Starring Malik Burke, Richard Carroll Jr., Kandiss Marie, Jenicia Garcia, Jakeem Sellers
Written and Directed by Z. Winston Brown
Bloodz vs. Wolvez is the new movie from Z. Winston Brown, the maker of Zombiez, a film that I often reference when talking about the absolute worst that the direct-to-video horror genre has to offer. That film was plotless, pointless, and utterly worthless. Bloodz vs. Wolvez has a plot, tries to make point, but sadly, still isn’t worth a whole heck of a lot. It’s definitely a huge step up from Zombiez, and Brown’s attempt to use vampires and werewolves as an allegory about socio-economic class struggles in the African-American community is quite ambitious – at first.
Bloodz (vampires) and Wolvez (werewolves) have been feuding for centuries. Asiman, the uptown businessman leader of the Bloodz, wants to call a truce with Garou, the inner city gangbanging leader of the Wolvez. Asiman offers to provide the Wolvez with homes and business opportunities in exchange for peace, but Asiman’s right-hand gal, Dhampira, is scheming to overthrow Asiman (as well as engaging in a lesbian affair with Asiman’s equally scheming wife) and is constantly trying to sabotage the truce by ordering attacks against the Wolvez. The Wolvez respond by sabotaging Asiman’s business deals and eventually robbing him of every penny he’s worth. This leads to a final battle between the two eternally warring factions.
First problem: The actual difference between the Bloodz and the Wolvez is minimal. See that werewolf on the box art? The other fanged guy on the box is what the Wolvez look like. They’re just gangbangers with fangs. There’s a ridiculous transformation scene – at least I think it was supposed to be a transformation scene. When it was over, the guy looked no different than he did before other than having fangs and slightly longer fingernails. I’ve seen some ad banners for the film that show a full-blown werewolf; that’s not in the movie either. Like I said, they’re gangstas with fangs. The only real physical difference between the Wolvez and the Bloodz is that the Bloodz are well groomed, wear nice clothes, talk eloquently, and are incapable of walking around in daylight.
Second problem: Asiman’s an idiot. He calls Garou – also not the brightest of minds – on the phone to accuse him of sabotaging a business deal. Garou tells him it’s payback for attacking his side. Asiman claims ignorance; Garou doesn’t believe him. Asiman insists that he did not order the attack. Garou tells him that there’s no point calling a truce if Asiman cannot control his side. Asiman continues to seek a truce but never seems all that interested in seeking out who on his side is going behind his back. Garou continues to escalate things in response to what he believes are attacks by Asiman, who himself eventually gives in and responds in kind. The Wolvez are punks; the Bloodz are pricks – who are we supposed to be rooting for in the war?
Third problem: The film is a total failure on the horror front. Vampires are just guys with fangs and werewolves are also just guys with fangs. The monster aspect is just a gimmick that’s never adequately explored and rarely comes into play in any significant way. There’s only one scene of a vampire drinking blood. Wolvez are cannibals; we only know this because they constantly talk about eating people and not because we ever actually see them eating anyone. You could totally eliminate the werewolf-vampire aspect and it wouldn’t have much of an impact on the story. This could just as easily have been an urban thriller about a conflict between groups of affluent and lower class African Americans. That’s pretty much all it is anyway.
Fourth problem: That urban drama side of the film bogs down into boring repetition. I realize they are portraying this whole war between the two factions as being a perpetual downward spiral where nobody wins, especially given the ending, but that doesn’t mean watching this endless cycle repeat itself makes for an entertaining time. Characters repeat different variations of the same dialogue to a tiresome degree. Good grief; I think Asiman and Garou had the same exact conversation at least three different times throughout the film.
Fifth problem: I’ve come to realize that Vampire: The Masquerade is the worst thing to ever happen to modern vampire movies. I’ve just seen too many damn vampire movies that break down into characters standing around discussing internal monster politics. When they aren’t discussing real world class struggle issues, they’re prattling on about internal vampire-werewolf hierarchy nonsense.
Sixth problem: There are some truly awful attempts at humor to be found here. Garou trying to get some etiquette lessons and blowing a gasket because his etiquette coach wants to use actual silverware is a total dud of a scene. There’s the moronic gunning down of a bank security guard that plays out like a scene from a bad Master P urban comedy. There’s an insultingly asinine conversation amongst some Bloodz about how to kill Wolvez (shouldn’t they already know this since the two sides have supposedly been warring for thousands of years?) that culminates in a punchline about being able to kill them by cutting their dicks off. And if I never see a man with a set of fake fangs squatting over some newspaper in the corner of a room taking a crap, it’ll be too soon.
Bloodz vs. Wolvez is a modestly interesting bit of guerrilla filmmaking for about the first 25 minutes, after which the film doesn’t just begin to completely fall apart, it literally evaporates right before your eyes. I had no idea whom I was supposed to be rooting for and thus didn’t care about what happened to any of these characters; their monstrous sides really don’t matter much since all they really do is just go around shooting one another to death, those action scenes are positively inept, the plot becomes repetitive and boring, the allegory ultimately rings hollow, the acting quality is all over the map, and there’s often no getting around the non-existent budget. I think you have to watch some recent movies by Lars Von Trier to see this many minimalistic sets – just one room setting after another devoid of furniture, carpeting, you name it. Even Asiman’s townhouse appears barebones, and his character is supposed to be living the life of luxury.
I’ll give Z. Winston Brown credit for at least trying to make something more ambitious than the pitiful Zombiez. Ah, hell, I’ll give him credit for at least trying to make a real movie this time. Maybe next time he’ll actually make a good one.
1 1/2 out fo 5
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