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Rise (2007)

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Plot Summary:
"Supernatural thriller in which a female reporter wakes up in a morgue to find herself a member of the undead. She vows revenge against the sect that put her there and hunts them down."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 23 November 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Reporter Lucy Liu investigates underground vampire culture and is turned into a blood-sucker for her troubles. But like “Blade” before her, she, armed with a cool crossbow, vows to track down and kill the guys (and one girl, played by a smokin’ hot- but wasted- Carla Gugino) who raped and ‘killed’ her. Complicating matters (and seemingly coming from a different film altogether) is washed-up cop Michael Chiklis, whose daughter was also corrupted by the blood-suckers and he isn’t so sure what Liu’s allegiances are.

This Sebastian Gutierrez (the excellent cable movie “The She Creature”, with wife Gugino) horror-revenge flick has a nasty, yet sexy streak to it that for some reason appealed to me, and an ideal role for Liu (whose slightly off-centre presence is perfect for her role, and she would be a definite asset in more of these B-grade genre films). But the epileptic editing and quick cuts really ticked me off, as they always do, and the strategically coy camera placement during Liu’s several ‘nude’ scenes deeply offended me, given the adult content surrounding her.

Certainly it’s much darker than the norm, but unfortunately it tells a rather formulaic story saddled with uninteresting or poorly written characters. Meanwhile the most interesting character is bumped off fairly early, Chiklis comes in and out of the film jarringly (His character and Liu’s should’ve been put together to create one character), and there’s a definite lack of energy.

Two scenes stand out; the sexy and provocative opener is probably the most enjoyable opening scene to a film I’ve seen in ages, even though it could’ve gone even further, and there’s a terrific fight scene between Liu and the late Mako (in just about his last film)...well, OK, maybe not a great scene exactly, but it’s Lucy Liu fighting Mako, dude!

A nice sense of sleaze, and a well-cast Liu, but otherwise badly written, and extremely pedestrian. There’s something going on here, but it just doesn’t come off.

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