Imagine you are Dennis Law. You did go to film school, but you made a heap of money in the real estate market. You helped to produce some really rather respected movies as part of the Milkyway group. You have a contact book bulging with people from the Hong Kong film industry. Maybe you would think that this film-making lark does not look so hard at all. And so what really would stop you Producing, Directing and Writing your very own movies? A lack of talent? Well in the real world, that has not stopped Mr Law, and go on be honest – if you had his opportunities, neither would you allow a little thing like that stop you either.
“Lesbian Vampire Warriors” (actually the ‘Lesbian’ seems to have been tacked onto the title of the UK release, which is somewhat misleading, bur we will come to that). Young Martial Artist Ar (Jiang Luxia) spends her nights tracking down and killing the burgeoning Vampire population (and these are traditional Western style vampires). She is motivated by trying to find her sister, who was turned into a vampire herself a few years ago. She is aided by an extended family of ‘vegetarian’ Vampires, who decline to feast on human blood, but instead take sustenance from animals. Ar has a special friendship with one of the female vampires, Max (Chrissie Chau), which Max’s family do wonder if there is a little more than just good buddies. Onto the scene comes an older Vampire, Mung (Wah Yuen), with Ar’s sister in tow. Mung drinks only the blood from fellow Vampires, which gives him increased strength, but has to be done daily. Can Ar take down Mung? Or is she going to have to make the biggest of sacrifices?
OK, let’s get this out of the way. Dennis Law is a terrible filmmaker, although comparisons with Ed Wood are more than a little unfair. Just don’t come here if you are looking for an exciting action film, and certainly not if you are after a little nubile Asian lesbian action. What we have is a film that is 1 part actually rather entertaining, 1 part mind-numbingly awful, and 1 part a moment so surreal, I don’t think I can do it justice.
On the entertaining front, Jiang Luxia is a really good martial artist. The problem is that she could take the entire cast and crew of this film down with one hand tied behind her back. But her opening scene fight, and her screen time in the final 30 minutes are really rather watchable, if you accept this to be a low budget film with few thrills. There is some not bad wire work, and industry veteran Wah Yuen has an absolute ball as the scenery chewing Mung. The lesbian angle is actually rather well done, nicely subtle and sweet, not exploitative in the slightest. And the moment when Ar decides make a huge sacrifice and choses to enjoy her last moment in the daylight is really rather touching.
On the mind-numbingly awful front, I am going to have to hold back from listing everything. But chief of all is the terribly boring moments with the Vegetarian Vampire family – who seem to spend their days floating and walking around bemoaning the fact that their lives are dull and without any physical sensation. These moments just go on for hours, and lose any kind of momentum the rare enjoyable moments build up. Then we have the awful inconsistency of the whole idea – we are told they feel nothing either emotionally or physically. Yet even after a elongated sequence of head-first diving off a bridge onto concrete showing they are impervious to hard – once they start having fights, the pain is actually on display – it just does not marry up. Another sequence where Ar and Max break into a Vegetarian restaurant and discuss what the Vegetarian Prawns are actually made up of just wastes everyone’s time – offering little insight into anything whatsoever.
So basically, what we have is a pretty bad film, that does have the sad misfortune to actually have a couple of moments and a performance that deserve to be in a far better film. In some ways I can see that Law was attempting to ape some kind of silly Hong Kong classic from the early 1990’s. It is just that he does not have the skill to pull it off, and people around him are just willing to let him spend his money.
In any other circumstance, this would get it a rating of Avoid. Yet, there is one moment of surrealism that means I would say if you can find it cheap, go for it. This is where Max chows down on a toy rabbit. And I mean a honest to goodness cuddly toy rabbit. Which no one in the film makes any attempt to pretend it is anything other than it appears to be. Is it a knowing joke? Is it an example of the cheap budget? I have no idea. But if you get the chance to catch the film very cheaply, or even for free? It is worth it.