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Published January 28th, 2007 | by Mike Barnard

Rise: Blood Hunter Review

Classification: 18 Director: Sebastian Gutierrez Rating: 2/5

Lucy Liu hasn’t had the best of luck in the movie business. One minute she’s pulling in the bucks with Charlie’s Angels or winning plaudits with Kill Bill Volume 1, the next she’s floundering with forgettable CV entries such as the woeful Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever or Codename: The Cleaner. Supernatural thriller Rise: Blood Hunter is not quite a complete let down like the latter two, however it won’t find many fans outside those with a love of vampire films or a healthy dose of blood, sex and gore.

Liu plays LA Weekly reporter Sadie Blake investigating a dark underground cult for a lead story. When she gets too close by snooping around rickety houses with dodgy cellars and blood splattered baths Resident Evil style, she becomes a victim of the group’s vampiric tendencies and becomes one herself. Awaking in a morgue, she fights her thirst for blood and seeks vengeance against those who have turned her into a monster, battling a series of foes in the hope of getting the vital information that will lead her to those who attacked her. Meanwhile, cop Clyde Rawlins (Chiklis) is involved in a case that will edge him closer to Sadie as their goals converge.

Written and directed by the man who scripted Gothika and Snakes on a Plane, Rise: Blood Hunter is closer to the forgettable Halle Berry horror than the one-joke premise of the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle. Sadie’s past is ignored in favour of a series of dull story filler sections and little concern for consistent character development. The blood, gore and sex do combine at times to inject some visual interest, however an increasingly disjointed narrative hampers much of the tension in between. Sadie dabbles in flirtatious lesbian antics and even gets naked for little more than a few talking points when the film has finished, while the strong supporting cast including Mako (Memoirs of a Geisha, Pearl Harbour), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) and Carla Gugino (Sin City, A Night at the Museum) are wasted with only a tiny amount of screen time.

Although the role of Chiklis does become more and more linked to Sadie, his relevance is rarely obvious as his scenes are almost randomly inserted. Similarly, Gutierrez fails to remain consistent in his storytelling, such as the wild variations in Sadie’s recovery time from death after becoming a vampire. When she jumps off a bridge in a suicide attempt she needs the care of spiritual healers, yet when shot she almost immediately gets back up. When her crossbow signature weapon miraculously appears from nowhere at the right moments to kill off her foes, it becomes pretty clear a lot more care and consideration should have been taken rather than insult the audience.

Rise: Blood Hunter comes from Sam Raimi’s Ghosthouse production company that brought us The Grudge, Boogeyman and 30 Days of Night so there’s no surprise it relies on the gory details as its main appeal. However, Lucy Liu should know better than to sign up to a lazy project with nothing new to bring to the vampire genre and once again lucks out with a blot on her movie history.

Storyboards and mobisodes including stunts and location, location.

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