The Breed (2001)
By: Craig Villinger on March 17, 2002| Comments
Columbia Tristar (Australia). Region 4. PAL. 1.85:1 (16x9 Enhanced). English DD 5.1 German DD 5.1. English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danis,h Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, Arabic, Czech, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Turkish, Bulgarian and Greek Subtitles. 87 Minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Michael Oblowitz
Starring: Adrian Paul, Bokeem Woodbine, Ling Bai, James Booth, Paul Collins, Lo Ming, Debbie Javor
Screenplay: Christos N. Gage, Ruth Fletcher
Music: Roy Hay
Country: USA
In the near future, NSA agent Steven Grant (Woodbine) is on the trail of a killer who has abducted and murdered several women in extremely bizarre circumstances. After a confrontation that leaves his partner dead, Grant's superiors let him in on a little secret that they have been keeping to themselves for the past few months - and boy is it a corker! According to them, vampires have walked among us for centuries, and the person that killed Grant's partner was in fact one of them. It seems that the vampire community has willingly exposed itself to the government in the hope that they will be accepted by humanity and allowed to co-exist with us, and it won't be long before the government announces these details to the public. Only problem is, the killer who is running around chopping up women left, right and centre is threatening to break apart this human/vampire alliance before it even begins, so Grant is partnered with one of the vampire communities top investigators Aaron Gray (Paul) to solve the case, and fast!

The investigation takes Grant into the heart of the vampire underworld, where he discovers that not all bloodsuckers are keen on the idea of exposing themselves to the human race. Many fear that they will be persecuted by humans because they are different, and are out to stop this alliance no matter what the cost, which just might include a murder or two...or maybe even two billion. As Grant works his way further into the vampire community, he learns of agovernment plan to kill off all vampires with an airborne virus, makes friends with his partner despite their initial reservations about each other (as is to be expected in a buddy cop film), scores a root with an attractive queen of the night, runs the risk of becoming a vampire himself, and ultimately uncovers a plan that might just bring about the end of humankind as we know it (and all this in the space of eighty seven minutes - phew!).

The Breed is another is the increasingly long line of vampire films that tries to re-invent the vampire mythology that we have come to know (and love?) all too well. Director Michael Oblowitz presents us with a twisted view of a "retro future" where communism seems to have become the "in thing", and is at times reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. There are a number of good ideas at work here, and this film certainly had the potential to stand side-by-side with other recent offerings like Blade and Dracula 2000, but somewhere along the line it all fell by the wayside. Adrian Paul, best know as the star of the Highlander television series, is well cast as vampire authority figure Aaron Gray, although unfortunately the same can not be said for Bokeem Woodbine, who is perhaps better suited to performing in a supporting role, and seems slightly uncomfortable as the main character. One of the films biggest let-downs is it's action sequences, which are poorly staged and un-interesting to watch, consisting mainly of a bunch of vampires flying around on wires and shooting guns in each hand, which was done to much greater effect in The Matrix and almost any movie made in Hong Kong over the past 25 years. Visually, things are very impressive, with the cinematography of Chris Squires proving to be one of the films high points, and the sometimes dilapidated Hungarian locations helping to add to the films interesting take on a society of the future.

Ultimately, there is a lack of fulfilment from the film. It promises us so much, yet delivers so little. Given a little more money, things could have been different, but sadly it is a little too late now.
The Disc
The Breed is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16x9 enhancement. The transfer looks good enough, although the image appears to lack "sharpness" at times, and some minor compression problems are evident during the films darker moments. Colours are slightly muted, but it would seem as though this was the directors intention. Shadow detail is excellent, and overall, the transfer has no real faults. The English 5.1 channel soundtrack is adequate, without being particularly inspiring. To be honest, there isn't all that much going on within the film itself in the audio department to push your system to it's limits (perhaps due to the films low budget), so the soundtrack does a good enough job with what is on offer. Dialogue is easy to understand at all times, and there are no audio sync problems.

An audio commentary from director Michael Oblowitz and star Adrian Paul is the best of the discs features. The pair share a good rapport, and manage to keep up the chatter for the entire film, giving us some interesting information and sharing a few amusing anecdotes along the way. We also get a few trailers, the standard "Talent Profiles" and subtitles for just about every spoken language in the world (or so it seems).
The Verdict
There is enough entertainment value on offer here to warrant an overnight rental, but if you are looking for a "keeper", try something else. It's certainly better than the other recent vampire release The Forsaken, but then again, that isn't saying much, is it?
Movie Score
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