STUDIO: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 87 Minutes

The Pitch

"Those Blade movies seem to make some money. Let’s put a black guy in a leather coat and have him twirl some cheap swords around. It can’t be worse than Blade:Trinity, right?"

The Humans

Ron Hall, Gerald Okamura, Mel Novak and a special appearance (aka a five second cameo) by Rudy Ray Moore.

The Nutshell

Vampires are gaining power throughout the city and it’s up to Derek Washington to stop them by engaging them in uncoordinated fight scenes. Gustoff Slovak is the most evil vampire this side of Full Moon Pictures and doesn’t take kindly to vampire hunters. After Derek takes out a few of his underlings, Slovak retaliates by biting him. Thanks to his willpower and training by Gerald Okamura – which sadly does not involve catching flies with chopsticks – Derek is able to resist the change and becomes a half-man, half-vampire. Somehow this transforms him from a vamprie hunter into a vampire assassin. He uses his abilities to the fullest by gingerly punching the evil vampires in the chest and making lightning spew out of them. He is aided in his quest by a female reporter from an internet news magazine. Sadly, she does not utilize the power of the internet to assail the vampires with ads for X10 Camera and penis enlargement pills.

The Montgomery community theater production of Highlander III: The Sorcerer.

The Package

Vampire Assassins is presented in all of its full screen, crappy digital camcorder glory. Most of the movie was filmed in dark warehouses where the characters’ voices have a loud echo. This striking DVD transfer allows you to view the film’s incredible effects with crystal clarity. I hear Industrial Light and Magic was responsible for the flowery shapes that shoot out of the guns.

The only extra feature on the disc is a collection of trailers for other Lions Gate releases. They put the trailers in a seemingly random order so you get an eclectic mix of good movies and low-budget ones. Here’s a hint: If you see the Lions Gate Films logo before the trailer, it’s a film starring Don Cheadle. If you see the Lions Gate Home Entertainment logo before the trailer, it’s a film starring Casper Van Dien. It’s the best of both worlds!

The Lowdown

Lions Gate Home Entertainment releases its fair share of cheesy low-budget films but this one goes overboard. This film is so cheap that even Charles Band would be ashamed to own up to it. Ron Hall, who directed and starred, is faced with the impossible task of emulating Blade on a shoestring budget.

He can’t afford notable actors, so the delivery of all the lines end up being atrocious. He can’t afford sets, so everything takes place in a dimly lit warehouse. He can’t afford fight choreographers, so he seemingly put the camera in place and said "improvise." This results in actors standing still and just slapping at air. I’ve seen better fight choreography on Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills and that was a children’s television show.

Dude, I heard if you pause the movie at the right time you can totally see a ghost in front of Ted Danson’s gun.

Vampire Assassins could be considered a worthy entrant into the "So Bad It’s Good" wing of films based solely upon the effects. The "gunshot" explosions that come out of guns and the lightning that shoot out of vampires once staked are hard not to laugh at. Slovak’s bat transformation is such a bad digital effect that they filmmakers would have been better off using a rubber bat. The film’s funniest moments are provided by Slovak’s cape, which has the mysterious power of incapacitating people. There’s no better way to end a scene than draping a cape over the hero’s head as he sits at a dinner table. I bet David Goyer wishes he had thought of that one.

If you’re in the mood to laugh at a poorly made film, Vampire Assassins might just fit the bill. It’s quite amazing that Lions Gate has the nerve to charge twenty bucks for the DVD considering its content. More money probably went into the creation of the DVD cover than into the production of the film itself. Vampire Assassins is a rental at best, and only if you’re the type who thinks of killer snowmen instead of Michael Keaton when someone mentions Jack Frost.

0.5 out of 10