Shawn Black is a man haunted by his past and a generic name, but mostly his past. According to a series of rapid and intrusive flashbacks, his parents were killed by vampires, he is haunted by visions of a biblical apocalypse, and he also fought side by side with his brother in Afghanistan only to watch him be killed in the line of duty. If that wasn’t enough, he is burdened with the responsibility of being the one and only vampire slayer, although I’m unsure how that works exactly (maybe it’s a genetic thing). It’s a good thing we are shown these quick clips, because our hero is not interested in outwardly conveying any of this emotional baggage, apart from occasionally gritting his teeth. I guess he is so distraught that he has emotionally shut down and can only stare blankly into the camera. That must be it.
Black has also taken up drinking. Apparently, his father was Italian, and his mother was Irish, so “I didn’t know whether to drink or get revenge. I needed to do both.” Hopefully this trend has since become finito, but this used to be the standard opening line for an ultra hacky stand-up comedian. They would introduce themselves by describing their parentage, like maybe that they are half-Jewish and half-Chinese, and then say something like “with parents like that, I don’t know whether to order Chinese take out or deliver it.” My point is, the line portends an ominous absence of wit, although I don’t know what I was expecting exactly.
Well, you’re probably wondering where this is headed. Vinnie Jones is an evil vampire leader with a bunch of vampire underlings, although you wouldn’t know he was evil from glancing at him, what with his ridiculous fur coat and hat and long hair, making him look like Kevin MacDonald’s pimp character from The Kids in the Hall. Either way, Shawn Black is the man to take them down. He enlists the help of an alcoholic, gun toting priest played by a slumming Michael Madsen (although maybe this “slumming” has been an intentional acting style all along). Madsen even hands Black a sword that lights up when he holds it, proving that he is the one and only vampire slayer. I guess it’s sort of like a Sword in the Stone type of thing.
Skipping to the end, Black and the priest find the abandoned factory where the vampires live by asking some dude who works in a record store (like a real record store, with like records and shit). Just as they are infiltrating the “compound”, the factory turns into a rave with like 1,000 people, 90% of which appear to be hot chicks, and 80% of which are twirling glowsticks for no goddamn reason. I hate it when a giant party interrupts a covert operation. Who am I kidding; I have never engaged in covert ops. If I try to sneak around, I bump into shit and knock stuff over. Anyway, this raises the stakes, as the vampires are using the rave as a farm system of sorts, mainly because there was a similar scene at the beginning of Blade.
Anyway, to say the script has plot holes is to insult holes. Take one short scene, for example. Despite not having a job, Mr. Black drives his near $100,000 Shelby Mustang (he owns an entire fleet of expensive sports cars) to a deserted rest stop in the middle of the night. He is attacked by a vampire that happens to be hanging out in the bathroom. Now, this isn’t a world overrun by vampires, but rather, a secret cabal that has yet to be revealed to the public. Maybe he just has bad luck.
After dispatching the vampire, two hot chicks arrive at the rest stop in their vintage Dodge Challenger convertible that costs god-knows-how-much. Black talks to the brunette like nothing is going on, and her blonde friend heads to the bathrooms where Black just killed a vampire, with others potentially hiding in the facility. However, he doesn’t bother to warn either of them. Not only that, but those girls driving that car are the least likely visitors to a creepy, dimly lit rest stop that you could possibly come up with, so I guess they’re there because it looks cool. The girls coincidentally pop up a couple more times before it turns out that Black has to save the brunette at the very end. The scriptwriter apparently thinks you can set up a character and a potential love interest just by having her coincidentally show up every once in a while and have no effect on what’s happening. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but my point is; every scene is like that. Seriously. Now I have a headache. Christ.
The movie’s most egregious sin is the ugly visual style. When not looking shitty because of bad day-for-night or bad exposures, the film is bathed in Windows Movie Maker filters and effects, whether ugly color filters, or an underwater effect, or digital processing that blows out the image in different ways. It makes it impossible to enjoy the movie even on the dumb level of vampires and hot chicks and cars and bikes randomly thrown together. Then there’s the incredibly annoying flash cut editing, as if oodles of background information has to constantly be inserted, otherwise the audience would be unable to follow the obtuse storyline. I know it’s all a ploy to try and add style to the movie, but, speaking of pimps, I believe a wise pimp once said “baby, either you got style or you ain’t got style. You can’t fake that shit”.
P.S. This was written as part of Project Terrible, hosted by Alec over at Mondo Bizarro. This particular choice was provided by Craig over at Let's Get Out of Here!.
P.P.S. I realize the pimp character comparison is a bit of a stretch, but Kevin MacDonald was wearing a fur coat in my head when I imagined the character while writing the review. Maybe he did in one of the sketches. KITH did a bunch of sketches about hookers.