Movie Review: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

Well this is a first for the Month of Spooks… animation. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”.

When a girl (Wendee Lee) is kidnapped by a vampire, her family hires a legendary bounty hunter (Andrew Phlipot) to get her back. The setup is an old school one, but the way they handle it feels fresh. For one, it’s set in the distant future… but it also looks like the old west. This blend of different styles makes for a fun and unique universe. But it’s not just the world building that works about this movie. “Bloodlust” really takes time to weave a surprising amount of nuance throughout, making me really care about what really happens throughout the story, be it larger, epic moments or smaller, intimate drama.

Like with story before them, the characters in this movie have a bit more nuance than expected. At first they can seem like stereotypes. Broody, stern, Hannibal from “A-Team”, asshat. But if one sticks around, the characters get fleshed out quite a bit, making them a hell of a lot more compelling. First up we have D(E,F,G), the titular character at the center of the story. He’s the broody fucker I mentioned before… but he’s also a compassionate, strong-willed, and endearing guy who works to stay on the side of good. And I think Andrew Philpot does a great job with the voice work. Next we have Leila (cue Derek and the Dominos), another bounty hunter searching for the kidnapped girl. Tough, determined, stern, and also has a good heart. And she grows quite a fun rapport with D. She’s voiced by Pamela Adlon, who I think does a damn fine job with it. Wendee Lee does a good job as the kidnapped girl, who we meet multiple times throughout. And the vampire that did said kidnapping, played wonderfully by John Rafter Lee, is quite an interesting antagonist. Again, all the characters are pretty interesting. And the supporting cast is great.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio, who did a wonderful job with it. It’s moody and atmospheric, but also big and epic, as well as emotionally charged. It perfectly helps create the vibe the movie is going for, which is has a familiar sense of gothic brood, while still feeling fresh and unique for this movie.

Based on a manga series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, “Bloodlust” was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who I think did a wonderful job with it. His direction manages to keep the energy and pacing up throughout, without making it feel like he’s rushing things. He will let quiet moments simmer a bit, but without accidentally slipping into boredom. And holy fucking shit, the animation is stunning, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact that Madhouse was the studio behind it (they make well animated stuff, yo). Combining Kawajiri’s meticulous direction with the animation talents at Madhouse was clever, as it makes for not only some gorgeously detailed wide shots, but also some insanely entertaining action scenes. It also makes it so the few pure horror bits we get become genuinely creepy. So well done, crew.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” isn’t just a highly entertaining vampire action movie, but it’s also a surprisingly nuance movie that subverts a fair bit of expectations. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is now completed.

Any time you have a character with single-letter names, I just wanna continue the alphabet after referring to them.
“So what’s the character’s name?”
“D”
“Interesting”
“E, F, G, H, I… “

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)

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Guys… it’s another Month of Spooks review. And it also happens to be for a sequel to the first movie I reviewed for the Month of Spooks this year… holy shit. So let’s just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Resident Evil: Damnation”.

Leon Kennedy (Matthew Mercer) is back. But this time he has traveled to an eastern European country to try to destroy a bunch of biological weapons being used over there. While there he meets with resistance fighters Buddy (Dave Wittenberg) and JD (Val Tasso), two men who may not trust Leon, but still more or less works with him to stop the bad shit. And that is a pretty basic plot that still holds up thanks to some interesting little nuances throughout combined with really good pacing. Sure, this isn’t some Oscar worthy storytelling by any means, but it still really works as an interesting and entertaining plot with good pacing.

The characters in the movie are all pretty interesting. Leon of course, being a main character since “Resident Evil 2” is of course as great as ever, even if he has some cheesy lines. But Matthew Mercer delivers them so well that I simply enjoy hearing the lines. But I’m also a “Resi” fan, so I expect there to be cheesy writing that gives me a dumb smile. But Matthew Mercer is genuinely great in the role, as the cool and experienced agent. Dave Wittenberg and Val Tasso are really good in the movie as their respective characters (Buddy and JD), even if their Slavic accents fluctuate in quality a bit. We also got Courtenay Taylor as legendary “Resi” character Ada Wong and she is great in the role… not much to say about that really. The actors in the movie do very well.

The music in the movie was composed by Rei Kondoh and Shusaku Uchiyama and I think that it was really good. It wasn’t really groundbreaking in any sense, but it fit the movie very well and made a lot of scenes even more exciting. And the end credits song “Carry On” by Anna Tsuchiya was pretty good as well. So this movie had some good music!

Since this movie is animated (like the previous one), I guess I should talk about the animation. So how is it? Pretty fucking great. The animation has increased in quality significantly since “Degeneration”. Facial movements are less stiff and look pretty great. And the hair on the characters looks fantastic. Body movement has also increased in quality, now flowing much more organically. The action scenes look terrific, and are very exciting. I’ll also mention that if you enjoy blood and gore in movies, then I think you’ll appreciate this one… because we get that stuff in here.

It’s difficult to see how this movie has been received because it barely exists on the sites I use for this section. But at least it exists on imdb.com with a score of 6,5/10.

“Resident Evil: Damnation” is one of those rare sequels that somehow surpasses it’s predecessor. With an interesting story, good characters, really good acting, really good music, fantastic animation, great action, and great pacing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Resident Evil: Damnation” is a 9,77/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Resident Evil: Damnation” is now completed.

Let’s hope next year’s “Resident Evil: Vendetta” turns out to be as good…