By Erika Lieu
Finally, Lucy Liu has a movie to really call her own. Never mind standing alongside other gorgeous women–or otherwise, if you have Calista Flockhart in mind–Lucy Liu keeps the spotlight in Rise: Blood Hunter. But it has to be naked, or half naked, at least. That’s right, Rise: Blood Hunter not only has a dodgy title, but also showcases Liu bearing at least half of her charms for 70 per cent of the movie. Those anxious for a fully frontal nude Liu won’t be disappointed either, although these scenes are all shot in dim lighting.
Some people might’ve assumed by now that Hollywood was all vampired out after Shadow of the Vampire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula, Blade, Interview with the Vampire, Van Helsing or Underworld. But if one insists on tilling the same ground, at least try to make it fresh. Granted, filmgoers rarely see characters on screen actually bite off and chew the flesh of a diseased man’s arm as in Rise: Blood Hunter, but this movie has little to offer its audience in terms of quality. The plot–in which a vamped-out Liu wakes up in a morgue and swears revenge against the cult that killed her–is uninspired and goes without even having the most obligatory plot twist. Perhaps the only entertaining part of the experience is the realization that sound technology has come a long way in the film industry from its humble beginnings. That’s not to say that this movie even effectively used sound effects to illicit shock from the audience. Rather, the sound effects crew were a bit more creative and engineered a very specific squishy sound for bleeding.
While there are no qualms about Lucy Liu’s acting, Sadie Blake is an excessively one-dimensional character considering she’s the focal point of the film. Since the lead character and the plot lack attention-grabbing ability, and the nudity is shoddily lit, audiences will likely focus on other aspects of the movie to keep themselves conscious such as the supporting cast. Since Rise: Blood Hunter was designed to be the Lucy Liu show, this places the spotlight onto actors that should really avoid it. Samaire Armstrong, for instance. In spite of her small role, Armstrong does a great job showcasing her excruciatingly monotone acting, displaying only one facial expression and attitude at all times. The rest of the cast–including shock rocker Marilyn Manson and the Shield star Michael Chiklis–fade into the background, though it’s unclear if that’s by design or not.
Those looking for a creatively produced vampire flick should stay far away. As for the 50 per cent interested in Rise: Blood Hunter for the aforementioned “cheap thrills,” beware that the payoff is likely not worth the horrors endured to witness it.