Rise is a genre hybrid created by crossing a vampire movie with a Charles
Bronson revenge film. Lucy Liu plays a reporter on the trail of a mysterious
cult which ends being a vampire group. They promptly kill her and drink all
of her blood, a double coup which not only puts a stop to her investigation,
but also simultaneously meets 100% of their daily vitamin requirements.
Turns out that death just pisses her off!
It seems that she has the necessary will or genetic structure or
susceptibility to vampirism, or whatever bullshit explanation the script
comes up with, and she gets turned into one of the undead, with an assist
from a female vampire who helps to "turn" Lucy for her own purposes when the
chief vampire is not paying attention. Lucy wakes up in the morgue, kicks her way free, and resumes her life.
After feeling the craving for blood and subsequently killing a few drifters,
however, she starts to get the feeling that the whole vampire lifestyle is
really not for her, so she sets out to destroy the entire tribe of vampires
who cursed her to this life which is not a life. After being trained by a rogue vampire,
she sets out on a mission to kill the evil nightcrawlers with a
magical vampire-killing crossbow. (Surprisingly there is no waiting period
to buy one. Bless the NRA. Or maybe the NCA.)
to measure a film like this by the quantity and appeal of its guilty
pleasures. Rise stacks up nicely. It's fun to watch, even if (like me)
you don't like the whole throat-slitting, flesh-eating vampire ambience.
Several reasons I found it appealing.
1) A nice bit of "mismatched buddy" action between Lucy Liu and Michael
Chiklis, as a tough cop who arrests her because she did, after all,
kill a whole bunch of vampires, and he doesn't know they were vampires. He
thinks he's caught a serial killer. Of course, she doesn't stay caught, but
once Liu and Chiklis learn and believe each other's stories, they team up to
take on the chief vampire.
2) A lot of fun cameos by a great variety of people ranging from Robert
Forster to Marilyn Manson to ... Nick Lachey.
3) A fairly entertaining evil mastermind, ala a Bond villain, in the
person of the boss vampire.
4) A surprisingly solid performance from Lucy Liu, who moved easily
through the action scenes and remained natural and convincing throughout the
4) Some great topless nudity from Cameron Richardson, and some coy nudity from Lucy Liu.
5) Entertaining over-the-top comic book violence, in the manner of a
Frank Miller work.
6) A sense of humor.
Unfortunately, the extended unrated version on the DVD is a major
disappointment. Despite a much longer running time (27 additional minutes),
it actually contains LESS nudity from Lucy Liu than the screener (albeit a
smidgen more from Cameron Richardson). Moreover, the footage has been
reassembled to make the narrative more complex, which only makes it less
suspenseful and harder to follow.