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Originally published July 9, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Page modified July 9, 2009 at 3:26 PM

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Movie review

"Blood: The Last Vampire" is full of cheese

"Blood: The Last Vampire," a live-action adaptation of a 2000 Japanese anime film, is more cheesy than bloody in its depiction of a "good" vampire on a mission to rid the world of evil.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 1.5 stars

"Blood: The Last Vampire," with Gianna, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham, JJ Feild, Koyuki, Yasuaki Kurata. Directed by Chris Nahon, from a screenplay by Chris Chow. 91 minutes. Rated R for strong bloody stylized violence. In English and Japanese, with subtitles. Varsity, Pacific Place; see page 17.

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Vampires are thicker than mosquitoes this summer in a pop-culture infestation swarming through movies, TV, books, magazines, fashion and graphic novels (with zombies staggering in at a bloodthirsty second).

Whatever hunger lies behind our need for re-imagined tales of the undead probably won't be sated by "Blood: The Last Vampire." This live-action update of a popular Japanese anime film from 2000 has a heart full of mythology, but its fangs are dulled by an anemic script and clumsy action sequences that are notable mostly for an excess of cheese, not blood.

Saya (Gianna) is a centuries-old half-vampire/half-human who works for the Council, an enigmatic cadre of mortals dedicated to ridding the world of demons (aka vampires). A nest of demons has been discovered on a U.S. military base near Tokyo, so Saya is called in to use her samurai blade and supernatural slaying skills to increase the peace. Through a series of purging bloodbaths, Saya gets closer to Onegin (Koyuki), the vilest of demons, and the one vampire against whom Saya carries a personal vendetta.

A wide variety of nationalities and acting proficiencies skirmish together in the larger battles for good and evil in "Blood."

There's some novelty in the '70s period setting and unusual combination of characters that include a vapid American teenager, a sailor-suited Korean schoolgirl, a wicked Japanese supermodel and a legion of mysterious men in black.

But the vampire legend that "Blood" sweats bullets to maintain is consistently undercut by a clunky style and repeated scenes of mayhem that don't even live up to the proud tradition of B-movie mayhem. Saya's razor-sharp katana sends heads, limbs and torsos flying in fountains of computer-generated globules that look more like drops of olive oil floating in vinaigrette than realistic gouts of blood. A dependence on C-grade special effects may have been intentional, but especially in this season, "Blood" is hardly the movie to tell the story of the last vampire.

Ted Fry: tedfry@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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