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Blood: The Last Vampire

English-language theatrical poster
Directed by Chris Nahon
Produced by Ronny Yu
Written by Chris Chow
Starring Gianna Jun
Allison Miller
Masiela Lusha
JJ Feild
Koyuki
Liam Cunningham
Music by Clint Mansell
Cinematography Hang-Sang Poon
Editing by Marco Cavé
Studio Edko
Pathé
Distributed by Asmik Ace Entertainment
Pathé
Release date(s) May 29, 2009
Running time 91 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Japan
France
Language English
Gross revenue US$5,731,143

Blood: The Last Vampire, released in Japan as Last Blood (ラスト・ブラッド Rasuto Buraddo ?), is a 2009 live-action remake of the 2000 anime horror film of the same name. Directed by Chris Nahon and co-produced by Hong Kong-based Edko and French company Pathé with the blessing of Production I.G, the English language film was released in Japan and other Asian markets on May 29, 2009. It was released in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2009 and saw a limited release to theaters in the United States starting on July 10, 2009. The film focuses on a half-human, half-vampire girl named Saya who hunts full-blooded vampires in partnership with humans and seeks to destroy Onigen, the most powerful of vampires.

Contents

Plot

Saya (Gianna Jun) is a 400-year-old half human-half vampire who hunts other vampires. Raised by a man named Kato (Yasuaki Kurata), she works loosely with an organization known as "The Council" while seeking out Onigen (Koyuki), the highest ranking and strongest of vampires. Seeking clues about Onigen, Saya transfers to a school near the Yokota Air Base. Normally a loner, Saya forms a friendship with a young girl named Alice (Allison Miller), whom she rescues from some vampires.

Production

In May 2006, Bill Kong announced that he was producing a live-action film adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire, directed by Ronny Yu. Like the source anime, it would be primarily filmed in English rather than Japanese.[1][2] Kong and Yu originally planned to finance the project themselves, but in November 2006, Production I.G officially consented to the film and began offering financial support.[3][4] Rather than being paid a straight license, Production I.G will receive a percentage of all revenues generated by the film.[4] Through ties to Manga Entertainment, the French company Pathé became the film's co-production company, joining the Hong Kong-based Edko.[2][4] Yu was retained as its producer, but Chris Nahon took over as the film's director.[5][6]

South Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun, who adopted the English screen name Gianna Jun for the release, plays the role of Saya.[7]

In early announcements, it was stated that the film would be set in 1948 at a United States Army camp in Tokyo, shortly after the conclusion of World War II during the American occupation of Japan.[3] During production, the film was shifted to be set in the 1970s instead (the original setting for the anime).

Distribution

Originally slated to be released worldwide in spring 2008,[4] the film premiered in Japan on May 29, 2009,[8] and was released in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2009.[9] Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group licensed the film for release in North America, where it was released to theaters by Samuel Goldwyn Films on July 10, 2009.[10][11]

Reception

The film grossed US$473,992 in Japan, and had a worldwide gross of US$5,731,143 worldwide.[12] [13] On the opening weekend of its limited release to twenty theaters in the United States, the film grossed $103,000.[14]

Cathy Rose A. Garcia of The Korea Times regarded Jun as being "probably the only bright spot in this film", criticizing the "convoluted plot... cheesy special effects and overacting from the supporting cast". She dismissed much of the film's violence as "gratuitous" and noted that although the stunts were "impressive" they also lacked originality, while the climactic showdown showed an absence of "any real excitement".[15]

The film received generally negative reviews from American critics.[16][17] Variety's Peter Debruge was critical of editor Marco Cave for "reducing all but one of the fight scenes into a flurry of cuts", and described the CG effects as "herky-jerky". Commenting on the direction, he said, "Nahon privileges surface appeal and kinetic energy over narrative logic, and finesses the footage with an unpleasant yellow tinge that gives everything a vintage chopsocky feel".[18] Felix Vasquez, Jr. of Cinema Crazed praised the film as "blockbuster material", finding the film's special effects to be "top notch" and Nahon's direction as "often times beautiful as he convinces us successfully that we're watching a vampire period piece". Conversely, he felt the film lacked a real story, focusing mostly on sword-fights, and that the character of Alice was "dead weight" and a token character added to avoid the film being completely Asian.[19] The Hollywood Reporter's Maggie Lee praised Jun's performance as Saya, feeling that she "displays ample aptitude for being an action heroine, doing most of her own tendon-twisting martial arts stunts and looking utterly fetching in a sailor suit that could turn any guy into a uniform-fetishist". However, she felt the direction and screenplay lacked "freshness" and "nuance", the special effects and choreography "cool" but unimpressive, and the ending predictable.[2] Roger Ebert rated the film three out of four stars, stating that it was "surprisingly entertaining" and a "CGI fantasy". He found the plot to be "inconsequential" to the action sequences. While he felt that Gianna was "never really convincing as a martial artist", he praised her for her "sympathetic performance" which he felt held the film together. As a whole, he found the movie to be "sincere as an entertainment" that "looks good" and is "atmospheric", and notes that he will be watching for Gianna in future films.[20]

References

  1. ^ "'Blood: The Last Vampire' Live Action". ICv2. May 19, 2006. http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/8704.html. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  2. ^ a b c Lee, Maggie (June 11, 2009). "Blood: The Last Vampire -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/film-review-blood-the-last-vampire-1003983857.story. Retrieved June 28, 2009.  
  3. ^ a b "Ronny Yu and Quint discuss Fearless, Jet Li's retirement and Blood: The Last Vampire!!". Ain't It Cool News. September 14, 2006. http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30049. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  4. ^ a b c d "Live Action Blood: The Last Vampire". Anime News Network. November 3, 2006. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2006-11-03/live-action-blood-the-last-vampire. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  5. ^ Leroy, Caroline (October 15, 2007). "Blood : The Last Vampire : photo exclusive!" (in French). FilmsActu.com. Mixicom. http://www.filmsactu.com/news-cine-blood-the-last-vampire-photo-exclusive-161.htm. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  6. ^ "1st Live-Action Blood: The Last Vampire Still Posted". Anime News Network. October 16, 2007. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-10-16/1st-live-action-blood-the-last-vampire-production-still-posted. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  7. ^ "Jun Ji-hyun Changes Name to Gianna Jun for Blood: The Last Vampire". BeyondHollywood.com. May 22, 2007. http://www.beyondhollywood.com/jun-ji-hyun-changes-name-to-gianna-jun-for-blood-the-last-vampire/. Retrieved March 14, 2008.  
  8. ^ "Live-Action Blood: The Last Vampire Teaser Gets 450,000 Accesses". Anime News Network. March 3, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-03-03/live-action-blood/the-last-vampire-teaser-gets-450000-accesses. Retrieved March 3, 2009.  
  9. ^ "2 New Live-Action Blood: The Last Vampire Clips Posted". Anime News Network. June 25, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-06-25/2-new-live-action-blood/the-last-vampire-clips-posted. Retrieved June 25, 2009.  
  10. ^ "Sony Acquires Live-Action Blood: The Last Vampire's U.S. Rights (Update 3)". Anime News Network. May 1, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-05-01/sony-acquires-live-action-blood/the-last-vampire-u.s-rights. Retrieved June 9, 2009.  
  11. ^ "Ponyo to Open on 800 U.S. Screens, Blood on at Least 11". Anime News Network. June 4, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-06-04/ponyo-to-open-on-800-u.s-screens-blood-on-at-least-11. Retrieved June 9, 2009.  
  12. ^ "Blood: The Last Vampire - Foreign Box Office". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=bloodthelastvampire.htm. Retrieved December 28, 2009.  
  13. ^ "Blood: The Last Vampire - Summary". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bloodthelastvampire.htm. Retrieved December 28, 2009.  
  14. ^ "Live-Action Blood Film Opens with Estimated US$103,000". Anime News Network. July 13, 2009. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-07-13/live-action-blood-film-opens-with-estimated-us$103000. Retrieved July 13, 2009.  
  15. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (June 5, 2009). "Jun Ji-hyun Shines but 'Blood' Disappoints". The Korea Times. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2009/06/141_46305.html. Retrieved June 28, 2009.  
  16. ^ "Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10011388-blood_the_last_vampire/. Retrieved July 16, 2009..  
  17. ^ "Blood: The Last Vampire". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/bloodlastvampire?q=Blood:%20The%20Last%20Vampire. Retrieved July 16, 2009..  
  18. ^ Debruge, Peter (June 16, 2009). "Blood: The Last Vampire". Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940485.html?categoryid=31&cs=1. Retrieved June 28, 2009.  
  19. ^ Vasquez Jr., Felix (June 24, 2009). "Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)". Cinema Crazed. http://www.cinema-crazed.com/0-g/blood.htm. Retrieved June 28, 2009.  
  20. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 8, 2009). "Blood: the Last Vampire". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090708/REVIEWS/907089989/1023. Retrieved August 4, 2009.  

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