aka: The Era of Vampires
Director: Wellson Chin
Starring: Ken Chang, Michael Chow Man-Kin, Suet Lam, Kwok-Kwan Chan, Anya
Five heroes. A coven of vampires. A lot bad blood.
The profession of being a vampire hunter was a valid one in the 17th Century in China. They even had vampire hunting schools at that time. Wind, Thunder, Rain and Lightning are four promising young students who are chosen to accompany a master of the craft on a journey to kill a powerful vampire. Things doesn’t go very well and their master gets lost and the foursome use the next months to track down what might have happened to him.
Vampires in China differ from the american and european ones. Here they usually hop around, spit poison, cannot see you if you are wet and generally don’t like water and they can also draw blood without biting your neck. They are not romantic, beautiful beasts but rather undead zombielike creatures.
Vampire Hunter is very fast paced and even though Tsui Hark is just the producer and screenwriter, this seems like a Tsui Hark movie. There’s plenty of mad kung fu, action, silly chinese comedy which can be an acquired taste and a hint of romance. The story here is all over the place and very hard to follow, if possible. The characters aren’t very interesting, only interesting bit about them is the silly names they get. I wonder where and why this weird naming in Hong Kong movies started from. The action bits are very fun and the non-action bits are equally boring.
They did however manage to make the movie look very good and some scenes are filled with colors and are quite beautiful. The film is directed by Wellson Chin, who have been making movies for 20+ years including the Cynthia Rothrock movie Prince of the Sun and also the two first Inspector Wears Skirts movies. Chin did not make this into his own vehicle though and I can’t help but wonder how big of an influence Hark had on this film.
Vampire Hunters is not very good. The kung fu action scenes are the highlights, while the hopping vampire is never something I’ve quite gotten adjusted to (Robo Vampire is an exception). If you love stuff like The Twins Effect then you might enjoy this, but I did not care much for it.