‘Vampire Effect’ is ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’-light, but not quite as good

Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in 'The Vampire Effect'
Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in ‘The Vampire Effect’

Now, you must understand, I am the kind of person who preorders Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season 6 on DVD two months in advance. Having said this, it is by no means a stretch of the imagination to find that I am reviewing a film where Jackie Chan kicks vampire ass! Now you may not have heard of this film, for neither had I until I viewed the trailers on my Godzilla against Mechagodzilla DVD.

Vampire Effect opens to a dark landscape, full of vibrant reds, blacks and grays highly reminiscent of the scenes of fellow vampire flick, Underworld. As with Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, the vampire hunters and the vampires have a silly sense of humor that lightens the underlying drama. The vampires, for instance, are shacking up in a church because “it’s a bit offbeat”. Sure, they drink blood, but they believe it’s not kosher to suck it.

DVD cover for the Jackie Chan actioner, 'Vampire Effect'
DVD cover for the Jackie Chan actioner, ‘Vampire Effect’

Reeve (Ekin Cheng) is a vampire hunter trying to take out all these silly vamps but his sister, Helen (Charlene Choi), has other ideas. Unbeknownst to Helen, her new love interest is a charming vampire prince, Kazav, who has “fallen in love with supper”. As a budding romance blooms between Helen and Kazav, Reeve tries to break in a new partner, Gypsy (Gillian Chung), who only has eyes for Reeve.

There are various other plot lines in Vampire Effect that intersect, including a yarn (er, YAWN) where a European vampire is out to steal the vampire essence of five vampire princes so he can become a super vamp that can walk in the sun. He and his legion of lackeys are after Kazav and they won’t let anyone stand in their way…not even Jackie Chan!!! Chan’s long drawn out cameo is distracting and annoying until he starts kicking up a storm. Chan is at his best when bumbling while fighting vamps in a madcap, but entertaining action sequence.

Vampire Effect struggles to balance a Romeo and Juliet star-crossed romance with other plot lines that aren’t quite as interesting. The action is heated but except for Kazav’s witty vampire friend and loyal subject, the vampires are dull as dirt. As with Buffy, the girls are the ones kicking the most butt here. When Helen and Gypsy steal the show after Reeve bows out, it is in a fighting scene that looks like it was pilfered out of Kill Bill: Volume 1. I’ve never understood why the bad guys feel the need to line up to get their butts whooped but then again, I never particularly liked any of these vamps.

Vampire Effect is Buffy, the Vampire Slayerlight, done in Cantonese. It’s fun to watch the action scenes and the jokes that are few and far between but it’s nevertheless forgettable. Well, except for one girl-on-girl fight over a teddy bear, that was memorable. At the end, Vampire Effect seems to lead into the possibility of a sequel. The only reason to watch Vampire Effect or any sequel for that matter would be to catch the cutesy comedic duo of Choi and Chung fighting vampires while maintaining a keen fashion sense.

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