TV Watchin’: Vampire in Brooklyn
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.
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: