Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Bleeding (2009)

Title refers to viewer's eyes

A big, bald, bad-accented man named Shawn Black escapes from a hospital with revenge on his mind. In his Shelby Cobra--blatant advertising of the car commercial kind--he searches for clues as to what happened to his brother who was a solider that went M.I.A. He takes out a gang of thugs only to find a man named Tagg who tells him about vampires. He explains that a king is born every 100-200 years from the soul of an esteemed warrior who died in combat. This select person will lead a troupe to devour and decimate humankind. The current king is Cain who was also last seen in Afghanistan where Black's brother was. Another chosen person known as a slayer--who happens to be Black--is destined to fight the king in an epic battle of good vs evil. Black meets a Father Roy who breaks every other rule in the good book. They partner up along with his side kick Crash to stop Cain and his neck-bitting cronies who've overtaken a town. A woman named Lena and her friend Jenny cross Black's path at Club Mortem: the place Cain uses to recruit other vampires and where a big showdown is going to ensue.

If you thought "Blade" was a little too modernized, fashionable or just exaggerated, then "The Bleeding" is going to be your worst enemy. This also shuffles around vampire mythology where blood suckers can walk by the day, get killed by silver bullets and are also taken out when you destroy their coffin. The movie tries to slap together too many styles at once without giving a chance to concentrate on a single one. At some points it gives this a quick pacing but makes it hard to take it seriously and at times comes across as unintentionally humorous. This is more action than horror, so there's going to a share of shoot outs and hand to hand combat rather than scares. This makes shows like "V.I.P." and "Walker, Texas Ranger" look polished. The lead actor Michael Matthias seems to be all look and no pay out. His lines come off as so neutral and passionless as to think he's in the wrong film if it weren't for his muscles.

The script and on top of that the direction and editing are terrible--there's no sense getting witty about it. The character motivations are all over the place. At times the dialogue doesn't even seem to check what it's saying, "A couple of years ago, back in 1982." So, 27 years ago is a couple of years ago? The actors go from over doing emotions to under doing another at the next moment. The storyline goes from being in-your-face obvious to vague and nonsensical. The lazy narration over top by the main character makes him sound like he's explaining it to someone who is slow on the upkeep, including what sounds like himself. There are flashbacks to remind you of a prior scene as if you weren't paying attention. It feels like an adult movie told to an adolescent, which robs the film of rewards for the audience. How can you possibly think this flick is cool when its mentality dumbs itself down? Random characters appear out of nowhere with no explanation as to how they got there. It makes them seem penciled in at the last moment without care or refinement. The transitions are incredibly jumpy at times, as if you can clearly see they filmed it at different points, not to mention some scenes are over emphasized for no significant reason, as if you think they're building up to something but to no avail. What's surprising is some of the people involved have been in the business a while, including the director, not to mention actors Armand Assante--who plays a bit part as a cop in the beginning--and Michael Madsen as the rule-breaking priest.

"The Bleeding" attempts to be purposely campy and like something of a live action comic book but has trouble at times from tripping over its own feet in the process to make the joke instead turn around on them. It has a share of cliches and pokes fun at a few while at it. But, man, I can take some purposely trashy pictures, such as some Troma and Herschell Gordon Lewis films, for instance, but there's a point where the audience seems to come second here. Either they're having too much fun to check back or don't care to even take the viewers seriously--I'm leaning towards the latter. Who are they hoping to sell this to? Or should I say sucker into this. This does have some amusing scenarios come and go but unfortunately with entertainment in all the wrong places.

Rating: 1/10

From Black to Red recommends instead: "From Dusk Till Dawn": This is part action film/vampire flick that is able to balance campiness, keep a steady measurement and be simultaneously entertaining while at it.

Director: Charlie Picerni
Stars: Michael Matthias, Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Katherine von Drachenberg, Rachelle Leah, Armand Assante, DMX
Link: IMDB

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