The Era of Vampires (2002)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-10
Summary: Short horror flick with lots of lost potential....
A good entertaining movie with plenty of special affects and enough horror / suspense to keep the viewer engaged for long enough. ‘Ji Chun-Hua’ (whom you might recognize from other bad guy roles in ‘Fong Sai Suk 2’ and ‘New Legend of Shaolin’, very early in his career) stars in this horror comedy as ‘Master Mao Shan’, a skilled martial artist and Taoist exorcist. Under him are a bunch of four ragtag inexperienced vampire hunters, namely Wind (Ken Chang), Rain (Lam Suet), Thunder (Michael Chow) and Lightning (Chan Kwok-Kwan). The team of vampire hunter’s main objective is to seek and destroy the Legendary Vampire King, a very unfriendly and powerful monster hell-bent on sucking the life out of all living things and creating more of his kind. Unfortunately the team underestimated his abilities and somehow the master and his apprentices lose contact with each other.

The four apprentices, assuming that their master has fallen in battle against the Vampire King, seek revenge and travel around hopelessly, until about three months later after the unfortunate incident, they arrive at the House of Jiang, a haunted mansion run by Master Jiang (played by the great Yu Rong-Guang, whom you would recognize stared in several previous movies like ‘My Father is a Hero’ or ‘Iron Monkey’). Jiang is a skilled wax artisan and his family’s legacy is an entire house full of ancestors preserved in wax for decades. Jiang’s son is soon to wed the beautiful ‘Sasa’ (played by ‘Anya’) and the four hunters pretend to be hired servants in the household, hoping to apprehend the vampire king. Sasa’s Husband soon after dies mysteriously and Wind falls for her. Meanwhile Sasa’s older greedy brother Dragon (Lee Wai-Shing) seeks Jiang’s Gold and is willing to sacrifice even his sister to get his hands on the Gold (Jiang’s Family Heritage). Unfortunately soon after, the Vampire King decides to make an unwelcome appearance, causing problems for everyone.

This is a very well developed film in the footsteps of earlier Mr. Vampire movies and the action choreography is done in the exact ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ format without the presence of ‘Yuen Woo-Ping’. Vampire Hunters is more of a Manga-Style movie where the background emphasis on character development is unnecessary and more emphasis is given on current situation in hand. We also see some very exciting fight scenes with Master Jiang and Wind and also Master Jiang and the notorious Dragon, although they only clock in at about 90 seconds at best of screen time. Simply said the fight scenes, although plenty are not long enough and this is definitely something Tsui Hark should have worked on. Also the movie itself only clocks in at just under 90 minutes, which is regretful, since the movie had much potential to exceed most other vampire movies and character development, if any, has not been achieved successfully.

Overall this a good entertaining movie with horror / martial arts / comedy all wrapped up in one big sandwich and with very simple plot: catch the Vampire King before all hell breaks lose.

Overall Rating: 7.9/10
Reviewer Score: 8