BLOOD The Last Vampire
Review by David Cirone
All the live-action, none of the cool.
Sloppy adaptation of a revered anime classic.
The great thing about Production I.G.’s original is that it celebrated the “blood” of the title — even in 2D, the anime version’s blood had texture, and there were buckets of it. This film holds back, as if measuring out a pre-determined limit. Maybe that was a budget problem, or maybe the producers were wary of freaking out the moms who brought their target teenage audience into the R-rated flick.
The production designers quickly drop the 70’s Kodak filters, shifting to Matrix-wannabe crisp lighting and over-saturated colors. All the better to show off the bad CG and rubber suits. There are some moments where the cinematography and action scenes look really good, and the film’s third-act showdown finally strikes the perfect balance in visual style.
Cardboard acting across the board in the supporting cast (I’ve seen anime-convention masquerade skits with more feeling). The gymnasium duel scene early in the film is nearly comical. GIANNA does her best in the lead role of Saya, but her stiff acting and troubled English cause the editor to cut away from her as quickly as possible, in an obvious attempt to keep us from feeling the emptiness of her performance. Model KOYUKI as the villainess Onigen fares much better, and her scenes at the film’s climax are a treat. She combines style and power so believably, I wish there was a whole film about her character.
Watch the anime first, then fast-forward the film version to the exceptional final chapters.