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Blu-ray Review: Blood: The Last Vampire

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Blood: The Last Vampire can hardly be called a movie. Clocking in at only 48 minutes it’s more like an episode plucked from a much larger series. With such a short run time and a hefty price tag, is Blood: The Last Vampire worth watching?

Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s film deals with Saya, the last remaining original vampire. She works with a shady government organization to hunt down the ghastly beasts that plague Japan. Saya’s latest mission takes her to a US Air Force base on the eve of the Vietnam War. A spate of supposed suicides in and around the base have baffled the local authorities but caught the eye of Saya’s organization. Saya goes undercover at the base’s high school so she can discover the beasts before they disappear into hibernation.

The remarkable thing about Kitakubo’s film is even though it only goes for 48 minutes it takes the time to establish a setting, a few minor characters, and a little bit of plot and mystery before jumping into the action and blood play. Looking at the run time, this was really unexpected but rather welcome. Nonetheless, the plot is rather thin and the characters underdeveloped due to the lack of time available. Also the nurse is annoying as hell. Her English voice is awful and makes her sound slow and rather dumb and the way she acts is just stupid and not very believable considering the circumstances.

The animation is good but a few things seem a bit sluggish. The action is generally well done and enough blood is spilled to justify the title, but a few everyday tasks performed by the characters appear slow and kind of mechanical. The animation also does a good job of integrating the 3D CGI used on things like planes and even backgrounds. Through a combination of good animation, lighting, and use of color it’s very hard to tell that these objects are 3D CGI.

The film is presented in 1080p HD and 16:9 widescreen. The presentation is good with no noticeable graininess or blemishes in the image. The HD really helps to show off the variety of lighting used, particularly at night, and it gives the fire/explosion a really powerful combination of black, red, and yellow colors.

The audio is presented in DTS HD English 5.1 and uses a combination of Japanese with subtitles and English voice actors. Apart from the nurse, the rest of the voice acting is suitably up to scratch. Things like the multitude of planes leaving the air force base and the screams and cries of the beasts Saya hunts are impressive as they utilized the full surround sound although there isn’t much noticeable use of the sub. When proceedings take place in a populated area there’s suitable use of background noise to make the location feel alive and natural.

Extras include a “making of” feature and a collection of trailers for the film and other offerings from the company but it’s not a lot of added value.

On the whole Blood: The Last Vampire is a fun little vampire romp that really needs to be fleshed out a little. Forty-eight minutes is far too short for any meaningful development to occur and in the end you are left frustrated by the fact that it’s so short and doesn’t fully explain and develop enough of the plot and characters.

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