Kiss of the Vampire (2008)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Daniel Goddard, Katherine Hawkes, Eric Estebari, Martin Kove, Costas Mandylor, Matthias Hues, Gary Daniels, Phil Fondacaro
Directed by Joe Tornatore
Wow! What a goofy, jumbled, and ultimately wearisome mess of a movie Kiss of the Vampire turned out to be. You can't fault the filmmakers for not trying; though maybe if they'd tried a little harder the screwy storyline might have come together with a little more life to it. There's three different intersecting plots yet somehow everything felt completely static most of the time. It also doesn't help that the script boasts some of the most tin-eared I've ever heard, and that's in addition to the stiffness of the actors' delivery of it. This is especially troublesome given many characters are prone to monologuing. Really and truly, the only entertainment I got out of Kiss of the Vampire was how deadly serious it took itself despite its increasingly convoluted storyline, clunky direction, stilted acting, and deplorable dialogue.
Storyline A: A refined vampire meets a refined lady (also the film's screenwriter and one of the producers) at the opera and embark on a romance of the Twilight variety. By that I mean they meet, stare at each other, exchange a few words, and are then immediately prepared to spend the rest of their lives together. The lifeless romance between these two, given their snooty accents, awkward pauses, and deliberate delivery of shortly worded sentences, it's watching a gothic romance version of one of those late 80's Taster's Choice coffee commercials.
Storyline B: The police raid a night club expecting to find drugs. Instead they find vampires, the type that like to sit around and try and look cool all the time or think posturing automatically makes them menacing. These vampires (led by B-movie martial arts star Gary Daniels) have no problem revealing their true nature in front of the cops, even going so far as to teleport away right in front of them. The police respond by calling in an ex-German mob hitman turned ineffectual vampire hunter (Matthias Hues, best known as the alien drug dealer in I Come in Peace) who apparently sends out his demo reel to small-town police departments just in case they ever find themselves in need of a rent-a-Van Helsing. He'll spend more time staking out the vampires rather than actually staking the vampires.
Storyline C: The Illuminati has also set-up shop in this town. You're familiar with the Illuminati? The secret cabal of super rich, super powerful individuals that collectively control the banks, businesses, and governments of the world? All that power, money, and influence cannot buy them immortality - or can it? Very little on the Illuminati side of things makes sense. They may also be the least credible Illuminati I've ever seen on film; I know when I think Illuminati the names Martin Kove and Costas Mandylor do not instantly spring to mind.
The three storylines converge when the lovelorn vampire decides he just wants to be a normal mortal again so that he can marry, have children, and spend the rest of his life with this woman he barely knows but is totally in love with. Just his luck it turns out her father is a brilliant scientist whose speciality is searching for new means of human longevity and might be able to cure his vampirism. It also just so happens that his research is secretly funded by the Illuminati and they're quiet thrilled at the prospect of unlocking the secret of vampire immortality. The possibility of the Illuminati getting their hands on the secrets to eternal life greatly pisses off the other vampires and a confrontation erupts with the two lovers caught in the middle. And eventually that vampire hunter finally decides to get out of his car and actually do some vampire hunting too.
Nobody can accuse Kiss of the Vampire (originally titled Immortally Yours) of having your typical by-the-numbers vampire plot. If only it proved to be more entertaining they might have really had something. The oddness of the plot kept me watching for the first half but by the second half I was so bored I came close to shutting it off. Not much ever happens and very little of it comes together on any level. It doesn't work as a horror movie, a thriller, an action flick, or least of all, a romance.
However, an extra half credit is awarded for the sheer absurdity of two visuals shown during the climax. The first being the disemboded heads of the film's villains floating around a matte painting of the Earth for reasons too preposterous to try and explain here. The second being the ludicrous final shot of the movie with the two lovers kissing; their heads are projected "Love, American Style" in the center of an oil painting of the sun. You have got to be kidding me.
1 1/2 out of 5
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