Rise: Blood Hunter is extremely competent in many ways. As an example of the vampire genre there are many aspects that are well carried out, and the film is quite stylish at times.
But I can’t endorse mere competence as a reason to seek out a film, maybe a tradesman and especially a medical practitioner – there are fields that demand competence as a minimum standard, but not film.
A good film needs something more.
Sadie (Lucy Liu) is a small time journalist who immerses herself in subcultures and seedy company to get stories. Her most recent story followed a bunch of young goth types for a period of time and saw her article hit the cover of her newspaper.
A short while after the story was published one of her principal characters in the story turns up dead, and Sadie immediately investigates using leads developed in her initial research, which leads her to some ‘nefarious’ types.
To be more specific the ‘nefarious types’ are a male and female named Bishop and Eve, who after a short interrogation take turns alternately banging and bleeding her, before leaving her battered body in a dumpster. Sadie has been to death’s door and nearly beyond…
And when I say nearly we know what that means. Sadie is now a member of the undead. And none too pleased about it either.
The remainder of the film sees her trying to determine just how and why she came to be in her present state, and alongside an alcoholic cop named Clyde (Michael Chiklis), she seeks to enact revenge, working her way up the vampire chain of command until she can take a crack at the fiendish fanged fuckers who forced her into a life of blood-sucking.
Rise: Blood Hunter handles the vampire genre well – no-one sparkles here – and the death and feeding scenes are nice and luridly bloody.
The film has all the nudity that should be a prerequisite for a decent vampire film, Lucy Liu herself shows a welcome willingness to get her kit off.But these small victories are unfortunately diluted by confusing editing and a fairly thin storyline which unravels a little too gradually to retain the interest.
The acting is actually pretty good, with the actor playing Bishop being especially chilling and Lucy Liu having a real crack at a rare leading role.
But again there are issues, Michael Chiklis in particular is under-utilised, in the early going he is spotlighted enough to suggest he will be playing a major part in latter proceedings, then he is simply gone for a good 40 odd minutes before he finally re-enters the fray for the final act.
Ultimately the film ends up in the ‘just a movie’ basket despite some obvious pluses. I cannot fault the effort of the cast and the director, but the script doesn’t give them enough to work with, and given that the scriptwriter and director are the same guy then maybe it kinda is his fault.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. The pluses and minuses even each other out to the point that it is hard to recommend Rise: Blood Hunter, but there is some grain among the chaff if you take the time to sort through it.