Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
In 2000, Hiroyuki Kitakubo directed an extraordinary anime called Blood: The Last Vampire. It introduced Saya, the last vampire, now hunting batlike creatures called chiropterans, and dispatching them with a katana, a Japanese Samurai sword. Set on an American air force base in Yokota, Japan, just before the Vietnam War, it was short, dark, disturbing and brilliant.
Fast forward to 2009, and Chris Nahon directs a live action version with Gianna Jun as Saya (the hottie from My Sassy Girl, when she was known as Ji-Hyun Jun) and someone called Allison Miller as her blond sidekick Ė hang on a minute, what blond sidekick? Yes, itís an American remake.
Ok, so now the setting is an American base in Tokyo, and Saya is a vampire who hates all other vampires, and is determined to rid the world of them. Gianna Jun is as good as we expect her to be (even if we donít know who she is because of the name change), but this movie is no My Sassy Girl. Like all Asian actresses transitioning to American movies, she is positively discouraged from acting. Like the hapless Zhyi Zhang in Rush Hour 2, all she is really required to do is look inscrutable and kill everything in sight.
Nevertheless, she is the closest thing you will find to the original anime in this movie. She looks sensational, bringing school uniform-clad Saya to life as she whirls around the screen, dispatching chiropterans left, right, and down the middle. Saya is a 400-year-old half human, half vampire, and needs blood to survive Ė which she gets from bottles, not humans.
Her goal is to kill the oldest vampire, Onigen, played by The Last Samuraiís Koyuki. Thereís a plot twist here that isnít hard to spot, as Saya goes in pursuit of the vampire matriarch. Unfortunately for the audience, she also drags along the daughter of General McKee, Alice. Daddy has been killed by the vampires and Alice, who makes a career of turning up at the wrong time, becomes one of the least likable sidekicks in movie history.
She does have a purpose of sorts. Apparently Saya needs to learn to care for someone again, and for some reason she starts to care for Alice. Protecting this escapee from a B-Grade slasher from her own stupidity brings out Sayaís loving human half. Well, something like that.
Alice, frankly, is a pain. Nevertheless she is one indestructible teenage tootsie roll. She survives vampires, cliff falls, drowning, and her own bad acting. By the end, it is clear she is as immortal as Saya, and both are set to survive another 400 years for the next movie. Hopefully, it will take that long, and no one now living will have to see it.
I purchased a ticket to see this movie at the cinema with my own funds (worse luck!)
Blood - The Last Vampire
Blood: The Last Vampire