As my page has taught us, some things are simply too good to be true. When it came to today's movie, my friend and I thought: 'a low-budget version of Blade- that should be funny.' As you may guess, the film turned out to not be. It's not a serious film, mind you, but it is a bad one. The movie was designed to be a showcase for some wannabe martial artist named Ron Hall. In fact, not only is he the star, but he is the writer and director as well! Can you say 'vanity piece,' boys and girls? By the way, if the name 'Ron Hall' is not ringing a bell, don't be surprised. Even with all the crappy, low-budget kung-fu films I watch, this is the only film that I have seen by him. After you finish the review, you will see how much of a blessing this truly is. I welcome you into the world of...
The film centers around our protagonist: Derek Washington. His life was a good one until it was marked by tragedy: the death of his father. He was unfortunate enough to witness this event, which gave him a phobia of blood. Oh God, Blackjack flashbacks! Anyhow, this is a little bit strange of a reaction to get. There is an actual fear of death or murder, so why not use that? It's not like there is a ridiculous story device that hinges on this idea. Oh wait, there is! Nevermind then. Fortunately, the man grows up to do the world's safest and most blood-free job: a police officer! You just couldn't be an accountant, huh? Being an action movie, he has to go on a big drug bust. Being a horror movie, something has to go horribly awry. As you may have already guessed, this involves vampires. If you have had the chance to see Spoony's Let's Play on Terror Trax: Track of the Vampire, it is pretty similar. Unfortunately, we are not *blessed* by the presence of an American Gladiator in the cast. Anything would have helped here!
After the incident, our hero is a bit spooked and needs to figure out what happened. Fortunately, he runs across a vampire killer that just happens to also live in the inner city of L.A. as well. What lazy screen-writing...I mean, what are the odds? This killer is played a well-worn character actor named Gerald Okamura, who has been in both Ninja Academy and Pocket Ninjas. Thanks, Wikipedia! This part gets a bit dull, given that we go through all the conventions in quick succession. Cliched bit about not believing in anything supernatural- check. Training montage- check. Terrible acting all-around- big check! The only interesting thing is the collection of authentic-looking weapons. Of course, put these in the hands of our lead and he manages to take all the interest out of them too! On the plus side, Rudy Ray Moore (R.I.P.) is entertaining in his usual fashion. Mind you, his role is criminally-small, since they probably did not have enough funk in the budget to get more out of him. He really is The Christopher Walken role (upcoming Mondo Dictionary entry). Blah blah blah, the vampire is evil and must be killed by our hero.
Do you know what 'over-choreographed' kung-fu looks like? Well, if you watch this movie, you sure will! Basically, it is when the people involved never look like they are fighting, but, instead, look like they are doing a dance routine. This movie is full of that crap. Hall tries to look bad-ass in his leather coat, but does not succeed. I should also mention that he does not look like the guy on the DVD cover. I don't know who that guy is, but they should have hired him for the actual movie. Any high-points here? Besides our hero's obviously-sheet metal sword, not really. One funny bit comes from when they cheap out on having an arrow pierce a box in the background. They blatantly shove the arrowhead between two of the boxes to create the effect. As per the Obi Wan Kenobi Rule, the master must die before the student can transcend to achieve success. Of course, the only thing this movie did successfully was put me to sleep. The End.
Did I mention that this is a bad movie? If you did not get the hint already, don't watch this movie! The direction is flat, the script is dull and the acting is...direct-to-DVD action movie quality. As much crap as people give Ed Wood before being a writer/director/actor in his own films, but he usually made them funny in an ironic way. Mr. Hall, on the other hand, made a boring film about people fighting vampires with swords! It takes a special hand to achieve such a dubious feat. All of the so-called action stars do not exactly excite and the only fun on hand involves Moore's appearances, as brief as they are. I never thought that I would look forward to seeing the star of Petey Wheatstraw, The Devil's Son-In-Law appear! This is just another feat that Ron Hall has achieved. For your next trick, make a good movie!
*Up next, a long out-of-print film from William Castle returns to DVD. Is it worth smiling about? Stay tuned...