Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The tagline for ‘Rise Bloodhunter’ read like this:  A female reporter wakes up in a morgue and finds herself a member of the undead.  She vows revenge on the sect that put her there and one by one hunts them down.  I’m not gonna lie to you people, when I read a tagline like that, I’m going to be all over that movie.  ‘The Queen’, ‘Notes on a Scandal’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’?  No, I wasn’t too terribly excited to see those films, though I am glad I did because all three were phenomenal to varying degrees but you’re telling me that there is a vampire revenge flick with hot naked chicks in it AND Vic Mackey?  Bring it on brother, bring it on.  Despite the fact there is a high probability that this movie is going suck complete and total ass, there is the off chance that it won’t and thus I can wait another day before having to go watch ‘Becoming Jane’.  Thankfully ‘Rise’ didn’t suck total ass, but it also wasn’t all that good either, however I did find it to be watchable, slickly produced entertainment.

Lucy Lui, who I think show us her boobies in this movie – and I only think that because Director Sebastian Gutierrez shot Lucy when she was supposedly naked in ways to avoid maximum exposure, plays Sadie Blake who is an intrepid reporter for some Enquirer style newspaper specializing in weird occult like investigations.  Her boy Ethan is some kind of computer hacker who has decoded a message about a feeding party of some sort that involves one of the freaky goth kids from Sadie’s previous story.   Not too interested in the story Sadie goes on about her merry business until this kid show up dead and Ethan turns up missing.  Wondering what the hell is going on, Sadie does some investigation and unfortunately is introduced to Bishop (Hugh D’Arcy), who is the leader of these blood feeders and his hot mistress Eve (Carla Gugino).  They are fairly convinced that Ethan spilled some beans about their existence to Sadie, despite the reporters insistence she doesn’t know diddly.  Nonetheless, they decide to suck her dry and toss her in a local dumpster.

When Sadie awakes, she is in one of the morgue drawers and has an insatiable thirst for blood.  She tries to end it all, again, but as she is told by the mysterious Arturo (Julio Oscar Mechoso) she can’t die by regular means.  Arturo though has a plan and it involves eradicating the world of these blood suckers and using a very angry Sandy to do it.  Along the way Sadie meets Police Detective Rawlings (Michael Chiklis) who is the father of the slain goth girl we spoke of earlier and together they set out to end Bishop and his reign of terror, but you know very well Bishop and his crew aren’t going out easy.

Actually, that wouldn’t be totally true because one of the problems with this flick is the relative ease in which Sadie is able to eliminate these so-called vampires, or whatever they were.  So easy in fact one wonders why this Arturo character didn’t just take these unusually weak and lame creatures out himself.  With bits and pieces of this movie cobbled from bits and pieces of other flicks like ‘Blade’, ‘Vampire Hunter D’ and ‘Dracula’ just to name a few, you won’t find a heck of a lot innovation or cleverness in writer / director Gutierrez’s film nor will you find a heck of lot cohesion in the jumbled narrative.  The director has crafted as film that erratically moves from one plot point to the next giving the viewer almost no sense of the passing of time, which has clearly happened by the ‘six months later’ subtitles we see at the bottom of the screen.  He also provided these fangless, light dwelling, non bat transforming vampires no back story.  I was just a little bit curious to know where they come from why they are what are and why they do what they do.  Just a little bit.

But despite the relatively weak narrative, ‘Rise’ does look good though and is filled with loads of style, atmosphere and good looking women.  He paces the film well and at no point could I say it was ever boring or dull and it had some halfway decent gore for folks who like that kind of thing.  Lucy Lui (still hot at 39) does a fine job with the character of the Sadie Blake though there’s no bridge created to carry her from confused newly undead hottie to super vampire slayer. Carla Gugino’s supreme hotness is fairly wasted in a virtually meaningless role, but she is the director’s woman, so you can’t be too upset at a man giving his lady a gig and keeping her covered up.  With each passing day Michael Chiklis gets farther and farther away from the Comish playing yet another hyper violent tortured police officer and Mako signs out of life with this being his last role playing the valet to head vampire Bishop. 

Like I said ‘Rise’ isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, despite the promise of its tagline or its glossy trailer, but it does have an awful lot of style to help make up some for its complete lack of substance and Lucy Lui does kinda sorta do some nude scenes, kinda sorta.  Oh well, time to watch ‘Becoming Jane’. 

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