Blood: The Last Vampire was first an anime film very popular in Japan and abroad. The story of Saya has been so popular since it’s first release in theaters on November of 2000, since then the film has garnered a core of fans that led the creators to continue releasing more content. There was a single manga sequel, Blood: The Last Vampire 2000, which was published back in 2001. In November 2002 the manga was released to the eager fans of North America with a title slightly modified to Blood: The Last Vampire 2002. Shortly after novel adaptations of the series followed by a fifty-episode anime series, Blood+, which is an alternate story. With all this content, how can the creators ignore bringing Saya’s story to a live action film? They couldn’t. Blood: The Last Vampire was released in theaters back in May of this year. Now let’s see how this release fairs on Blu-ray.
Our story begins with your girl named Saya (Jun Ji-hyun) who is a 400-year old half human-half vampire whose appearance is of a 16-year old. Saya was raised by a man named Kato (Yasuaki Kurata), she works and receives intel on where to find her next victims from an organization only known as “The Council”. Saya has been working with the “The Council” on hunting vampires while seeking for the oldest creature, Onigen, the strongest of them all.
The story truly starts moving when Saya is transferred to a school near the Yokota Air Base. This is all during pre-Vietnam War. Here we meet Alice (Allison Miller) who is the daughter of General Mckee (Larry Lamb) in charge of the base. Alice plays a larger role in the later part of the film. Saya is really sent into the school to investigate grizzly murders that have occurred at the school and to get rid of the creatures. Soon Saya finds what she is looking for; Alice not realizing what she sees begins to be confused, while Saya deals with the creatures. Eventually Saya realize that the very people around her are not what they appear to be and her quest for vengeance will soon end.
This is not your typical vampire flick, it is a film targeted to a certain audience, and horror aficionados most likely will pass on this. The acting was fine throughout the film, specially the main actor which portrays a strong warrior but emotionally scarred from events that occurred throughout her life. Saya appears detached from humanity and is portrayed very well. There are plenty of different issues with the film though, there is horrible special effects done. The blood is digitalized using CGI and looks rather fake, which ultimately drags this film down. The biggest problem of this film is that the story is very convoluted, there is more questions left at the end of the film than when the viewer began watching. Some things remained unanswered, for those that never were exposed to the anime film or the story in general will find it difficult to understand at the end.
This is what Sony does best; give mediocre to decent films a beautiful transfer. Blood: The Last Vampire features an MPEG4-AVC encode at 1080p resolution and framed at 2.35:1. The film is not necessarily dark, but there are plenty of night time scenes. The details are sharp, clean, and at times stunning. Several close up face shots really let’s the viewer see the facial textures, freckles, hair, etc. The blacks are inky, colors are vibrant especially those found during the jungle fight, and there is a small amount of grain found throughout the film. The film uses a yellow or golden tint on certain parts of the film capturing the late 60’s and early 70’s look, while other part use a red tint and I assume this was to capture the Japanese lighting coming from the street signs. Overall the film looks fantastic, there are some soft spots in some instances, but many will most likely look passed that.
The audio used in Blood: The Last Vampire is easily up to par with the visuals. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track is top notch delivering everything any audiophile wants in a film. The sound will completely surround the viewer throughout the many battle scenes, each sound is perfectly delivered. The surrounds appropriately deliver ambient sound effects as well as the score of the film. The dialog is clean and sharp, while the big and subtle noise is clearly heard throughout. The bass adds a fantastic feel for the film that will resonate through your house (I know a bit exaggerated but it’s seriously that good!). This is seriously reference audio material. The film might have been a bit of a let down, but the PQ and AQ are definitely top notch!
With a film that has a rich background I find it hard to believe that only three supplements for were added to this film. This is really disappointing as I would have liked to get more information about the story and such. Let’s see what was included.
- The Making of ‘Blood: The Last Vampire’ – Each of the cast members talk about their roles and what it was like working with one another
- Battling Demons: Behind the Stunt – An in-depth look at the film’s special effects and stunts performed throughout the film.
- Photo Galleries – Various photo galleries from the film.
- BD-Live – This is the typical feature which gives the users access to HD movie trailers.
Blood: The Last Vampire is decent, it’s not remarkable, is not a movie that will be remembered. The film is watchable and at times entertaining, there are some decent fight scenes, the acting is decent, and it’s not too over the top. However, the audience that the film is catered to is mostly teenagers. The horror aspects don’t really stand out and violence eventually falls short with the CGI making the film appear cartoony. Visually the film is great and the audio is superb, but at then I recommend at least a rent.