Vampires, in modern day Hong Kong, how cool does that sound for the premise of a film? And then you decide to set it in a department, ok, a street-sweeping department, er…
Vampire Cleanup Department sees Tim Cheung, Babyjohn Choi (Kill Zone 2, IP Man 3), as a man with little going for him. He lives with his grandma after his parents both died, he has no girlfriend and no job.
One day, he intervenes in a fight and ends up being bitten by a vampire. Luckily for Tim, he’s immune to the vampire bite, hence why the Vampire Cleanup Department decide to recruit him.
Headed by ‘Uncle’, Richard Ng (Winners & Sinners, My Lucky Stars), and with main fighter Siu-Ho Chin (Fist of Legend, Tai-Chi Master), the VCD are a proper department, just downsized somewhat from their heady-days.
This rag-tag bunch of older generation vampire slayers keep the streets clean (geddit? Streets clean. Oh never mind) with a combination of kung-fu, wooden stakes and some amulets.
This is all working fine until a diver at a nearby lake accidentally resurrects two sleeping vampires. One is an all-powerful, super-vampire, growing stronger each time he eats prey.
The other is Min Chen Lin (Prince of Wolf, Love at Seventeen), who, when she tries to bite Tim, ends up turning into a beautiful, mute, woman called Summer who Tim can’t quite bring himself to kill.
What follows is a kind of surreal love-story between vampire and geeky-human whilst everyone tries to find her ‘boyfriend’ who’s out in the world doing his vampire thing to people’s necks.
New directors Sin-Hang Chiu and Pak-Wing Yan give us an interesting take on the vampire tale. There’s some light humour, but nothing that really has you doubled over.
The action is ok, though a little sparse and the plot is nothing if not predictable. At a little over one and a half hours you’d think it would fly by but sadly it doesn’t.
The plot gets bogged down by nothingness. Training montages taken direct from Karate Kid (though not as good), comedy that’s perhaps supposed to come because the vampires don’t walk, instead they jump, both feet together, arms out-front like zombies.
Except it’s not funny, it’s just silly, but silly-bad, it just leaves you asking why and no-one will provide an answer.
The scenes between Choi and Lin should have opened up a whole world of comedy. A vampire, and a human, trying to get along. A vampire who doesn’t know what it is to be human, who can’t seem to bend her joints.
Sure, it wouldn’t have been anything we haven’t seen before but it would have at least been funny. Instead things linger too long over things like Choi’s mobile phone being inside Lin.
There is a sub-plot (and calling it that is being generous) of the police department trying to find a cure for vampires, except they get maybe two scenes before they’re suddenly in a face-off situation with the big-bad vampire.
Vampire Cleanup Department promises much but, sadly, fails to deliver. It’s not the worst thing you’ll ever watch, but it’s far from the best either.