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Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap77.78%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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Rise: Blood Hunter
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by brianorndorf

"When Lucy Liu killed her career"
1 stars

Mix “Blade,” a dash of “Point Blank,” and one of the worst movies you could imagine, and that’s pretty close to capturing the experience of viewing “Rise: Blood Hunter.”

Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) is a newspaper writer basking in the success of her first cover story on the local hipster scene. What she unwittingly enters as a result of the article is a dark cult of vampires (led by Eurotrash acting expert, James D’Arcy) who don’t enjoy the publicity, and they turn her into one of their own. Now undead, Sadie marches across the city hunting down those who tried to kill her, aided by a belligerent cop (Michael Chiklis, in a HUGE acting stretch) who wants the clan wiped out as well.

From the first frame, it’s hard to believe “Rise” was intended for the big screen. The picture plays more like a rotten Sci-Fi Channel Original, cursed with a stunningly low-budget production value and murky cinematography that at one point isn’t even in focus (there’s no way John Toll shot this, I don’t care what the credits say). The film looks cheap, ugly, and derivative of other direct-to-video horror cinema that litters the rental fields. So how did this garbage attract Lucy Liu?

Perhaps the actress was swayed by the chance to play a tough gal; an aggravated soul with an itch to take few prisoners on her path to revenge. It’s a crime Liu just doesn’t have the moxie to play this alt-weekly reporting, bloodsucking hard-ass (did I just write that?). She’s fluff in a role that requires a thunderclap of authority and bodily freedom (the film takes great care to hide her nudity), and her threats come across as mere suggestion rather than venomous demand. Liu “gets” the tragedy of the character to a very mild degree, but she never opens her soul or straps on her edge. She’s a blank slate, even though there’s so much oddity surrounding her.

Filmmaker Sebastian Gutierrez (one of men responsible for the flop “Snakes on a Plane”) doesn’t quite direct “Rise” as much as he tries in vain to hold it together. It’s a sloppy film, taking horror, noir, and procedural cues from better films to create its own mythology. Sadly, nothing seems to gel: the vampire backstory is barely touched upon, the characters roll in and out of the tale without any sort of fanfare or introduction, the score sounds like a kitten fell on a Casio, and the action is limited in imagination and obvious in execution. I can’t imagine this is what Gutierrez was shooting for when he was initially hired, but then again, “Snakes on a Plane” only furthers the argument that the filmmaker should perhaps seek other vocational opportunities.

For whatever reason, the film is chock full of the semi-famous, leading me to believe this picture was primarily financed by favors. In other words, this is probably the only chance you’ll get to see Marilyn Manson, Simon Rex, and Nick Lachey in the same movie together. Yay?

“Rise: Blood Hunter” is a tiresome genre exercise without any leadership or production quality to speak of. How this throwaway stab at a vampire franchise made it to theaters is a mystery to me, but it won’t be here long. Its proper home is in the rental arena, where it’ll be thankfully lost in a cattle drive of mind-numbing junk in no time.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/03/07 08:44:42
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User Comments

11/15/07 Boog I found it to be a bit slow - and senselessly low on action. Yeah for Lucy naked !! 2 stars
11/01/07 Litha Unless you are a total fan of the Z movie, forget this, because the review here nails it. 1 stars
6/05/07 delray The movie has three absolutely original and BRILLIANT scenes in it. 5 stars
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  01-Jun-2007 (R)
  DVD: 09-Oct-2007



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