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TV Watchin': Vampire in Brooklyn

July 10, 2009

vampire

While watching “Rotten Tomatoes”,  a TV show about movies that I always watch but don’t really like that much (I know, stupid right?) they had a countdown of Eddie Murphy’s worst 5 films. For some reason that is completely unfathomable to me, “Meet Dave” and “Daddy Daycare” were not on that list, but this one was.

I’m not saying that this is a great film by any means, but on the list of Eddie’s nuclear bombs I don’t think “Vampire in Brooklyn” should be counted in the wreckage. For one, it had an interesting premise–Eddie as a vampire named Maximilian who comes to New York looking for a mate or he will die. Why a vampire’s life is in peril without a wooden stake, I don’t know, but we’ll leave it at that.

It also stars Angela Bassett, and was written by Eddie and his brother Charlie Murphy, who we all know can be a funny dude sometimes. It was directed by  horror film great Wes Craven, and set in one of the best cities to shoot a film. With all of these elements one would think that at the very least you would have a film that would hold your attention for 2 hours right?

Well, it does, but doesn’t really go much beyond that. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is another 90’s film that if it were released today, would probably be a hit at the box office, but in the 90’s kind of came and went. I mean, these days all we get is Tyler Perry or some dumb Ice Cube produced movie as far as commercial film, and Eddie’s vehicles that come out now aren’t even worth mentioning.

This one has a little bit of everything; vampires, romance, New York, John Witherspoon (bang bang bang!), Allen Payne when he was still kinda hot, and a funny secondary story with Kadeem Hardison as Eddie’s undead sidekick who keeps losing a different appendage with each new scene.

vampire2

Angela Bassett is waaaay overserious, as usual, but she keeps this lightweight film from completely floating off with her hearty groundedness. It was, however, a bit disturbing to see her with pounds of too light pancake make-up and lipstick on, very distracting in fact. But not more distracting than the fact that she and her secondary love interest, police partner Allen Payne (Eddie being the first) have zero chemistry. She almost seems like his mother, and age is not even the reason, just attitude. Anyway, turns out she’s been half vampire all along and never knew it–the only signs being that she is a “night person” and somehow “knows things” everybody else doesn’t notice, which helps to make her a decent cop. Eddie comes along and sweeps her off her feet, even though he is an unusual looking dude to say the least. Plus he wears a freakin’ cape. The viewer knows that he has very selfish ulterior motives, namely keeping his legacy alive.

It is a good looking film, and Eddie does his signature multiple characters–besides the vampire, he also morphs into an Italian small time hood, and a sweaty Al Sharpton-like preacher. The thing is, the movie is not particularly scary, or funny, or action packed, or romantic, or sexy, or anything else. It is an amusing way to spend two hours, though, and I always love to see a Black cast in a horror genre film. Always. No matter how trite. And trite this one is.

Still,  better than any Black film I’ve seen at the theater this year–here is the trailer:

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Sergio permalink
    July 11, 2009 8:37 am

    I agree. Vampire in Brooklyn is nowhere close to being one of Murphy’s worst films. On the countary I think it’s one of his most interesting movies and one that’s quite different. I was just going to look at it again recently but didn’t have the chance, but I will next week. But Anegla (STRONG JAW) Bassett…SIGH. One of her biggest problems (among several) is that she takes herself WAAAAY too seriously which means that she is completely devoid of a sense of humor. You can’t do comedy without being able to laugh at yourself first, which is something she’s totally incapable of doing.

    And that is one of the reasons why she never broke out and made it big as a movie star. Movie stars have the abiliity to draw the audience in. When you see tham on the screen you like them, you want to be with them. I think Kerry Washington has that in spades, that “likability” as I call it. What she just needs that one great part to put her over the top. Halle Berry with her crazy ass has that “likability” too. Bassett however pushes you away, She creates a distance, a “wall” between herself and the audience. Some people may like her because she’s “fierce”, but most people can’t seem to connect with her. Sean Penn, for example, has that same problem too. Tecnhically he might be a tremendous actor, but he’s not and will never be a “movie star”

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 11, 2009 6:43 pm

      You know, I find Sean Penn likable as an actor, but not as a person, which is disappointing…he seems like a supreme douche. I think that is the real reason many don’t like him, cause he is a fantastic actor and can be sympathetic on screen.

      Now that I’ve seen Angela’s body of work over the years, I definitely think folks misplace that fierceness for “good acting”. Even on ER she played things that exact strong jawed way. It has become tiresome to me, to be quite honest. There is just no subtlety or shading.

  2. July 11, 2009 10:53 am

    I kinda’ like this film. But that is part of the problem. I kinda’ liked it.

    For years now, I have kinda’ like all Eddie Murphy’s movies. They have been entertaining and a good way to kill a little time but nothing else. In fact, the last Eddie Murphy movie I actually paid to go see was that one when he played the mean lady in the fat suit.

    See how memorable it is. I can’t even remember the title.

    But kinda’ good does not cut it. Yeah, he stays gettin’ dat cheddar cheese with a new movie each year, but shouldn’t he want a little more than that? Should we expect a little more than that?

    His eighties movies were nice. Some of them might one day be thought of as classics. But if he wants to end the game with his reputation intact, he might want to up his game.

    And I agree with the earlier commenter concerning Angela Bassett. She is way too serious. Perhaps, to the point of being depressing.

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 11, 2009 6:48 pm

      I felt the exact same way, Max. It was “kinda” everything–just missing the mark.

      I do feel that I am the only person on Planet Earth that will admit they thought Norbit (that’s the name :-) ) was funny, but it was dismal compared to some of his earlier stuff.

      I really, really, really believe that Eddie MUST leave this family fare he’s been doing alone. Maybe for good. Drama is calling him–he was so good in Dreamgirls, and I truly wish he would play Richard Pryor in his biopic like it’s been rumored.

  3. Lenox Ave permalink
    July 11, 2009 6:21 pm

    I love me some Bklyn! I think that despite its production value, direction and novel premise (Black Horror needs to be explored more) it is an awful film. I really hated it. I just was so over Eddie Murphy and his schtick that nothing he did pleased me anymore. Add in Angela as a half vampire and I was just done. Done.

    I’d love to see more Black Horror films of quality. It would be a great topic for discussion.

  4. Rocky Horror permalink*
    July 11, 2009 6:52 pm

    LOL! you are funny–done huh? I think I get it :-) I feel the way you do about Eddie these days–it just took me a lot longer.

    You know, I think I will bring that up the horror thing on Shadow And Act; it is mos def underdeveloped on a huge scale….and speaking of blogs, I can’t leave a comment on yours without a Live Journal account—whasup?

  5. Lenox Ave permalink
    July 13, 2009 2:48 pm

    I have to change the settings so you can comment.

  6. August 8, 2009 5:42 am

    *shrug*

    They probably couldn’t judge past the texturized-mullet.

    For me? The issue was always a “Hey, guys!! it’s a black vampire movie!!”

    Blade is a simply a vampire movie that has black stars. But Vampire in Brooklyn?

    Yeah. There is a difference. And that particular difference felt patronizing. Like ghettozing certain elements made it more “black” a.k.a. for the “urban” market.

    So, that puts it in the worst Eddie Murphy movie category for me…which is a loooooong category, IMO.

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