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June 2010

Blood

cast: Aya Sugimoto, Guts Ishimatsu, Jun Kaname, Satoshi Matsuda, and Hidejiro Mizumoto

director: Ten Shimoyama

81 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
review by Alexandra Bunning

Blood

"Where does love and lust lead you... if you never die?" the DVD cover blurb asks. Apparently it leads you to hang around in a sullen teenage rage, bemoaning your fate and drinking the blood of naked 'hotties', before hitting each other with swords for spurious reasons.

Blood (aka: Buraddo) is the story of a 'hot-shot' detective that is moved to the cold case department for reasons that are never quite explained (and to be honest, the majority of this film is never quite explained). During his investigation into the murder of a maid 14 years ago, he visits Miyako Rozem-something (she's supposed to have Romanian ancestry), the maid's employer at the time of her death. Miyako suddenly tells him she knows who the killer is: the notorious underworld businessman Ukyo Kuronuma.

Without really questioning too deeply into why she is now willing to reveal the murderer's details, off he trots to investigate the lead. After sneaking into the suspect Ukyo's seedy place of business, and hiding in the air vent (presumably to find proof of his guilt), he hears a scream, runs out into the open and comes across Ukyo feeding on the blood of a naked teenage girl and asks 'What's going on?' This pretty much sums up my thought process throughout the entire film.

After getting horribly beaten up for disturbing Ukyo's meal, he is then rescued by Miyako's ass-kicking servant, and brought back to her house, where she quickly makes him a vampire, before jumping his bones in a room decked out like a 1980s music video. It quickly becomes clear that Ukyo was Miyako's previous fancy-boy who is still holding a grudge (apparently he didn't like her feeding on pretty boys). Cue another hour or so of wire-effect fight scenes involving swords, guns and axes, three or four sex scenes and a lot of blood later, and the film ends with me still wondering 'what's going on?'

Unfortunately, this general sense of confusion is not helped by the strangely stilted subtitles, which keep throwing up weirdly jarring phrases at inopportune moments. Throughout the film, Detective Hoshino uses hard-boiled clichés: "the maid was iced," which is completely at odds with his bumbling incompetent ways. At the final fight, when I felt some (albeit small) effort was made to create something approaching atmosphere, this is ruined when Hoshino asks Ukyo "Wanna start it?" as if they were schoolchildren fighting in the playground. The subtitles left me hoping that this was just bad translation, and he wasn't supposed to sound like a teenage Marlowe wannabe.

This film's unashamed lack of anything approaching plot or characterisation leaves the audience not really caring what happens to any of the characters, and to be honest, this isn't something that you can speculate easily about, because the plot doesn't really make any sense. Despite all this, I would imagine these aren't really considerations for people who are interested in watching a film called Blood with a naked woman with fangs on the cover, and the film does have a very few, superficial features.

The characters are generally good-looking, the fight scenes (although rather ridiculous to watch at times) can be entertaining, and most importantly, the film is only about 80 minutes long, so no matter how bad it was, at least you know the end is nigh. And so, if you want to watch a relatively mindless film, with plenty of blood, violence and naked women, then this is the movie for you. If on the other hand, you're looking for anything resembling a storyline, believable characters or atmosphere of any kind, I'd look further afield.



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