Michael Oblowitz's vampire epic The Breed couldn't have come at a worse time, and will likely be buried among the avalanche of other nosferatu flicks currently assaulting the DVD-buying public (The Forsaken, Dracula 2000, Rockabilly Vampire, Blood Suckers & Blood Thirst, a Superbit reissue of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and many more)... and to be honest, that may not be a bad thing. Although Oblowitz is to be commended for at least trying to inject some strands of originality into the (un)dead vampire legend, this touch of creativity is also one of the movie's biggest failings: the best vampire movies work because of our familiarity with the lore and legends involved, and an audience can feel uncomfortable and alienated or, even worse, disinterested when the genre's rules are suddenly changed without warning.
The Breed's story involves a tough cop named Steven (3000 Miles to Graceland's Bokeem Woodbine), who has been given the unenviable task of integrating a fringe vampire society into mainstream America. Neither humans nor nosferatu are entirely comfortable with this idea many members of both groups hold suspicions and resentment towards the other. Negotiations degenerate even further with the discovery that a vampire serial killer has been loosed upon "mortal" society.
Steven teams up with Aaron Grey (Highlander: Endgame's Adrian Paul), a vampire liaison/cop, to solve the murders and complete the integration. As demanded by the laws of police movie clichés, our two reluctant partners start out hating each other before eventually developing mutual respect and admiration for the other's talents. Along the way, we're treated to a lame but mandatory subplot involving Steven's amorous adventures with a ravishing Asian vamp (The Crow's Ling Bai), even though these elements add little to the film apart from a few minutes of sex scenes.
Although The Breed boasts some exquisite cinematography (the use of shadows and composition is occasionally masterful), the film suffers from poor pacing and an inconsistent screenplay that seems to contradict its goals at times. (Case in point: if the story is so intent on reinventing the vampire mythos, why does it then rely on such overly familiar clichés as the trite "mismatched partners" relationship between Woodbine and Paul?) As such, although it contains a few effective moments and a handful of noteworthy performances, this is a flick best left for vampire completionists only.
The Breed is presented in a very clean anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with a pan-and-scan version offered on the disc's flip side, Dolby Digital 5.1, and an array of subtitles. Special features include a rather self-congratulatory commentary track by actor Adrian Paul and director Oblowitz, a theatrical trailer, and various textual supplements (talent files, etc.). Keep-case.
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