Blood (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)
March 12, 2011 by Dennis Amith
A vampire film that is more about its romance and bloody violence than focusing on being a vampire film. It may not be for everyone but if you are wanting a Japanese horror film with a lot of gratuitous nudity and its fair share of bloody moments, “Blood” is definitely for you!
Images courtesy of © 2009 “Blood” Film Partners. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2009
DURATION: 86 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9 Full Frame), Stereo/5.1 Dolby Surround Sound
COMPANY: Well Go USA
RATED: Not Rated (Note: This film does have nudity and bloody violence)
RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2011
Directed by Ten Shimoyama
Original Story and Screenplay by Shigenori Takechi
Producer: Shigeji Maeda, Tsuneo Seto, Kazuyuki Yokoyama
Music by Kiyoshi Yoshikawa
Cinematography by Gen Kobayashi
Edited by Seigo Hirasawa, Ten Shimoyama
Aya Sugimoto as Miyako Romberk
Kanji Tsuda as Detective Hoshino
Jun Kaname as Ukyo Kuronuma
Police Detective Hoshino (Kanji Tsuda) investigates the murder of a maid at a mansion belonging to Miyako Rozmberk (Aya Sugimoto), a seductive vampire mistress and “cougar” all in one. Ukyo Kuronuma (Jun Kaname), an Edo-era swordsman who was turned into a vampire by Miyako, is blamed for the crime, but before anything can be done about it, Hoshino ends up under Miyako’s spell as well. This leads Hoshino and Ukyo to battle one another for the privilege of staying with Miyako for eternity.
If you enjoyed “Shinobi”, you will probably more than likely enjoy the latest film from director Ten Shimoyama titled “Blood”, a vampiric horor/suspense action film. The story is from Shigenori Taechi, known for writing films such as “Izo”, “Araburu Tamashii-tachi”, the “Gokudo Seisen: Jihaado” films and “Yakuza Demon”.
The 2009 film begins in traditional Japan with a sword fight and a lone swordsman beats a group of men but is suffering from some type of illness as he coughs up blood. We see the man sitting alone and a beautiful woman come by. She tastes the blood coming out of his mouth and suddenly we see her holding him and her fangs coming out.
Fast forward to the present time and we see a housemaid being murdered. The murder happens to be a 14-years-old and is close to reaching the statute of limitations expiration date and for police investigator Hoshino (played by Kanji Tsuda), this case has meant so much to him. But he has been relocated to another office and frustrated about it. Fortunately, his boss gives him a go ahead despite the police department not wanting to support him.
When he opens the case files of the woman who owned the home where the housemaid was killed, it shows the picture of a Japanese woman named Miyako Romberk (played by Aya Sugimoto), who looks like the female vampire from shown hours earlier.
But as he meets with Miyako, she gives the name of the murderer, a millionaire named Ukyo (played by Jun Kaname). When Detective Hoshino goes after him, he witnesses him biting into a young girl who is begging for her life. We learn that both Ukyo and Miyako are vampires and both share bloody and body together. But when detective Hoshino is then turned into a vampire, he also wants Miyako and thus both he and Ukyo become part of a bloody battle over Miyako.
“Blood” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). The picture quality is pretty cool especially during the beginning of the film in which blue lighting is used and the red blood looks as if it’s crimson red with that just sticks out vibrantly. If anything, those wanting a bloody horror film will get a bloody horror film as you will see a lot of it throughout “Blood”. Skintones are natural, blacks are nice and deep but it’s the use of colors that makes “Blood” quite interesting to watch for a vampire film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Blood” is presented in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (despite the rear case mentioning it’s Stereo/5.1 Dolby Surround Sound). The film is primarily fornt and center channel driven and while the fight sequences do showcase ambient affects, it’s not the most immersive lossless soundtrack but the dialogue and effects are quite clear through the front channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Blood” comes with no special features.
“Blood” may not be as enjoyable as “Shinobi” but for those who want an anime-esque style of Japanese film that incorporates vampires and swordfighting, you can’t go wrong with “Blood”. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the 1990’s vampire anime films mixed with indie Japanese camp and nudity and simply, when I first found out that ’80s J-Pop singer and actress Aya Sugimoto (“Ai no Shinsekai”, “Flower and Snake”, “Hana to hebi”), it kind of was a no-brainer that we will see a lot of Aya Sugimoto unclothed especially since she’s known for her sexuality and has become one of the most outspoken talents in Japan on sexuality. And in Japan, because she was nude quite a bit in this film, many of her fans and horny otaku turned out to watch her in this film.
While the film is a vampire film, at the same time it would be wrong for me to say it was and people coming in to think it was a “Lost Boys”, “Twilight” type of film because it’s not. It’s pretty much a bloody romantic triangle between two men (who happen to be vampires) who vie for Miyako’s attention. And in many ways, it’s a sensual, kinky and carnal (yes bloody) way of showing it.
If I had one problem about the film is that you are expecting more as you find out that Ukyo went from being a samurai to leader of a crime network. It doesn’t really go much into it at all, if anything, the film tries to stay within the confines of the three individuals.
Yes, there is action in this film and in fact, there is quite a bit of wire-work implemented in “Blood” but while the carnage, romance and even action scenes are very good compared to a lot of similar-themed Japanese vampire films, “Blood” is predictable, contrived and in the end it ends up being a popcorn romantic triangle, bloody action film but it’s not dramatic like “Twilight”. But it does get quite campy but not in the indie Japanese film type of way, the production values and its presentation enhances one’s appreciation for the film.
If there was one major bummer about this Blu-ray release is the lack of special features but other than that, it all comes down to if you are wanting a horror film with a lot of blood and violence but also a touch of romance (and yes, gratuitous nudity). If so, “Blood” is definitely for you!
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