The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
Grace Jones is one of the great undiscovered countries of contemporary entertainment. Who is she, and what does she think, and what could she really do if the filmmakers ever unleashed her? She was the most satisfactory co-star Conan the Barbarian ever had, and she had the potential to be one of the best villains in the James Bond series until they dumped her role in mid-movie.
Now here she is in a vampire film. She seems to be making a tour of Hollywood genres, so that every role gives her lots of cliches to hide behind. Like a lot of performers, she seems almost able to change her physical characteristics for the motion picture camera. I saw her at a party in May at the Cannes Film Festival and was surprised that she was not nearly as tall as I would have imagined. In the movies she seems to be a towering Amazon, and in "Vamp" there is a scene where she crawls toward the camera like a tiger and you'd swear she could finish Conan one bite.
"Vamp" is like all of her other movies, however. It doesn't know what to do with her. To judge by the ads, you'd think this was a vampire movie and Grace Jones was the star. But, once again, all she gets is a tantalizing supporting role while a bunch of college kids hog the main story. Maybe someday they'll make a real vampire movie with Jones. Maybe Werner Herzog will direct and Klaus Kinski will star, and we'll get a night to remember.
"Vamp" isn't that movie. It's sort of a vampire version of "After Hours," Martin Scorsese's great 1985 film about a long night in the big city when everything went wrong. The story this time: To escape the rigors of a fraternity initiation, a couple of pledges offer to go into the big city and hire a stripper to appear at the house's next big party. After falling into a space-time warp or something, they emerge in an otherworldly metropolis where the local strip club is a front for a vampire ring. Visiting businessman are invited to the back room, and that's the last the living ever see of them.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
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