Vampire in Brooklyn

PLOT:

An abandoned ship crashes into a dockyard in Brooklyn, New York, and the ship inspector, Silas Green, inspects it, finding it full of corpses. Elsewhere, Julius, Silas’ nephew, has a run-in with some Italian mobsters. Just as the two goons are about to kill Julius, Maximillian, a suave, mysterious vampire, intervenes and kills them. Soon after, Maximillian infects Julius with his vampiric blood, turning Julius into a slowly decaying ghoul; he then explains that he has come to Brooklyn in search of the Dhampir daughter of a vampire from his native Caribbean island in order to live beyond the night of the next full moon.

This Dhampir turns out to be Rita Veder, a police detective who is still dealing with the death of her mentally ill mother some months before. Rita begins having strange visions about her (or at least a woman that looks like her), and begins asking questions about her mother’s past. Maximillian initiates a series of sinister methods to find out more about Rita and to further pull her into his thrall, including seducing and murdering her roommate Nikki, disguising himself as her preacher and a lowlife crook. After saving her from being run down by a car, Max gets a dinner date with Rita. While dancing with her, he bites her. Later, after going back to Max when she sees her reflection disappearing in a mirror, she finds out that her father, who was also a vampire, sent Maximillian to her; his death at the hands of vampire hunters was what drove Rita’s mother insane. Her only hope for remaining human is Maximillian dying before the next full moon. Rita eventually drives a stake through his heart, and he disintegrates, turning her back into a normal human. Meanwhile, Julius, now nearly completely decayed and without his master, finds Maximillian’s ring and puts it on. He instantly transforms into a well-dressed (and well-endowed) vampire. Silas agrees to chauffeur Julius, and the two ride off into the night in the limousine.

REVIEW:

 Yes, I am reviewing yet another vampire flick. The difference with this one, though, is that it is supposed to be a comedy. I say supposed to be because this wasn’t as funny as it should be, save for a couple of scenes here and there.

I’m of the belief that Eddie Murphy lost his box-office mojo somewhere after Harlem Nights and with the exception of his voice work, just hasn’t really gotten it back, with the exceptions of The Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle franchises.

This is one of those films that proves my theory becuse the story actually isn’t too bad. I think it might have worked better as a legit horror flick, though, but that doesn’t mean it was bad writing. The badness comes from the way it is executed. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the acting, direction, or a cobintion of both with some other factors, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Unlike certain vampire films of late, Eddie Murphy’s vampire is actually a bloodsucker! *GASP* How dare a vampire suck blood and not glitter in the sun, right? Basically, everything you know about vampires, Murphy’s vampire is capable of doing, which is really one of the highlights of this film for me.

The make-up and special effects are decent enough. They seem to be a mixture of what we see in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and the vampires in the TV series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Depending on how you look at it, that could be good or bad. For me, it was iffy, but works for the tone of the film.

Eddie Murphy does not give his best performance here. His vampire Max, who is supposed to be from somewhere in the Caribbean, seems to have the same accent as his African Prince Akeem from Coming to America. He also plays a couple of other characters, Preacher Polly and the Italian mobster, Guido. Neither is really memorable…in comparison to other characters Murphy has done in his other movies.

Angela Bassett just didn’t work for me as a damsel in distress. She also isn’t very attractive, either, so it makes me wonder why she was cast in this role, unless she happened to be a friend of Murphy. Having said that, she did have some good scenes sprinkled in there, just not enough to redeem her in my eyes.

Kadeem Hardison actually steals the show. He is hilarious, if not annoying, but given the nature of his character, that is expected. At times, you can see how he was influenced by Murphy. It is obvious that he watched the Beverly Hills Cops movies, as well as his earlier works and used them as a basis for Julius.

Allen Payne is the hero of the story. There really isn’t much else to say. He doesn’t really get any development, but rather just seems to be attached to Rita and suspicious of Max.

I really can’t recommend this to anyone. If you’re into African-American vampire lore, then checkout the Blade trilogy or Blacula. They are far superior. That isn’t to say that this film totally sucks, but it is far from a great film. There are plenty of much better vampire and Eddie Murphy films out there to check out. If you must watch this, go ahead, but don’t go out of your way to do so.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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