Rise: Blood Hunter (2007) / Horror-Action
MPAA Rated: R for strong violence, gore, sexuality, nudity, language, and brief drug use
Running time: 94 min.
Cast: Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, James D'Arcy, Carla Gugino, Mako, Cameron Richardson, Robert Forster
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Screenplay: Sebastian Gutierrez
Review published June 10, 2007
Sebastian Gutierrez (screenwriter for half-assed horror excursions like Snakes on a Plane and Gothika) must have been watching Tarantino's Kill Bill and thought to himself, "What this story really needs is to be done featuring vampires." Rise: Blood Hunter is the result.
The borrowing of ideas doesn't end there. Once it puts its foot in the vampire door, Gutierrez proceeds to steal left and right, copycatting huge elements right out of of Blade, Underworld and Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- even Hostel gets film-jacked. It's the cinematic equivalent of bottom feeder-ism, consuming the waste material left behind by others who have already used up all of the energy and substance they could from the original idea process before disposing it.
It's not surprising that these sorts of movies keep getting churned out. There are thousands, if not millions, if you go by box office receipts, of people who will watch the same old crap done all over again because it features vampires. These audiences don't really care as much about the story or the characters as they do in seeing some fetishistic turnings, some grisly feedings, and lots of cool Goth fashion and darkly-lit raving on display constantly. When stymied for story continuation, all you have to do is to press the titillation button at regular enough intervals, and you'll have a movie that the vampire nuts will pleasure themselves to for years.
The film starts off with Lucy Liu (Code Name: The Cleaner, Lucky Number Slevin) playing a woman named Sadie Blake, out for revenge for misdeeds done to her. We flash back to the origin of her thirst for vengeance, back when she was a reporter out trying to uncover the secret behind the recent upswing in missing persons in the area, and their connection to secret party invitations announcing a "feeding". She finds out the hard way that vampires exist in the city, as they turn her into one (after a little rape and murder, of course). With all claims to her human life gone, Sadie vows to take down all of the vampires who've done her wrong.
Rise: Blood Hunter is strictly for genre freaks. Not being one who likes films just because they have lots of leather, blood, and dark-haired people with pasty white skin and trench coats, it offers so little to someone like me, a movie reviewer who continuously derides material that offers nothing but elements of stimuli response in place of well-honed story and rich characterizations. It's a vapid, forgettable experience that will no doubt find an audience among people who like the look of it above all else, especially playing up scenes of lesbian vampire fantasies and gory carnal hungers. The words "Lucy Liu nude" will be enough to get some people to watch it (and those words will triple the amount of hits I get for this review from search engines).
I'm guessing the "Rise" of the title is talking about the perpetual erections produced in vampire fetishists in seeing such graphically wanton imagery -- they might as well have changed the word "Hunter" to "Pumper" while they were at it. Throats gets slit, skin gets torn open, and cleavage is front and center as much as possible. It's made by people who know the peculiar tastes of their audience, and deliver on the basest, most sensationalist comic-book levels they rabidly enjoy.
©2007 Vince Leo