You know you’re in trouble when a movie opens with an expository crawl that begins in the 1500s and includes the phrase “centuries passed.” Things do not improve from there in Blood: The Last Vampire, a borderline-incompetent live-action adaptation of the popular 2000 Japanese anime, which has also spawned video games, novels and comic books in its native country. This version, however, is in English, is directed by a Frenchman and stars a Korean actress (Jun) as main character Saya, a half-human, half-demon whose sole purpose is to hunt down nasty bloodsuckers who want to take over the world or something (your guess is as good as mine). One of them is apparently the evilest demon ever, and also the person who killed Saya’s dad. None of it makes any sense, expository crawl notwithstanding. (How is Saya “the last vampire” if she’s busy hunting down all the other vampires?)
The filmmakers graft an annoyingly plucky American heroine (Miller) onto the story, and populate the supporting cast with actors delivering terrible dialogue often in questionable “American” accents. The excuse is that much of the action takes place on an American military base in Japan, and the members of the shadowy cabal that helps/betrays Saya are also American, for some reason. Also, it’s 1970, although you couldn’t really tell aside from one scene scored to a Deep Purple song.
Even worse are the special effects, which barely rise to the level of your average direct-to-video action cheapie. The demons look like decade-old video-game characters, and for some reason all the blood in the fight scenes is CGI, resembling little red pellets rather than bodily fluids. Though choreographed by Corey Yuen, veteran of numerous Jet Li movies, the action is repetitive and unoriginal, but it at least offers a respite from the horrible writing and acting. The only true relief, however, comes when the final credits roll.