RISE: BLOOD HUNTER (Sebastian Gutierrez). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (June 1). Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Lucy Liu is big fun as a reporter hot on the trail of a gang of vampires in contemporary L.A. She gets to play both helpless horror heroine and pitiless avenger, and moves easily from one to the other with only a flick of the make-up brush to turn her ever-growing beauty from soft and screamy to angular ice.
Writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez , who penned Snakes On A Plane, gives her lots of big moments and good close-ups, so his fast-paced mix of thrills and creepy set-pieces has an emotional centre. He's also built a story that's more engaging than I've made it sound here. I don't want to give away his big surprise. Even if it isn't quite original, you won't see it coming.
Gutierrez knows his genre but dumps his fangfest homages in the first 20 minutes, making his movie a mix of horror and hard-boiled thriller, with a dash of 1940s serial thrown in. Just how many times does Liu get captured and escape in those tight 96 minutes?
Rise works very well because director and cast take it completely seriously. Gutierrez makes good use of some unusual L.A. locations and wraps the whole thing in shadowy neo-noir visuals that pull the horror and thriller elements together.