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|Index||26 reviews in total|
23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
You were trying to watch this movie the wrong way..., 23 September 2003
Author: Benjamin Stone (benchilada) from Urbana, Illinois
Good heavens. Why must every Hong Kong film since CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON be compared to it? That's like comparing Tim Burton's ED WOOD to Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE because they're both in black-and-white! They're both great movies, but it's ridiculous to stand them next to each other because they're so vastly different. To me, Tsui Hark constructed a BRILLIANT homage to the "hopping corpse," and "demon" movies of the 1980's and early 1990's while adding some great kung-fu sequences. I see hints of SWORDSMAN, I feel bits of MR. VAMPIRE, I hear parts of IRON MONKEY, I smell A CHINESE GHOST STORY, and it's all done quite well. Wu-shu, taoist warriors, hopping corpses, a creepy nod to HOUSE OF WAX, and silly jokes? Great fun to me! Art-house, said one reviewer? Don't know what art films YOU'VE been watching lately. This movie didn't try anything tremendously fancy or new, it took a lot of things we've seen before and turned out a movie that was more than the sum of its parts. Bad humor? Different humor. Hong Kong humor is usually quite different than American humor...I'm sure a lot of people missed when RAIN, CLOUD, THUNDER, and LIGHTNING (ridiculously stereotypical "hero" names) were renamed "Kung," "Hei," "Fat," and "Choi." Put those four words together and it says "Happy New Year" in Cantonese. Amazingly funny to us? Probably not. Good for a lengthy chuckle for chinese native? Definitely. Low-budget? Again, have we been so spoiled by movie producers throwing vast wads of cash at American films -- often to cover the fact that a movie is BAD -- that we can't appreciate a film that doesn't try to overachieve, but does what it can with what it has? How quickly people forget CLERKS, EL MARIACHI, etc. But then again, DESPERADO was so much better than EL MARIACHI, yes? Because it had BIG EXPLOSIONS and SEX! It's time people set CROUCHING TIGER up on its own shelf and stop comparing it to movies it bears no similarities to. Wanna say that Zhang Yimou's HERO was an overblown attempt to recreate CT,HD? Go for it, you'll be right. Wanna miss the fun of VAMPIRE HUNTERS entirely by refusing to watch it as its own film? Your choice, and ultimately, your loss.
20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Awesome if you like the Hong Kong 'hopping vampire' genre., 23 June 2003
Author: Alpha Denshi from Los Angeles
OK, let me start off by saying that if I hadn't read the other user
for this film, I wouldn't have taken the time to write this, as I'm busy
if I commented on every film I liked, I'd never get any work done. I read
the comments here, in The LA Weekly and on other internet sites- and they
were, to sum up, some of the stupidest, snobbiest HK film reviews I've
read. Do not, repeat: DO NOT believe the hype.
Now, unlike alot of other Hong Kong film fans, I don't care for contemporary action films with cops, drug busts, car chases, etc. I DO like old school 70's Kung Fu; ala Chang Cheh and Liu Chia Liang. I also really like the Hopping zombie/ghost/vampire sub-genre of HK 'horror'. Now, in case you aren't familiar with these- they feature 'vampires' and 'zombies' that return from the grave (Usually due to some sort of improper burial) and hop about (Or in the case in Vampire Hunters- fly about). They are usually opposed by priests- Taoist priests- who use Taoist magic to defeat them. The seminal film in this genre is the mid-eighties comedy/horror masterpiece 'Mr. Vampire'.
Now, Tsui Hark's 'Vampire Hunters' plays alot like a much more serious version of Mr. Vampire- basically, the comedic elements usually found in these films are almost non existant in 'Vampire Hunters'. This alone makes it one of the only HK vampire films to play like 'action horror' instead of 'horror comedy'.
Now, this distinction alone makes Vampire Hunters worth a look.
So ask yourself: Do you want just a good, action packed film? The kind of film you're going to want to hold up to The best 1980s and 90s John Wu stuff? Maybe Ang Lee's 'Crouching Tiger'? Or even non-HK action like James Cameron's Terminator 2? Well if you just want great action, there's like, A THOUSAND good action films out there, ok? If you want something more, something you just DON'T SEE anywhere else- something like, Oh, I dunno... maybe... CHINESE VAMPIRES versus TAOIST WARRIOR PRIESTS???
Well, check out Tsui Hark's 'Vampire Hunters'. It's merely a decent 'action' film and not the best edited, paced, well written or anything else kind of film out there.
But, the sum of it's parts simply does not equate the fun action/horror fantasy of the whole. So- if you're a 'norm' who thought Erin Brokavich or maybe the Ocean's 11 remake was good, well stay FAR AWAY from Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters, it's not for you, you won't get it, understand it's appeal or be able to appreciate it.
If you're the kind of person who likes the idea of a Mr. Vampire/Chinese Ghost Story double bill, well, strap yourself in- cause Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters will satisfy your desire to escape from reality for an hour and a half or so.
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Crazy hopping vampires strike back, 24 April 2005
Author: AwesomeWolf from Australia
Version: English dub
If like me, you possess an awesome-sense (like Spider-Man's Spider-sense, only it detects awesomeness instead of danger), you should ignore all the negative for 'Vampire Hunters' and listen to me instead. It isn't an awesome movie, but how can a movie with zombies, vampires, and kung-fu not be somewhat entertaining?
In 17th century China, zombies and vampires roamed the lands, feeding on the unsuspecting. A group of martial artists / vampire hunters find themselves employed by a very rich - and very insane - old man who has kept everyone of his relatives preserved in wax and not buried. Apparently it is his family's tradition. So, having generations of potential zombies in your cellar may not be the smartest idea ever, but it takes two to tango. In this case, a thief wants the old-man's treasure and hires a zombie-wrangler to re-animate the waxed up relatives in order to sneak into the mansion and steal the treasure. It's up to the kung-fu fighting vampire hunters to save the day (or night).
'Vampire Hunters' ends up being a more serious version of 'Mr. Vampire'. I don't think I've seen any other HK vampire movie that actually tried to be serious instead of an action / comedy. Unfortunately, the concept of 'serious' is my arch-nemesis.
I'd forgive the seriousness if the action was good. I would have expected a better action movie from Tsui Hark, but what am I gonna do? Complain some more? Sure! The action is okay, but poorly edited. Thankfully there is enough to keep someone like me entertained. The special effects aren't all that good, but I've never been one to care about bad special effects.
'Vampire Hunters' is a decent action movie, but really only for anyone interesting in Hong Kong vampire / action movies - 5/10
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A somewhat different vampire movie, 8 September 2003
Author: monkey__tail (firstname.lastname@example.org) from United States
I think Vampire Hunters is a pretty good movie. Although it isn't breaking new ground, for most american viewers it will seem a little odd that the vampires in the movie are more corpse like than you expect to see, but in most if not all accounts of vampirism in the middle ages and earlier periods vampires were refered to as animated corpses, not strikingly beautiful creatures with tragic stories. So if you're looking to see a decent horror movie will "realistic" vampires, this would be worth seeing. Two top notch performances in the film are those of Anya, who plays a young widow, and Zou Na, who plays a servant.
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Better Than People Give It Credit, 22 November 2006
Author: TheNaughtyLibrarian from United States
In a number of forums I've seen this film mercilessly trashed, and I'm
not quite sure why. Perhaps it's having Tsui Hark's name attached to
it, thus giving people the wrong idea about the film as they go into
it. While I don't think it's the best film ever made by any stretch of
the imagination, Vampire Hunters does serve it's purpose. I was
entertained thoroughly, startled a few times, laughed a few times, and
spent a great deal of my viewing time in suspense. The one thing you
can say about this film is that it's definitely not slow moving!
While it does suffer from the lack of in depth characterization that seems to be the downfall of many martial arts films, in general I found the acting to be up to par -provided you watch the film subtitled as opposed to dubbed. The wooden voice acting of the English translators is highly reminiscent of the hilarious goofy bad dubbing of 70s martial arts flicks, and really detracts from the genuine scariness of the vampire scenes.
And those vampires! Yikes! Spitting acidic gas, sucking your blood through the air, covered in maggots.... Truly makes ol' Bela seem like a puddytat! It's interesting to see the differences between Eastern and Western vampire mythos.
The movie itself is beautifully and imaginatively lensed, the director of photography should be proud. The camera-work zooms and jumps during the right moments and steps back and slows down to take in grandeur. The fight scenes are excitingly filmed, and the effects are no worse than any other film I've seen lately. Not the best, but everything moves quickly enough that you don't really notice.
All in all, I got what I wanted; escapist, exciting, engaging fun that made me forget about the rest of the world for an hour and a half. And after all, isn't that what a movie is supposed to be? They can't all be caviar, sometimes I really just want popcorn.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Muddled and dull, 16 October 2003
Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
Before the movie was over (and before checking out the entry for the movie
on this site), I had a strong suspicion that the Columbia/Tri-Star DVD of
this movie I was watching was cut down from a longer print. After all, the
same studio had butchered "Who Am I" a few years earlier. And a check of
the "Alternate versions" link confirmed this for me. This cut played like a
book missing its first few chapters, making it difficult for a long time to
piece who was who and what the situation was. I also suspect some character
development was cut out, since there is really nothing differentiating the
four heroes from each other. Columbia/Tri-Star... STOP CUTTING HONG KONG
However, I must admit that even if the missing footage was put back in, the movie wouldn't be that much better. It's a pretty dull affair. The action scenes aren't very impressive in what they depict, and are sometimes edited in an incomprehensible way. The vampire villain looks unbelievably cheesy - in fact, despite the expensive use of CGI for a few effects, the movie looks like it was made on a tight budget. There's a sterility in the air, a stiffness that suggests the filmmakers weren't able to let loose and fill the movie with wonders and wackiness.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A great movie!, 14 September 2009
Author: Prolox from Canada
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Four students who have learnt the art of magic & martial arts seek
vengeance on a resurrected & one time powerful general turned rotting
vampire for abducting & possibly even killing their master, in 19th
century China. However things won't be so easy as this vampire will
prove to be the greatest challenge these students have ever faced &
many will die as they attempt to send this thing back to the grave
while uncovering some startling secrets along the way. THE ERA OF
VAMPIRES is a film I have wanted to see when it first came out, however
many times it just slipped out of my grasp, finally I was able to track
down a copy & it was definitely worth the search! The film has many
spectacular martial arts & sword fight action set pieces, grotesque
zombie make-up & plenty of weird & interesting ideas plot points &
twists. The villain here is a tough as nails & very hard villain to
beat & is a nice change of pace from the usual vampire villains we've
watched through the years. The acting, directing & art design is very
well handled & the film has many moments of suspense to keep you on the
edge of your seat. What a shame this film isn't more widely known. A
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Offers nothing new to the genre... but is passable entertainment., 11 June 2006
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
When four hunters of the undeadThunder, Wind, Rain and Lightningare
separated from their master during a battle with a King Vampire, they
continue their hunt for the bloodsucker, using a magical Taoist compass
to lead the way. Eventually they arrive at the home of Master Jiang,
who is celebrating the marriage of his son to the beautiful Sasa.
When the groom turns up dead the next day, having been bitten by a snake, the foursome are employed to find the reptile. Master Jiang informs Sasa that she need never be parted from her husband, because the family tradition is to preserve dead relatives with wax and store them in vaults below the house; she can visit him anytime she likes!! Meanwhile, it transpires that Sasa had been married off by her brother just so that she might be able to find the whereabouts of a hoard of gold hidden somewhere in the house and pass the information on to him.
With that plan scuppered, Sasa's brother employs a 'zombie wrangler' to reanimate the waxy corpses under the house. With Master Jiang busy rounding up the zombies, he hopes to search the place for the hidden loot.
Unfortunately, for everyone involved, the King Vampire shows up at the end to cause additional mayhem and chaos and it is up to the four heroes to save the day.
Whilst this is no classic of the genrethe plot is far too messyit does contain many elements which will prove to be of fun to fans of 80s Hong Kong vampire movies: the martial arts are of a reasonable standard, with some impressive swordplay and a bit of nifty wire-work, there is some fairly cheesy gore, and the reanimated bodies do the old hopping routine we all know and love. Best of all is the King Vampire, who has supernatural powers that enable him to suck blood at a distance and fire flames from his mouth.
My main gripe with this film is that everything is just too dark. I found myself straining to see what was going on for most of the running time. I can ignore some dodgy CGI and iffy make-up effects, but I'd like to be able to see what the hell is going on.
Despite the advances in film technology, Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters remains an average production that does nothing to improve on the films that it emulates. Don't watch this with expectations too high, and you might find yourself enjoying it.
6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
That guy does NOT get it, disregard that warning!, 14 May 2005
Author: isfahani from United States
It's obvious that the person with the negative view either expects a
'kung fu' film and didn't get it, or more likely never saw MR
In order to enjoy this film I should think a little background on both Chinese mysticism and Hopping Zombie films are in order.
I won't do either of the honors, but instead refer you to the Illuminated Lantern website where you can get at least a primer on both.
AFA the film goes, I gave it a 7 out of 10 as it's a little disjointed, and lacks the flow of any really good Hopping Zombie film. But hey, at least someone whipped one of these out in the 00's, ten years after the genre died out. Kudos to Tsui Hark for that!
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Sadly cut, 9 May 2005
Author: movieman_kev from United States
Master Mao Shan is separated from his four best warriors, Wid, Thunder,
Rain, and Lightning, during the midst of a battle with the undead. So
they decide to go undercover as servants in order to search for a
vampire who they believe is nearby. That's the main plot, but there's
many sub-plots and a tad too many characters. But the action scenes are
pretty good. And while this is among my least favorite Tsui Hark films,
that's more a statement of how much I enjoy his movies than an
indictment of this one. Truth be told, I'm kinda hesitantly reviewing
this title as the Tristar version is cut by numerous minutes, making
the ending more optimistic, so if you ever pick up the un-edited
version get in touch with me to tell me how different it is. And if I
ever see the original version I,of course, will revise my review
My Grade: C-
DVD Extras: Trailers for "Cowboy Bebop", "National Security", and "Time and Tide"
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