Friday, June 12, 2009

Blood:The Last Vampire

I just got back from seeing the new American remake of the anime film, Blood:The Last Vampire. The movie stars Jun Ji Hyun (전지현) or Gianna Jun as she is known in America as the vampire, Saya, who's only goal is to rid the world of the demons plaguing Japan.

I always think it's odd and vaguely racist to cast people of the wrong nationality in roles. Ji Hyun in this film is playing the role of a Japanese person, when in real life she is Korean. What, they couldn't find a Japanese actress? I guess any Asian will do, they all look alike, right? *extreme sarcasm*

I also think it's strange that Korean people are willing to over look this because she is starring in an American movie.

A little background, Koreans have an innate hatred of the Japanese because of the atrocities that occurred during WWII. They are culturally conditioned with this hatred. If a friend says they are going to Japan on vacation, that friend is ridiculed. My students (ages 10-13) feel the need to yell "I hate Japan" any time anything quasi-Japanese is said or even eluded to. This week in a speech one of my students gave about the Japanese economy began with a disclaimer apologizing for speaking positively about Japan. Yet no cares Jun Ji Hyun is playing a Japanese. This is how the students say, "strangey."

As I digress, I became a fan of Jun Ji Hyun when she starred as the sassy knock-out(literally) main character in the melodrama "My Sassy Girl" or
엽기적인 그녀. She shows such a great range of acting in the film. She is mostly for lack of a better term, a bitch. Later in the film we see a tenderness and insecurity that is truly remarkable. It was the role that made her a break out star in the Korean Hallyu. It is an actually good Rom-Com also. Check the clip

Now this brings me to Blood. She is.....well....boring as fuck seems to be the only way I can say it. Her acting is reminiscent of a stick being told to swing around a katana and act heart broken. Every time there is a fight scene all we get are extreme close ups of her moving really fast, slow motion shots were she does something right, or camera is hand held and frantically trying not to capture the action. All this smoke and mirrors is obvious. My girlfriend, who is a fan of Ji Hyun and has no film background, asked "why aren't they showing her doing anything? It's all shots of blood flying around?" I had no answer other than, "I guess she sucks at action."

It's not that Ji Hyun is awful. She's just not good. Her English is really good. She sounds like a really forced copy of one of my advanced students. That was a compliment. The actress who played Onigen, the main demon, on the other hand....really needed a language tutor. I think Ji Hyun should either try my Korean action film before trying to hit America or if she really wants to act in America, stick to rom-com or drama.

Overall, if you are looking for a fun popcorn flick, this is a good Saturday matinee or late Sunday night. I liked it. I felt I got my 6,000won worth. If you are looking for something intellectual and with depth, you are a moron if you see this. If you don't really care about plot and just want to see some what cool stylization of anime, a cute girl with a sword, and gallons of CG flying blood, this is the movie for you. I said I liked it.

If it were a breakfast cereal, it'd be Sugar Smack.

btw...the demons look like something a fifth graded made with After Effects. But I can't say anything because I can't even make something that looks any where near what a fifth grader would make.


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