Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vampires: Los Muertos

2.5/4

Starring: Jon Bon Jovi, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Cristian de la Fuente, Diego Luna, Arly Jover, Darius McCrary

Rated R for Vampire Violence, Language and Brief Sexuality

I wasn't the biggest fan of "John Carpenter's Vampires."  I found it dull and trite rather than hip, scary or funny.  Not even the scenery-chewing and a considerable amount of gore could save it from being an unending bore.  A tongue-in-cheek review soothed the pain, but it was still a waste of time.  I watched the sequel simply because the poster was cool and the film was cheap on Amazon.  Although it's a better movie, the bar is low enough that that's not much of a compliment.

Professional vampire slayer Derek Bliss (Bon Jovi) has just been tasked with assembling a group of slayers to take down a master vampire.  But every possible slayer that he can find is turning up dead, so he has to find other possibilities.  Eventually, the hard-bitten assassin links up with an eager teenager named Sancho (Luna), a girl named Zoey (Wagner) who has been bitten but is taking experimental medication to keep her from becoming a bloodsucker, a hunky priest (de la Fuente) and a Memphis-born tough guy named Ray (McCrary).  Their enemy is Una (Jover), a master vampire who is as beautiful as she is deadly.  She wants a black cross that will enable her to walk in the daylight.  Together, these misfits must journey deep into Mexico and take her down.

"Vampires: Los Muertos" is one of those movies that exists between good and bad.  They're not painful to watch and on some level enjoyable, but they're not good enough to recommend to anyone else.  So on that level, movies like this are a pain in the ass to a film critic, who has to decide what rating to give it.

The acting is...okay?  Honestly, no one is good or bad enough to be worth mentioning.  Jon Bon Jovi is stiff as the badass vampire killer.  In a duel between him and Bela Lugosi, he'd lose.  In fact, he'd probably lose against Edward Cullen from "Twilight."  Natasha Gregson Wagner is never convincing as Zoey, but not bad enough to irritate.  Cristian de la Fuente is likewise impaired.  He's so wooden that if he punched a hole through a vampire, the vampire would die.  Diego Luna is clearly not trying, but he acts circles over everyone in the cast.  Darius McCrary is utterly forgettable as the stereotypical black scenery chewer.  The only one worth mentioning is Arly Jover, whose alluring beauty make her into a compelling villain.  She doesn't say much (for good reason), but here eyes are definitely bewitching (the purple irises are a nice touch).

The film was written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, and I gotta say, it's a significant comedown from "IT," one of the more entertaining and chilling Stephen King movies.  It was probably made for next to nothing and looks it.  The film as a whole feels empty.  Shots are dull and unsophisticated and there's too much padding between the action scenes.  What happened to the heart from "IT?"  More gore could only have helped, so there's that too.

This is the kind of movie that was made for the discount-DVD bin.  It's not terrible, but it's not good enough to belong anywhere else.

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