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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD Region 1. Sony.

OK, let's be upfront about this: Rise - Blood Hunter is pretty throwaway stuff. Cobbling together ideas from a myriad of sources - Blade, Buffy/Angel, and The Crow spring immediately to mind - it's lightweight vamp-goth chic with a smattering of gore, nudity and action.

None of which should be seen as a bad thing.

The story is pretty simple. Reporter Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) is ivestigating the goth underworld when she gets a little too close to a vampire cult, and winds up in the morgue. Where she wakes up, punches her way out and embarks on a trail of vengeance against the vampires who made her an unwilling member of their ranks. Along the way, she's aided by cop Michael Chiklis, who's daughter was vamped at the start of the film.

Nothing overly unexpected happens throughout the rest of the film - Liu tracks down the various cult members in reverse order of importance and struggles with her own blood lust in much the way you'd expect. But it looks good, spills enough blood to keep the gorehounds content and has a few striking moments - the corpses suspended upside down, bleeding out into bowls; Liu's awakening in the morgue drawer; and her flashback death all stand out. And then there's Lucy Liu's curiously teasing nude scenes - long shots in shadow with brief flashes that seem designed to wind up her admirers!

Unfortunately, the film is sluggishly paced, and the vengeance killings are generally too simple, too generic to give any sense of satisfaction: you really want to see her use something other than a crossbow after a while.

On the whole though, Rise - Blood Hunter is harmless goth-horror lite. With oddball cameos (Marilyn Manson, would you believe?) and the same sense of knowing its place that permeated director/writer Sebastian Gutierrez's Snakes on a Plane (in other words, no-one is claiming this to be art), this is undemanding, fun entertainment that looks set to spin off into a video franchise - the sequel is already underway.





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