Monday, July 4, 2016

Lucy the Vampire Slayer, or I Watched Rise: Blood Hunter, So You Don’t Have To

Lucy Liu in Rise: Blood Hunter
Lucy Liu has been on my radar ever since Ally McBeal but I didn’t decide I actually liked her until I saw her performance as Oren Ishii-I in Kill Bill (2003).  She rapidly ascended to favorite actor status with her gender swapping performance as Joan Watson in Elementary.  So when I remembered that she’d starred in a hard-R rated vampire revenge movie it seemed like a perfect fit for the blog.  You would think.  One would hope.  So it would seem…
In Rise: Blood Hunter (2007) Lucy plays Sadie Blake a reporter investigating the goth scene before she gets bit during a True Blood-y vampire threesome with Carla Gugino and James Darcy.  That makes her technically a vampire vampire hunter, like Blade (1996) but with less techno and no katanas (she uses a mini-crossbow).   Using her investigative reporter skills she tracks down the vampires who made her, leaving a bloody trail of dead vampires and humans in her wake.
There’s an assembly of cool scenes thanks to Lucy Liu’s performance and screen presence; she wakes up undead in a morgue, the vamps use cool ankh knife pendants reminiscent of The Hunger (1983) and she looks great covered in blood.  There’s also a Goldfinger (1964) inspired death scene with another blonde, also covered in blood.
I wish I liked this movie more than I do, it sounds so good on paper.  It’s from Sebastian Gutierrez, the writer of Snakes on a Plane (2006), which also suffered from a great concept and poor realization.  The dissociative narrative is fractured, poorly edited, and presented in a series of confusing flashbacks and dream sequences that fail to move the story forward. 
Michael Chiklis from The Shield plays hardboiled Detective Clyde Rawlins and like David Caruso before him, tries valiantly to make the transition to the big screen.  George Clooney and Bruce Willis made it look so easy, but he’s getting steady work as Captain Barnes in Gotham.  Look out for the Robert Forster from Jackie Brown (1997) cameo, and Marilyn Manson as a bartender.
Rise is also Japanese-American actor Mako’s last movie as Poe, the vampire butler.  Lucy and Mako have a fight scene together, and it’s great to see these two generations of Asian-American actors together onscreen.  Mako Iwamatsu, 岩松 マコ, was best known as Akiro in Conan the Barbarian (1982) but was also featured in so many classic 70’s TV shows including Kung Fu, Mash, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island and Wonder Woman.



my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.
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