REVIEW: Against the Dark (2009)


Against the Dark: C

Steven Seagal, for whom I have a totally biased and sentimental attachment, plays a Blade-esque sword wielding vampire hunter in a post-apocalyptic future Europe. If he wasn’t the lead role, this movie would probably get an F. His team of heroes and some assorted women and children are trapped inside of a vampire infested skyscraper and Seagal has to get them to safety before the government nukes the area and/or the vamps eat them. Kieth David’s bad ass plays the General in charge.

There are plenty of walkie-talkie scenes that are basically this:

“Damn it, Seagal, I’m going to bomb that area of the city!”

“No, General, I need more time!”

“Damn it, Seagal! Alright… but hurry it up, damn it!”

There’s a lot of sword-swinging and the vampires actually look alright. You could set your watch to their appearance. There is running/hiding, a walkie-talkie argument, and then some crusty-ass vampires hop out and get chopped up by Seagal. This cycle repeats every ten minutes or so. It’s pretty repetitive, but catchy, like the chorus to a rap song.

Seagal’s actual identity is never explored. He’s not a cop or military. He’s just a tough dude with a sword. I was basically raised by Seagal’s films, but this is another one that reveals how old he’s getting, the poor guy. For the past ten years, they have stunt doubles do EVERYTHING (not just the martial arts, but also tasks like running or jumping). They must summon him from his trailer and film him swinging the katana a few dozen times, mumbling one-liners, and waving his hands mystically. He wears a baggy trench coat and sits down a lot. They have to speed up the fight scenes that involve any actual Seagal footage too. He has gotten so slow, my grandma could beat him in a race to the toilet.

If you like the Blade movies and/or Seagal, you’ll like this. If you also dig action movies where dozens of stuntmen are abused this is for you.

REVIEW: Daybreakers (2009)


Daybreakers: C

This movie is an allegory for whatever you want it to be an allegory for.

In a near future dystopia, a plague has transformed most of the population into vampires. The few remaining humans are fugitives or kept as livestock to sustain members of the upper-vamp class who can afford to purchase their expensive and rare blood. In this way, the movie is an allegory for imbalance of wealth and resources.

The movie follows Ethan Hawke, a self-loathing vampire scientist (who sometimes dresses like a fucking Quaker) who is working on a synthetic blood to be sold to the vamps of the world who, if they don’t feed regularly, devolve into vicious Nosferatu bat-things who attack vamps/humans alike similar to the Reapers from Blade 2. There is all sorts of allegorical stuff on class warfare and societal collapse here, so if that’s your thing, eat it up.

Sam Neill plays a malevolent vampire CEO whose every action is motivated by profit. He is trying to monetize Ethan Hawke’s research and the human blood of the world. He is an undead poster-child for capitalist greed. Every second of his screen time is a thinly veiled indictment of capitalism and Big Pharma. Another symbolic facet to the movie.

Dafoe is the hero of the movie, but not because he slays vampires. He is the hero because he disrupts corporate profits and he figures out how to redistribute resources. Allegorically, he is a socialist with a crossbow, I guess.

There is a lot going on here, so any unified “message” of the film sort of drowns in the movie’s ambition. Weirdly, this is admirable. I don’t have much to say here, I guess. The movie reminds me of all the diseases trying to infect Mr. Burns at once: there is so much shit cluttering the “doorway” of this movie that trying to focus on any one thing is just too distracting.

There is some pretty quality gore and make-up. If you decide to watch this movie, don’t think about it too hard. Just enjoy it.