Tommy Lee Wallace. Not John Carpenter. Do not be fooled. Just because “Vampires: Los Muertos” (V:LM) says “Presented by John Carpenter” on the front, doesn’t mean it has anything to do with John Carpenter. It was directed, in fact, by Tommy Lee Wallace, who is a Grade B king, responsible for such other gems as “Stell Chariots” and “Danger Islands”. Whether Carpenter was involved or not (no big prize after Ghosts of Mars, anyway), V:LM was a fairly large disappointment anyway. The sound and video are fine, but the mov…e is definitely direct-to-video. Strangely enough, this is a “Destination” film, implying that it is supposed to be distinct and alternative. That it is – but it may not quite be of the caliber that destination collectors are expecting.
V:LM follows the saga of some character played by Jon Bon Jovi, who has cast off his super-stardom to become a Grade B movie star. There are no spoiler warnings forthcoming because I only last through half of the movie. In the half that I saw, a bunch of randomly timed, ill-conceived plot devices created not much drama, a few uninspired action sequences, and zero character empathy. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. The movie is not a complete loss, with a few decent Matrix-esque scenes thrown in, and the occasional creative prop, such as (Spoiler!) Jon Bon’s folding surfboard weapons. For some reason, this movie is rated R – don’t expect anything too wild.
Incidentally, this movie seems to follow John Carpenter’s theory of movie making, if not his direction: take a ridiculous plot, too small a budget, and an actor from a vaguely related industry (Jon Bon in V:LM, Natasha Henstridge from Ghosts of Mars), slap it all together and hope it works.
Predictably good for a recent movie, if not exceptional. Set in Mexico, there’s plenty of great color contrasts between the cobalt blue skies and desert sands. Night scenes are very black, but colors and contrast are not lost (as happened in Ghosts of Mars). Also note that there’s wide- and full- screen available here. Good effort on the video.
Audio is a competent, if not inspired 5.1 mix. Good overall ambiance, with sides constant but not standouts.
Trailers, and subtitles in a profusion of languages round out the features of this disc. Couldn’t Bon Jovi have done a music video for this one?
Destination: Bottom of the rack for this one.
Special Features List