Vampire Warriors (Review)

Vampire Warriors


2010
Written and directed by Dennis Law Sau-Yiu

Sparkle THIS!

The announcements of a film starring Jiang Luxia and Chrissie Chau as chicks who fight vampires sounded like it would be the best movie ever. The reality is a far different creature, instead being a disappointing film with a few good moments. Jiang Luxia continues to be the best part of the films she shows up in, while Chrissie Chau continues to be…hot. She also barely participates in the action sequences. The action sequences should be what the film is built upon, but the tone of the sequences shift from practical fighting to insane flying wire fu where people get thrown through every wall in China, except for the one wall you would want to see someone thrown through.

The script itself feels more like a first draft than a full script. Many characters have little motivation, and even those given reasons for why they do stuff aren’t given much else to explain how they got to where they were. More of this complaint near the end of the review. It is obvious that Twilight inspired parts of the film, what with all the moping, the vampire family, and the vegetarian vampire angle. Someone needs to write a teenage girl hopping vampire romance novel quick!

Yank him until he goes full Anime!

When you think Chinese vampire films, you think of the hopping vampires, one-eyebrowed monks, awesome retro effects, lots of goofy scenes, and spooky/gross effects shots. Which is why when one comes out that features exclusively the western style vampires it is sort of interesting. There is no vampire hopping at all in this film, though there is a guy running around in the Qing style uniforms. We got no priests, and the effects shots are entirely digital and sparse. I don’t know if the complete lack of religious figures blasting the vampires is because the film is trying to appeal to more Western audiences who would be confused, or if there is some film guidelines from Mainland China that are against that stuff showing up. I do think the latter is why there were less gross/makeup effects that used to be common in these films.

Only mean people on the internet can make Chrissie Chau sad

Besides Jiang Luxia and Chrissie Chau, there are a bunch of other models in the cast – Haley C, Annie G, Dominic, Laying, Mia C, Suki, all of these are model/lang mo names. One expects the amount of Blue Steel in this movie will keep Pittsburgh in business for a bajillion years. I’m sure other girls with normal names in the credits are also models, it’s almost as if Dennis Law was trolling for dates. We also have two alumni from the original Mr. Vampire film, who are also the only people (besides one old lady) who look over 24 in the film. So please forgive the scant biographical information on some of these girls, as there isn’t any in English. As a final note, the film toys with some lesbian undertones between the main characters, which is sort of weird, especially since this film takes place in the all-too-common Hong Kong world where everyone is attractive 22 year old models who have never had a boyfriend.

Gymkata!

Ar (Jiang Lu-Xia) – Ar is a vampire hunter who spends all night killing vampires. Ar killed vampires with her father when she was young. She is also illiterate and has no money, as killing vampires doesn’t pay well. Jiang Lu-xia is rocking some awful extensions. Did one of the 1000 models on the movie sabotage her hair? See Jiang Luxia also be awesome in Coweb and Bad Blood.
Max (Chrissie Chau Sau-Na) – Vampire Max is Ar’s best friend and is a vegetarian vampire. Max’s favorite food is corgi, and definitely not obviously stuffed rabbit or ketchup. Chrissie Chau is the queen of the new breed of models showing up in Hong Kong called lang mo. Lang mo are models who aren’t fashion models but thanks to the internet get famous via the internet, and publish picture books of themselves wearing bikinis, something that is still shocking to many people in Hong Kong. There was even a big book fair recently where the lang mos like Chrissie Chau were banned and that caused much publicity and the models just showed up anyway as visitors. Chau is in an impressive number of recent films and will probably be in many more and inspire a whole new generation of lang mos.
Mung (Yuen Wah) – Mung is a Vampire Vampire, who consumes the blood of vampires to get powerful or something. Yuen Wah is one of two Mr. Vampire alums, and has been in a bajillion films, including My Kung Fu Sweetheart and Kung Fu Hustle.
Lung (Chin Siu-Ho) – Lung is the dad of the vampire family and is 1500 years old. He likes younger chicks, and lying to younger chicks. Chin Siu-Ho is another Mr. Vampire alum.
Rex (Rock Ji) – The brother in the family and the family member every sister has a crush on, even though Rex is too dense to pick up on it. Rock Ji is a male model. Shocking that another model is in this cast, I know.
Kar (DaDa Lo Chung-Chi) – The 800 year old vampire sister who is sick of living the unfeeling life. She gets her wish, though in the end maybe she didn’t want it so bad. DaDa Lo is a lang mo and also is in a pop group called Sugar Beez with A. Lin. The group appears to be based on the Twins, though most YouTube videos show them performing in front of only a few people at a time.
Lin (A. Lin) – The youngest member of the vampire family. That’s about it for what her character does in the film except almost drink too much water and die. Then she actually dies via Vampire Vampire. A. Lin is a model/singer noted for her resemblance to Gillian Chung. In the group Sugar Beez with DaDa Lo.
Menstruation really hits the spot!

A perfectly family friendly film

Vampire hunter Ar is tracking though the city, and follows two young men escorting two women to an abandoned building for party time. I’m sure you can guess the twist by the time the characters are done dirty dancing for like five minutes. Yes, the chicks are vampires, not the dudes. I wasn’t shocked, were you? Three other guys who are vampires come in, and Ar fights all of them.

That’s right, Edward returned your fan mail unopened!

FYI, vampires talk with electronic voices like the aliens on the original V. I don’t know if they have electro-voices on the new V, because that show looked dumb as hell so I never watched it.

Ar fights the vampire boys in a nice practical fight with only a tiny bit of wirework. In fact, some of these practical fights are done good enough you barely notice the wirework. That flies in a stark contrast to fights later in the film when everyone is flying around like Peter Pan. As the practical fights with Jiang Luxia are the best parts of the film, enjoy and enjoy. Probably up until the part when vampires get kicked through walls.

Exciting flying in place action!

With Jiang leaping in the air and kicking dudes through walls, I never get a clear idea if Ar is supposed to have cool vampire hunter super powers, or is part vampire like Blade, or just is so totally kung fu and of course she can kick people through walls and kung fu fly.

Someone was triple dog dared on this night!

So these vampire lads get staked, and in this film when staked the vampires blast into a burst of cgi sand and sparks. If only the other sparkle vampires did that…

Ar demands information from one of the girl vampires about a vampire named Sue, but the vampire lies, so she kills her. Ar then heads home, even flying over a wall, which is why I said the weird wire fu seems to be the norm.

A question a child might ask, but not a childish question.

Ar has the power to sniff out nearby vampires, allowing her to know her vampire buddy Max is outside. Ar and Max trade dirty jokes and conversation about virginities and how high blood pressure makes things like the end of hardcore porn. They also horse around in a pseudolesbionic way.

Ar sniffs some more vampires nearby, thinking it is her missing sister. She chases, but runs into the rest of Max’s vampire family. Vampire dad Lung is running around with a young vampire chick (played by Rachel Lam) who never gets a name besides Beauty (though is called Babe in the closing credits.) Beauty is another vegetarian vampire who is shocked, shocked when the kids call the Dad vampire “Dad”. He tries to tell her age and nothin’ but a number, especially when you are an ageless vampire, but she isn’t having any of it.

Okay, are THEY lesbians?

The three non-Max siblings (Rex, Lin, and Kar) bet on when a nearby old lady will die, as vampires can detect humans nearby who are near death. They can’t detect other vampires, which is why they can’t help locate Sue.

Vampires also can’t feel anything – pain, cold, discomfort, touch, warmth – although none of that is enough to keep the vampires from looking in pain during the fight sequences..so just ignore that! These vampires won’t stop whining about not being able to feel anything, Kar even almost kills herself. Vampire Emo right here.

Are these two lesbians? I need some answers here, movie!

Two other vampires (one played by Xiong Xin-Xin) lure some call girls into a spooky apartment so they can suck them dry, but the vampires get the tables turned on them when they’re ambushed by a Vampire Vampire, dressed in Qing Dynasty clothes, and dragging along his slave, a vampire in red named Sue. Yes, the sister of Ar. Sue is played by Pinky Cheung Man-Chi, who was in Bad Blood. The Xiong Xin-Xin fight is long enough to make him not useless, but he is still barely in the film. When the Vampire Vampire sucks the blood/soul of the vampires, they turn all black. Sue mentions that the souls of the vampires are now trapped in hell after the Vampire Vampire gets through with them, but he doesn’t care.

I’m totally not a lesbian. Now time to eat some tuna!
I pretty much do that with ketchup whenever I have fries…

Ar tortures Max by making dinner at a vegetarian restaurant with no animal meat/blood for her to snack on. That night we find out vampires sleep upside down. It must be definitely for a plot reason and not to just get a better look at Chrissy Chau’s cleavage!

Just your normal vampire cleavage pajamas!

Dad’s girlfriend turns out to have spent the day with Dad, but then storms off in a huff when she finds out he doesn’t live alone and doesn’t even know her name. Storming off turns out to be her undoing as she then becomes Vampire Vampire food. Ar is also out that night, offing an old lady vampire and her gang, the gang being two stunt team members in a garage in a mixed practical/wirework fight.


Vampire Starriors!
[FLOWPLAYER=http://tarstarkas.net/movies/vampirewarriors_clip1.flv,576,345]

The vampire family hangs at the harbor and mopes in a scene that seems to go on forever. The only interesting sequence is when Kar and Lin smell out a random girl’s menstruation. Instead of being creeped out, the random girl and her friend try to hit on Rex!

So, you’re finally ready to admit Team Jacob is the correct one?!

Lin and Kar split with Max and Rex, only to get chomped on by Mung the Vampire Vampire. Despite being semi-main characters, they will never be mentioned again.

Max meets up with Ar, who gives her some rats, even though Max doesn’t eat rats. This is never explained, it is either furthering Ar’s weird obsession with giving Max food she doesn’t eat, or just weird writing.

I’m definitely not Team Grandma!

Mung uses Sue to lure Ar to a school where he proceeds to beat the crap out of her in a fight that mixes wacko wirework with traditional fight choreography. This time the mix doesn’t quite work and the overuse of the wirework to make characters powerful undercuts the effectiveness of the practical fighting. Also Ar is thrown into a window and for some reason that causes every window on that side of the school to explode outward with much force. Joining the glass was my laughter, which also exploded outward at much force when that happened. But he is stopped from drinking her blood by Sue, who stabs Mung in the chest with some rebar. But it is not enough to kill him, only to make him mad.

We’ve talked it over and decided to become Team Potter this week!

He lets the sisters reunion for a few seconds because he knows he’s going to kill them. I guess. Sue sacrifices herself so Ar can escape, and kills herself so Mung can’t drink her blood.

The vampire family is going to leave town, and Ar came by to warn them of the Vampire Vampire (the family having found out when Dad found his girlfriend’s body.) Mung then comes by, he’s had a busy night. Dad tries to bargain, but Mung just wants to eat them all. Pokemon!

Excuse me, this is a lesbian only zone!

They all fight for a while, but Mung is too powerful and keeps tossing everyone aside. Punch punch throw. Punch punch throw. Dad throws Max and Ar out to go hide from Mung, while he and Rex stay to fight to the death. Yes, two will when where four has failed. That fight can’t last forever because they ran out of things for Mung to throw the two male vampires into, and Dad’s gotta get ate. So he does.

But remember, we aren’t lesbians!

Ar and Max made it to hid in a building right next door. Way to run far away! It’s daytime now, so Max can’t leave. Mung uses this opportunity to torture Rex so she can hear him – it is revealed if you squeeze the vampire heart, he will feel pain and scream. The vampire also dies, because Rex is dead by evening.

If I can smell vampires, why don’t they wear cologne?

Ar decides the only way she can defeat Mung is if she becomes a vampire as well. After feeling the sun for the last time, she goes under the tooth. We do get a good sequence right before where Ar helps Max feel the sun, which is the kind of stuff the movie should have had more of.

Stop me if you heard this one: A man walks into a rebar…

Back to the night, now Ar the vampire fights Mung the vampire vampire. Max continues to be useless and stays in the building.

Anyone care to try to explain how Ar got a change of uniform to an all black outfit while being trapped in the building all day turning into a vampire?

Why Flock of Seagulls stopped touring
It is now…kick your butt o’clock!

The final fight commences. It goes on for a while, looking pretty good despite the overabundance of the wire fu, but then it just sort of ends pretty abruptly. It’s like…huh? He’s dead? Okay.

And now the two girls can live happily ever after. As vampire lesbians– I mean, just vampire girls who are living together, doing vampire girl things. Just two vampire girls, hanging out, maybe they have sex a few times…

Damn Chinese-made gloves! Buy American, people! Or at least Indonesian…

So we were pretty much disappointed with this one. A script that felt rushed, odd pacing, vampires spending a long time moping when we want to see action, and no real structure to the vampire mythos. I looks like the film was trying to appeal to too many audiences at once. From Jiang Luxia bringing to awesome realistic fights, to Chrissie Chau and her model crew hanging around being hot, to the attempts to make it a horror film, to the wire work giving us wuxia kung fu flying mania – we got genres mixing together in a weird hobo stew. Except this hobo stew has a couple of shoes in it and is making most of us head back to the soup kitchen to get some of their soup. It may be bland, but at least we can keep it down.

My fake teeth enrage me!

So to be extra useful, I’ve cataloged a few suggestions that a film with this basic plot should incorporate:

  • A scene of Sue and Ar as kids to give us a bit of emotional connection to Sue and to Ar’s quest to find her.
  • Explaining why Ar’s family are vampire hunters
  • Maybe Mung the Vampire Vampire could have also killed Ar’s father
  • Far less family “wah wah, us vampires can’t feel” nonsense
  • A better explanation of why the Vampire Vampire eats other vampires – maybe he’s working towards a goal and needs to eat 99 vampires to become a human with vampire powers or something, and make Max’s character target number 99 or something. There is a throwaway line about him doing this to get back a bit of human feelings or something, but it is not expanded on.
  • Set it up so the Vampire Vampire can only be killed by a newborn vampire or some other vampire type that only Ar could be if she became a vampire.
  • Make Ar more hesitant and disgusted that she has to become a vampire.
  • Give vampire blood powers or something like True Blood, since the Vampire Vampire is using the blood anyway implying it does something.
  • Let us know why didn’t Ar just go in the room Mung was sleeping in during the day and kill him? Maybe he can stay awake all night (he was asleep in the film)
  • How about we see all the souls that the Vampire Vampire eat escaping when he dies? Maybe they even attack his soul and destroy it.
  • If you’re gonna imply lesbians, go full lesbian
Okay, maybe I was a lesbian, but only during college!

Rated 5/10 (pinchy pinchy, pinchy pinchy redux, a totally real rabbit, a totally fake rat, angry vampire chick is angry about kissing)


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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!