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Rise: Blood Hunter

I wrote this review back in 2008, and I’m just reprinting it here with some minor changes. I still feel the same about this movie today as I did back then.

lucy-liu-rise-blood-hunterI became curious when I saw the promo poster for Rise: Blood Hunter DVD in the local video store that I visit often. I do not remember seeing it being released in the theaters. But the movie had some pretty big names attached to it, namely Michael Chiklis (The Shield), Carla Gugino (Sin City, Spy Kids), and, of course, Lucy Liu (Kill Bill, Ally McBeal). So I rented the movie but with reservation and low expectation. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad. But the straight to DVD release, if that’s truly what happened, was justified.

The first few scenes of the movie was titillating as the vampire Sadie Blake (played by Lucy Liu) was in an erotic tease with another stunningly beautiful woman. It so turned out that Sadie was simply using this woman as a decoy to locate the hiding place of the vampire leader who turned her into a bloodsucker and kill him to avenge her “death”. We discovered a little more about Sadie’s concern for living humans as she was not about to let any harm come upon the woman despite placing her in danger as a decoy. From there on, there was a series of flashbacks that led us back in time when Sadie was hapless victim herself who became a reluctant vampire.

The premise for Rise: Blood Hunter was nothing new. We had seen this story in the Blade series, a long established Marvel comic book turned movie about vampires hunting other vampires. To distinguish Rise from Blade, I thought that Lucy Liu had to be compelling in her portrayal of a vengeful spirit. Instead, she fell flat. She was simply not believable as an action hero. Her part required someone who can portray hatred of all things vampire, even herself. It just didn’t work out that way.

Another disappointment was the under-use of Michael Chiklis of The Shield and Fantastic Four fame. Chiklis was able to carry a movie given a chance. He played the role of a police officer searching for the killers of his daughter who teamed up with Sadie Blake to find the same vampire leader.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the vampire genre, you’d be disappointed with this movie. But if you’re a fan of Lucy Liu, then this should be one of the handful of movies in your collection.

Rating: ★★★☆ 

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