Rise

 (2007)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

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.)

You have 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 dramatic moments.

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.

FOLLOW-UP

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.

DVD INFO

* 4 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes: "Blood," "Location," "Sex and Murder," and "Stunts"
Chasing Tricia Featurette
Quenching Her Thirst Featurette
Sadie Saves Collette Featurette
Sadie Takes Revenge Featurette

122 minute version of the film. (Rated version is 95 minutes.)

THE CRITICS AND ACADEMIES

There are no major reviews on line, but several specialty sites are linked from IMDb.

   

THE PEOPLE

   
5.6 IMDB summary (of 10)
   

THE BOX OFFICE

Straight to DVD.

 

NUDITY REPORT

  • Cameron Richardson - topless in a long and clear scene.
  • Lucy Liu - topless in four different scenes, but always too coy, too brief, or too far from the camera.

Google
 
Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:

C-

Watchable genre film. Ultimately noteworthy only for a world-class nude scene from the delicious Cameron Richardson.