Blood Wars (2008)

Blood Wars reviewReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Tony Todd, Jason Connery, A.J. Draven, Allison Lange, America Olivio, C. Thomas Howell

Directed by Tom Shell

Ignore the box art because it has no correlation to the movie. Don’t put much stock into the title because there isn’t much blood nor is there much of a war going on here. Blood Wars is merely a vampire cliche-o-rama that far too often left me feeling like I was being subjected to watching people putting on a live-action Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing game.

“You haven’t tasted true power until you’ve tasted the dark.”
“You run around here like you’re part of some dark ballet.”
“You’re not above morality and I’m not above redemption.”
“You’re too weak to embrace the gift.”

And that’s just quoting lines from the last half hour of this turkey.

Blood Wars is almost nothing but talk about what people might do, should do, desire to do, internal vampire politics, vampire hunting politics, etc. And every last bit of it sounds phony as can be. A busty female vampire attempts to seduce a mortal into becoming a vampire and that too ends up being 99% talk. Less a seducer to the dark side than a vampire recruiter; I’m shocked she didn’t end one of their conversations by handing him some pamphlets and telling him to call her if he has any questions.

Take dialogue that’s every bit as inane as it is cliché, mix in actors who are not at the top of their game, have them drone on and on non-stop, and you get a movie that is positively mind-numbing after awhile. I will say that every so often it teeters on the brink of being comically inept and there is some okay action in the closing minutes when the hero decides to fight back against the vampire community Karate Kid-style. Other than that, Blood Wars is DOA. The moment Jason Connery appeared in the opening minutes as a vampire struggling to speak because of the prosthetic fangs in his mouth I got the sinking feeling I’d be in for a long haul with this one.

The opening stretch is like stale leftovers from a 1980s film about an uncool guy finding love while having to deal with the school bully. Mix that with the vampire stuff set on an obvious soundstage; half-a-soundstage to be more precise. Once the lead becomes a half-vampire the movie heads into low rent Fright Night Part II territory. The war finally comes in the closing minutes and a couple of martial arts moves on the part of star A.J. Draven aside, I’ve seen more exciting and intense food fights on film. Just to make sure darn near every cliché gets worked in there’s even a goth student longing to become an actual vampire.

This vegan, New Age, college dork named Will is romancing this red-headed cutie, further raising the ire of this dickish frat boy with supernatural powers that he almost never uses. Not just a total bully, the frat guy is also a sociopath in the making; he attempts to rape the girl until Will comes to her rescue and stabs him with a dagger.

This really impresses a sexy bloodsucker part of a vampire coven lorded over by a master vampire named Julian. Julian is so impressed to hear that a “fledgling” could kill a “sentry” that he instructs her to seduce Will and bring him into the fold.

Tony Todd gives what may very well be the worst performance of his entire career as head vampire Julian. He’s totally play acting here, badly I might add. It gets a little embarrassing (and laughable) at times watching him in this costume shop vampire cape trying to work it but coming across more like a Halloween haunted house Blacula. Much of the time he just sits upon his thrown reciting his wretchedly grandiose dialogue like Ben Kingsley in BloodRayne.

Jason Connery camps it up considerably as Claudius, a rival vampire with his eyes on Julian’s throne, taking the hoity-toity Shakespearean dialect approach to delivering his pompous dialogue. I saw a supermarket flyer the other day that priced ham at $8 a pound. I’d reckon Jason Connery’s performance here would run you at least $300-400.

That magic jock Will killed was the son of a sentry. Sentries are vampire-hunting warlocks, the mortal enemies of the vampires. They dress in monk robes and carry staffs that fire digital bursts of light. Like the vampires, they too – all three of them – sit around talking sentry politics and such most of the time. When the youngest sentry stood up and offered his revenge-seeking leader support by telling him, “My staff is yours”, it suddenly hit me that one side was playing live-action Vampire: The Masquerade and the other side was playing live-action Dungeons & Dragons.

For all the stuff that reminded me of role-playing games, Blood Wars only hit points were the number of points I came close to hitting the eject button.


1 1/2 out of 5

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