The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 89 Minutes
Genre: Martial Arts/Action
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Gianna, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham, JJ Field, Koyuki, Yasuaki Kurata
Directed by: Chris Nahon
Music by: Clint Mansell
Written by: Chris Chow
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 20, 2009
"Where evil grows she preys"
Now that she's here...there will be blood. Demons have infested Earth, and only one warrior stands between the dark and the light: Saya, a half-human, half-vampire samurai who preys on those who feast on human blood.
From a producer of Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE, based on the cult hit anime series. Demons have infested Earth, and only one warrior stands between the dark and the light: Saya (Gianna). She seeks to find and kill Onigen, the oldest and most powerful demon, who is responsible for unleashing the current crop of evil infesting the earth as well as the deaths of those closest to her. She joins forces with the shadowy society known as the Council and is dispatched to an American military base where she encounters a large concentration of demons. An intense series of swordfights leads Saya to her nemesis, Onigen. In order to succeed she will have to come face to face with her past which along with a newly formed friendship holds the key to who she is and why.
I am not familiar with anime series but this isn't a very well conceived or executed film. The script is weak and character development is poor. There is very little connection to Saya and as the central character the story revolves around her. Saya is a Halfling who emotionally struggles with her past. That aspect is never completely fleshed out although the finale attempts an explanation which turns out to be inadequate at best. The mysterious Council, where they originate from and how they became affiliated with Saya is never explained. There is little to no background on Onigen (other than a few flashback sequences that she isn't even in) which might help establish more of an understanding of Saya's fervent desire to kill her. The fight sequences primarily revolve around swordplay (although the way that Saya unsheathes her sword is cool) and seem to regurgitate the same moves over and over. The special effects, particularly, the fully revealed demons, and their minions leave something to be desired. The ending was rather abrupt and did little to bring the story's fragmented elements together. Being a fan of this type of martial arts action I enjoyed watching the extended fight sequences. I thought that the trailer for this looked promising but when all was said and done it failed to live up to my expectations.
The rating is for strong bloody/stylized violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Blood: The last vampire comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 mbps.
This high definition video presentation has a distinctive visual aesthetic that features a reserved chromatic palette which makes use of sepia tones and muted primaries. This applies predominantly to interior and darker sequences as exterior shots tend to offer more extensive use of color. Contrast and brightness are nicely balanced and blacks are deep and punchy. Shadow detail is strong which provides excellent dimension during sequences shot in low/uneven lighting. Flesh tones exhibit lifelike complexional variety and look great. Close ups offer appreciable texture with excellent delineation and subtle refinement. Wide angle shots have multi-stage depth, and crisp resolute image quality that is rarely questionable. I didn't notice any signs of compression or video related artifacts.
The high resolution DTS-HD MA audio is of reference quality and delivers the soundtrack's elements with aplomb. The higher fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix was readily apparent. Dynamics range is extended which renders the film's action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. The opening of the chapter 13 forest battle between Kato and Onigen's minions, exhibits excellent high level detail as the sounds of rustling leaves, a gentle breeze and subtle background ambience are clearly articulated. Once things ramp the sounds of battle fill the room and have defining presence and superlative transparent detail. The sound of swirling objects and clashing swords is reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging is excellent as the front and rear soundstage is integrated with precision. This is an active surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system. During the fight sequences the listening position is engaged by a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place the sweet spot in the heart of the action. Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as points of contact seem to resonate with palpable bass impact. The brief battle sequence that takes place above the canyon features notable low frequency transients that bass heads are sure to appreciate. This isn't a bombastic or overly aggressive soundtrack but it's blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make for a great home theater experience.
- (HD) Storyboard gallery - 3 sequences
- The making of Blood: The last vampire - 19 minute featurette
- Battling demons: Behind the stunts - 16 minute featurette
- (HD) BD previews:
- District 9
- The informers
- The sky crawlers
- Underworld: Rise of the lycans
- Resident evil: Degeneration
- What doesn't kill you
- The DaVinci Code extended cut
- Casino royale
- Close encounters of the third kind
- BD-Live enabled
Blood: The last vampire is a mediocre martial arts action film that is based on the anime series/film of the same name. While I think it had potential the script didn't have enough substance to sustain the elements present in the story and the special effects were on the cheesy side. On a positive note its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Sony features rip roaring DTS-HD Master Audio lossless sound and excellent high definition video quality that should excite enthusiasts. If you're in the mood for excellent home theater entertainment and don't mind a weak story give this a rent.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package