Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
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I firmly believe we are approaching full saturation when it comes to vampire movies. In recent years just about every genre has been tapped as a source for this material, all the way down to kid’s films. It was after witnessing Vampire Blues that I was tempted to abandon all forms of un-dead entertainment, and “Frost: Portrait of a Vampire” makes the attempt to further snuff any desire within me that may remain.
It is not hard to believe that this became a mess when you have a vampire story based on a comic book and features the beyond-quirky Gary Busey. As much as he acts like a loon on his Comedy Central show, this film may actually detract from that program. And in a rare act of faith the creator of that graphic novel, Kevin Van Hook, was put in charge of the movie. This means we have a movie that by all accounts must have butchered the original material, but who do we blame? The screenwriter, for bastardizing the original material? That would be Kevin. The director, for butchering the creator’s vision? Nope, Van Hook again. How odd to have an artist reinterpret his work and discredit himself in the process.
Now before we focus on the plasma gulpers we have to unload a ton of back-story. We start at a crime scene where a cop named Dan looks over a female corpse that appears as robust as J. Lo, and yet he declares the body has been drained of its blood. He then walks over to confer with a black clad gent named Micah, (Busey) and asks him to check things out. This is a puzzling request for two reasons:
1) Micah is not a cop, he runs an art gallery.
2) He is completely blind.
Micah is game to assist, and Dan doesn’t seem to mind as his friend rubs a hand over the deceased, smearing his DNA all over the evidence. After copping a cold feel his assessment is that Dan should call Jack.
Since we are watching a film about those-who-creep-at-night we naturally move to a scene in the desert of Afghanistan, circa 1989. American mercenaries are doing battle with computer animated helicopters the Russians received in an oil-for-weapons swap with Chinese software programmers. Jack is waging war with his best friend, Nat, who is something of a screw up. Years ago he tripped over a land mine and Jack saved his life, but as a result of the flash bomb Jack now has eyes so sensitive he has to always wear sunglasses, even at campfires. This makes him look like a cross between Kevin Smith and Steve Dallas from Bloom County.
After clearing the skies of the CGI scourge they are approached by a crowd of Afghanis who have a prisoner they want the Americans to shoot. While the G.I.s are working out the translation in order to tell the people to exact their own justice Nat is bitten by the prisoner on the arm. This apparently is a violation of a United Nations charter because Nat now opens fire on the Mike Tyson acolyte.
We come back to the present and Jack and Nat have parted ways. Nat is sporting Michael Bolton hair as he works as a mercenary for hire in Mexico. An ambush at their base camp kills all the crew but Nat escapes into the desert. Meanwhile we learn that these days Jack has embraced his gentler side, writing art history books and taking up painting so blonde women will undress for him. He visits Micah at the gallery and they discuss an arrest that took place the night before. Micah tells a detailed story about an art heist and in the flashback we see that it was Jack who was behind the theft–in other words Micah was telling Jack a story about something Jack had done. (Don’t worry about it–has no bearing on the story.)
We come back to Nat as he passes out from thirst in a town square and is tossed into a crowded jail cell. In short order he begins masticating on Mexicans and drinking down their blood. This either means he is a vampire, or he really took the warnings about drinking the water to the extreme. Jack meanwhile heard about the ambush in the Mexican outback, and instead of showing this in a 15 second montage to illustrate the matter we get a twenty minute detailed account of his actions in order to burn screen time.
Finally we get around to what approximates a plot when Nat returns home and starts to creep out his wife. She goes to Jack for help and eventually he and Nat are reunited. They now are enemies because Nat is cranky about having become a vampire. See, that guy that bit him—in the middle of the day, in the middle of the desert—was also a vampire, and he must have been using another form of bio-terrorism. As a result Nat has to endure being undead, Jack has to endure doing battle with his good friend, and we have endure another meaningless vampire film. Then again, no we don’t.
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Posted on October 20, 2003 in Reviews by Brad Slager
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- THE SPIRIT OF THE RACE
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- THE GIRL WITH THE HUNGRY EYES (DVD)
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