Saya (Jeon Ji Hyun) is a unique creation: a vampire demon with a human soul which leaves her with incredible power and a drive to avenge the death of her father at the hands of the evil demons who walk among us, and have done for centuries. Tonight, one evening in 1970, she is on the Tokyo subway when she and the only other person in the carriage get into a fight as she believes him to be a vampire who she has been sent to destroy. They run at each other and the man comes off the worst, cut in half by Saya's samurai sword, but when she meets her bosses soon after, they wonder if she has just killed an innocent human...
Blood: The Last Vampire was better known as an anime feature, but this live action version of its story was designed to change all that, both a cash in on the fans of the original and part of the drive to create as many action horror movies as possible on the part of the rights holders of computer games and cartoons. As it was, it had a mixed reaction from the fans, with many preferring the initial screen incarnation, but they could not say they had been shortchanged in the action department as not five minutes go by without the heroine getting into yet another high kicking, blade flashing, gravity defying combat situation.
As Saya, Jeon Ji Hyun (here billed simply as Gianna) was certainly hard working in the role, doing many of her own stunts and flinging herself around like a trooper, all under the tutelage of famed fight choreographer Cory Yuen. If he had more of a hand in directing the rest of the film it might not have seemed like quite the fuzzily-plotted and short attention span effort that it turned out to be, but as it was French director Chris Nahon was the man in charge and more keen on the action than he was at the business of telling the story. Saya is assigned to an American army base school, and at first the rendition of the seventies milieu is nicely done, but that doesn't last long.
The school is supposed to be hiding a demon or two, so the eternally youthful Saya dons her uniform (and never takes it off for the rest of the film) and gloomily goes to her class, but then, she does everything gloomily, never cracking a smile in the whole ninety minutes or so of the running time. One thing leads to another and soon she is saving a fellow pupil, General's daughter Alice McKee (Allison Miller) from two demons disguised as students who try to carve her up with swords until Saya makes her entrance and before you know it the aggressors have lost their heads. Alice cannot make anyone accept her story, but soon that won't matter much as the two team up, with the demon hunter doing most of the saving.
Naturally, although she takes a tumble and has to be revived by Alice's blood, Saya is pretty much invincible, so the script by Chris Chow intends on having us fear for Alice's safety instead. Fair enough, but we're well aware that there's no way that either girl will suffer so much that they're going to expire, so even when they're battling a not very good CGI monster while balancing on a truck wedged in the narrow space between two cliffs you don't feel much anxiety for their fates. It's a pity about those graphics, as obviously so much went into the fighting that there wasn't much cash left over for effects, and the duo might as well be battling a Scooby-Doo villain at too many points. It all ends with them going back in time to confront the head demon and an odd Return of the Jedi-style finale erupts with Saya in the Luke Skywalker mould, but for most this will be fairly average stuff. Music by Clint Mansell.
[The Blu-ray of this title has a few press kit-style featurettes and interviews as extras.]