Vampiyaz (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres: Crime, Horror, Vampire Film
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John Bacchus John Bacchus
Richard Carroll Jr. Richard Carroll Jr.
Malik Burke Malik Burke
Lila Blake Palmer Lila Blake Palmer
Jenicia Garcia Jenicia Garcia
Randy Clarke Randy Clarke

1.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 26, 2004
Khalil (Malik Burke) and Jakeem (Richard Carroll Jr.) are your typical ghetto thugs. Jakeem is quite skilled at cracking safes, and Khalil just seems to be there to split the cash with him. As they move on to their next job, Jakeem goes on about how no guns should be used, he doesn't want any violence, yatta yatta; Khalil reluctantly agrees. They break into the next house on the list, and start robbing a sleeping guy who just so happens to be wearing a pink moo-moo with matching nightcap. Khalil's eating of potato chips during the safe-breaking awakens our man in pink, who pulls out a gun and starts a large commotion. Khalil pulls out the gun that Jakeem told him not to bring, and kills our hapless robbery victim.

They quickly flee the scene, and get into an argument whilst driving over the whole gun incident. Some punches are thrown back and forth, Jakeem takes his eyes off the road, and they run down a young lady crossing the street. Jakeem wants to help the girl and get her to a hospital, but Khalil wants to get away from her due to not wanting to go to jail. Jakeem insists on them helping her out, Khalil pulls out the gun, shoots Jakeem in the arm, and takes off with the stolen property. Cut-scene over to Khalil, and he's now made it into the city, where he attempts to steal a car and take off. As he starts to drive off in the car, a vampire chick (Debbie Rochon) in the back-seat bites his neck, killing him off. Assumedly, the cops later show up and arrest Jakeem for the robbery and accident, because we then jump to him being in jail. Fast-forward to eight years later, and Jakeem is getting out of jail. He meets up with Stacy (Lila Blake Palmer), the chick he ran down (though she doesn't know that), and who is now confined to a wheelchair. A budding romance starts up, until Ray (Randy Clarke) steps into the picture and offers him a chance to get back at Khalil for screwing him over.

Ray is a friend of Khalil's, unbeknownst to Jakeem, and we then move on to find out that both Ray and Khalil are vampires, with Khalil now being the head vampire around these parts. They want Jakeem to steal an amulet that's being stored at a local slum, which will turn any vampire who wears it into an ultra-mega-super-powerful entity. Jakeem agrees, steals the amulet, pisses off the vampire hunters who are guarding it, eventually teams up with them, and the whole lot go vampire hunting.

There's a number of scenes up there in the summary which sound as though this movie had a fair number of comedic elements, but that's not the case at all; everything is played out as dead-serious as can be. There's only two comedic scenes throughout the entire film, one being an admittedly hilarious exchange between a temporarily-deafened Jakeem and Khalil ("Give me the amulet first!" "Oh, you want me to handle it and put him in a hearse?" and similar stuff back and forth), and the other being a so-so dialogue where Jakeems interrogates the vampire hunters on why they don't just destroy this amulet that would give turn a vampire into an ultra-mega-super-powerful entity. Other than that, it's constant back-stabbing on both Jakeem and Khalil's part, with the occasional vampire kill thrown in to warrant the cover image (look familiar to anyone?). One thing that I found to be hilarious here; if you've ever played the classic "Doom 2" game in any of it's various incarnations (PC, SNES, N64, etc), you'll recognize the vampires "death screams" in the film as being a combination of the Imp's attacking-scream and the Flying Skull's dying-scream from said game. Actually, combining isn't the proper word there; more like, someone downloaded the two necessary sound files, played one, played the other, and then recorded the output into one longer version of the file. On every vampire kill, this exact sound is played without failure, and sometimes twice to heighten the effect.

Other than those two comedic scenes and the great end to the Stacey-romance subplot, there's really nothing to see here. The storyline alternates between fumbling around and going way too slow, to jumping around and forgetting scenes. I won't even run down the numerous plot-holes, except for this one. Ray is supposed to be a vampire, and true to form, daylight kills vampires in this movie. How is he able to walk around in the sunlight? Oh wait, now Khalil says Ray isn't a vampire... then why was he drinking blood and chewing on a severed hand earlier? No sense is to be made there, Yoda says. The gore is horridly done (on the rare occasion that it's done at all), with the blood looking like five gallons of water with a pinch of red dye thrown in, and the severed hand looking faker than props you'd buy at the local Wal*Mart around Halloween. The acting shown here is ungodly bad, with constant stuttering and line-forgetting throughout the run-time. It's not a pretty sight, I tell you what. Even with the whole vampire hunting aspect thrown in near the end, there's not one good action scene in sight; all of the vampire hunters get massacred within ten seconds.

Overall, not worth a rental at all. This wouldn't even be worth watching for free on basic cable. Don't think that because of the cover, this will wind up being a "Blade" clone; it's nowhere near the caliber of greatness that was Wesley Snipes, and I wasn't a fan of that movie at all. You be the judge on the quality that puts this film at. 1/10 from myself.
monkeyhoul #1: monkeyhoul - added 04/10/2012, 11:03 PM
Re: "[...] Yoda says." Ray is a living human flunky, probably hoping to become a full vampire someday, who's obsessed with consuming others -- a zoophagous cannibal. The movie's very clear on Ray's state, explicitly likening him to Renfield in Bram Stoker's novel _Dracula._ Renfield-types are a well-established part of the classic vampire mythos, and show up in numerous film adaptations of Dracula as well as some other vampire flicks such as 30 Days of Night.
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