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Friday, February 11, 2011

Vampiyaz (2004) - Horror Vampire

Vampiyaz (2004) -The lives of a couple of thugs is forever changed when a B & E goes wrong in this supernatural urban drama. Jakeem (Richard Carroll Jr.) is convinced to crack a safe for his friend and fellow criminal Khalil (Malik Burke). They end up shooting the owner of the home after stealing his amulet of power. Jakeem can't believe that Khalil even brought a gun on the job, he hates guns and as they argue about it in there car they hit poor Tracie (Lila Blake Palmer) as she walked home. Now the bad guy Khalil wants to leave her while Jakeem thinks they should take her to the hospital. The arguement ends when Khalil shoots Jakeem leaving him to the cops and prison. Khalil leaves and in the most inexplicable scene is bitten by a vampire. What? bad luck?
Eight years later when Jakkem gets out of the "joint" he is immediately on the prowl for revenge. First though he checks up on the girl they hit. Stacie is in a wheelchair and does not really remember the night she got hit. She does not then recognized Jakeem as the guy who hit her. Now it is important to note a couple logical errors in the script. 1. What did Jakeem end up in prison for? Hitting the girl and getting shot? For the murder of the home owner? Never really explained. 2. How did the girl not hear from someone what happened to her? Wouldn't she have heard about Jakeem, seen him on the news or been questioned by the police at some point? So using some other name he starts to get to know the girl. Apparently Khalil has been watching out for him too because there is this guy Ray (Randy Clarke) to talk to Jakeem about coming to see his rival. Ray is like Renfield from the Dracula story. Khalil is a vampire and has lost the amulet and wants to get it back, so of course he waits eight fucking years for the former friend who he shot and left in the road to get out of prison, find him and then force him to crack another safe and re-steal the piece. What there were no other safe crackers good enough to do it?
Off Ray and Jakeem go to get to the safe and in a poorly designed sequence they fight their way up to is and Jakeem goes to work. They do a nice job establishing a motivation for him. He is going to get money out of the deal and will use it to make amends with Stacie by paying off her medical bills. What is not real thought out is the whole logistics of the job. They basically are stealing the amulet from a group of vampire hunters and Ray after being told not to bring a gun he does and shoots anyone he sees. At one point shooting from behind Jakeem and deafening him. How Jakeem ever got the safe open without being able to hear the clicking is not explained but apparently he is a pretty good safe cracker. They get the amulet and he gets the drop on Ray so now he has the gun. So the two go back to Khalil to get paid. In the best scene of the entire movie, he and Khalil do the exchange for the amulet but since he can not hear, the communication is totally broken down and really very funny. Writer/Director John Bacchus gets props for this scene.
We learn that the amulet will make a vampire invincible and when Jakeem learns this he manages to get it back from Khalil and make a break for it. Now though both Ray and the vampire hunters are both looking for it. The group wins and they get it back, Jakeem goes with them for the assault on Khalil's house, he has a couple of Vamp women in the house so some carnage is sure to follow. The assault goes badly for the professional vampire hunters, which leads one to think just how professional they were. There comes a point in the assault where Jakeem finds Stacie strapped with explosive and a safe to crack in a minute in order to save her. Wonderfully stupid is the best way to describe the scene. In the end things go badly for Khalil and his vixen vamps and the film ends with Jakeem getting a new job. There are way too many problems with this film to remotely consider recommending it. I liked the hip hop sound track and the NYC locations but there are too many script problems to save this one. A bonus for this is that the lovely Debbie Rochon makes an appearance as a prostitute.
Rating (1.2) 5.0 and up are recommended

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