Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rise: Blood Hunter (2007)


There are two versions of this film, the theatrical cut and a longer director's cut. I have not seen the director's cut, which I've heard is a bit too rambling (it adds half an hour of material). The review that follows is of the theatrical version.

Rise: Blood Hunter hit me like a ball out of left field. The film concerns a reporter, played by Lucy Liu, who runs afoul of a group of vampires who kill her for her troubles. Regrettably the vampires botch the job and Liu comes back with a driving thirst for vengeance.

Three parts noir and one part supernatural thriller, this is the sort of grindhouse film that belonged in the recent "Grindhouse" double feature. Moving with speed and economy of motion this is a film that's rare today anywhere, especially Hollywood. It bleeds off the screen and you get a sense that this could be happening somewhere real. The story is as tight as a drum with nary an extraneous line or motion: this is a movie that tells its simple story and tells it well. There are things which it could tell us, or show us, but it chooses not to since that would get away from the story (the alchemist for example). There is blood and violence but it's always perfectly done for the right effect. The supporting cast is mostly note perfect including Mako, Robert Forrester and Michael Chiklas.

While the film has its flaws (Liu is a bit stiff at the start), it actually turns out to be a perfectly made B-movie of the sort that hasn't been seen on screens in decades. Taken for what it is it will probably stand the test of time, and repeated viewings, to become a minor classic of its type.

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