Breed Review and Opinion


The Breed (2001)
Director: Michael Oblowitz

review by Tony Lee

This is a sci-fi variation on the theme of vampires, filmed on location in Budapest by the director of This World, Then The Fireworks (1997). The Breed is set in the near future, where European government leaders plan to integrate vampires into human society. It stars Adrian Paul (from TV series Highlander) as gaunt, Hitler-moustached vampire Aaron Grey, who is teamed with FBI agent Steven Grant (played by memorably named black actor Bokeem Woodbine), to investigate a renegade bloodsucker's plot to shatter the peace between vampires and mankind. Bai Ling (of Wild Wild West) plays beautiful vampire Lucy (yes, Lucy Westenra!), who falls in love with potential victim Steven, even as Aaron suspects her of being involved with the bad guys...
   The first thing you will notice is how much the film's retro future look borrows from Terry Gilliam's stylised Brazil (1985). Then there are the numerous in-jokes and subgenre references, from Graf Orlock to Barbara Steele and Anne Rice. The plot's background is chiefly political in nature. It features the cynical twist of vampire families escaping from ethnic cleansing, and frequent action scenes that mimic the superhero fighting style of The Matrix (1999) - but doesn't everything nowadays? Here, the vampires find sunlight is only a minor irritant, but they are still allergic to silver. Aside from these riffs on the lore of vampire movies and the scripted name-dropping, Michael Oblowitz' curious yet blandly unoriginal occult detective story and rather unconvincing romance with mismatched buddy-movie heroes, is unfortunately nothing more than a package of muddled SF ideas and offbeat characters that fails to develop or cohere into the sort of truly cult-worthy thriller offering it so obviously aims to be.
   The Breed is tolerable nonsense with interesting design work, but this sort of thing was done with considerably more skill and directorial flair in Blade II.

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