didn't know what to expect from a film where the lead vampire, unnamed through the film and played by Michael Bailey Smith, looks as he does. A pasty grey, balding creature with bat like ears we are firmly in a Nosferatu type territory. Yet he is a hit man for the US Government. This was about all I knew before watching the film, that and there were some fairly interesting names tied in with the production.

the terrorists are led by Bob
We begin with a lament from a cop, Rip (Brennan Elliott), over a picture of a girl and the fact that he knows that evil is out there. Elsewhere a terrorist cell prepares weapons; the cell commander watches TV and, after showing a film of a beheading (not in full gory detail), the channel cuts to an Arab – there is an on-running joke in film about the length of his name and it being shortened to Bob (Brad Dourif, I, Desire & Vlad) – who talks about the will of Allah. He is the leader of the terrorist network. Now, wait a second, you might think… Brad Dourif – an Arab… yes he is browned up, chews the scenery like a pro and it is all a little un-PC but… it blooming works and the irreverence in the film is an aspect that goes a long way to making it successful.

Lance Henriksen as Sam
Rip sees a shadow flitting across the night sky and gives chase. After seeing the terrorists make a deal with a drug pusher we flashback to the vampire being given his orders by Government middleman Sam (Lance Henriksen, Near Dark, Vampires: Out for Blood & Monster Brawl). The vampire has been sent after the cell, his orders are to take the commander of the cell out and leave no witnesses. Later we discover that the activities of this Government hitman/vampire are authorised by the President (a cameo by Christopher Lambert, Metamorphosis).

bullets, no problem
The stage is set, therefore, for the vampire to take out the terrorists and then be confronted by Rip. The terrorist commander asks to be bitten before being killed (the terrorists are instructed to ask this of the killer as they suspect what he is). The fight between Rip and the vampire seems odd because the vampire is rather reluctant to kill him but more than happy to fight. As the film progresses Rip uses (unsuccessfully) a variety of killing methods and so we discover that silver bullets sting but holy water only gets the vampire wet. This is strange because Rip’s cross causes the vampire’s eyes to smoke when he sees it and he clearly is in pain. The effect of the cross is put down to his body being possessed by thousands of demons and he mentions his daily fight against their influence. A bite turns and so we discover that the vampire kills a bad guy first and then feeds.

the djinn
I have to mention the fact that there is a djinn in the film, released from its prison of a ram’s skull with the aid of virgin’s blood. The way this interacts with the vampire is interesting (to say the least) but a spoiler too far I’m afraid. The general storyline of the film is based around a terrorist plot to release a dirty nuke in LA, the vampire’s attempt to stop the plot and, of course, Rip gets drawn in and has to work with the vampire. What we have then is a buddy cop movie – but rather than two cops it is a vampire hunter/cop and vampire/CIA hitman. The interaction between the two is fantastic – both when fighting and when buddying up – and this, as well as the irreverence I mentioned earlier, makes the film so enjoyable.

Brennan Elliott as Rip
The film never takes itself overly seriously. A coffin in a crypt is used as a travel tube down to the CIA rendezvous point. There are a couple of gore scenes late on in the film that look sfx ropey but I get the impression that they are meant to. It’s just another layer of the irreverence within the film. The film was amusing, well played and a worthy edition to the genre. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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