Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Before I go off on this movie in too greater detail, there are some nice concepts here. A civilized, all vampire world existing not in chaos but in continued peaceful, capitalistic harmony is something that is cool, to put it simply. And had this movie not been quite so determined to be a disposable and cliched action/horror movie, it could have been a neat little high-concept piece. And for the first ten minutes or so, ideas are everywhere. A little blunt and heavy-handed, sure but its nice to see in a movie of this kind. But then the plot kicks in. Shit goes to hell.
Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is a vampire super scientist, out to discover a substitute for the decreasing supply of human blood, because they killed all the darn things. Its not too long before the human resistance shows up, and once this happens the film goes exactly the way you'd expect it to go. It doesn't skimp on the blood or gore, and while it seems wrong to call this a good thing, a no-gore version of this movie would have sucked beyond belief. As it is, it becomes an increasingly camp gorefest terminally condemned by its own goofiness, which some will enjoy, but for me the movie takes it self a little too seriously for this to be the intention here. I think it wanted to be smart, dystopian horror action movie, but ended up a little too familiar in places. The human resistance is a genre staple, and so needs to be done more interestingly then this, similarly the evil corporation felt a little worn too, as did Sam Neill's performance, which I've seen him do too many times in too many bad movies.
Ethan Hawke is an actor I want to like. He's good in the before sunset films and I liked him a great deal in Gattaca, but he's not meant for this kind of thing. He's too smart to play in dumb movies, particularly action movies and that's less of a compliment then it sounds. Willem Dafoe is the highlight if there is one, although it's far from a career best. But he lends the film a small amount of charm and likability, which its increasingly sterile universe certainly benefited from. The Spierig brothers, who both wrote and directed, seem to hail from the David Goyer/John Carpenter school of film-making, in which they can devise intruiging, original ideas worth your time, and then proceed to execute them with all the finesse of the unintentionally comic devolved vampires on display here. Maybe hire a writer next time guys, just a thought.
But believe me there are worse, even more run of the mill action movies then this one, but if that's your best compliment something may be wrong.