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THE BREED - 2001
Starz / Sony Pictures
Ratings: USA: N/A
Back in August of this year (2001), I saw this really cool
movie on the Starz cable channel called THE BREED.
I liked it so much that it was a pity the flick wasn't available on tape
or DVD, but the movie was a Made-For-Cable deal so there you had it. I
told you all about it and made the wish that someday it might be available
for all to see.
Well a funny thing happens with the Internet. One of the screenwriters, Christos N.
Gage, was surfing through the search engines looking to see if anyone
had made a comment about his movie. He came across my opinon and liked
it so well that he decided to write me. Then I wrote back, one thing led
to another and the next thing you know he's handling the Fanboy Comics
section of feoamante.com!
Another cool thing that happened was that Starz showed THE BREED a few more times and it became popular enough for the company behind it,
Sony Pictures, to release it on VHS and DVD. So now I can tell you ALL about it!
Fans of otherworldy,
alternate earth movies like JACOB'S
LADDER, DARK CITY or THE MATRIX are going to love
THE BREED stars Martial artist Bokeem Woodbine (WISHMASTER 2)
as the human police detective, Stephen Grant. Stephen works for a highly
restrictive government agency called NSA - which may or may not be the same
as the USA's NSA. Stephen is a black skinned cop who is newly partnered
with a white skinned cop who he has never heard of before. Martial artist
and star of the HIGHLANDER television episodes, Adrian Paul (THE
RED MASQUE OF DEATH, DARK SHADOWS [TV], HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME), plays
the vampire detective, Aaron Gray.
THE VAMPIRES ARE A DIFFERENT BREED OF HUMAN.
Set in a strange alternate timeline* that is both our future and, somehow, our past, this world discovers that
there are Vampires living among them. A population of 4,000 undead live
in a ghetto district of the city reminiscent of the photographs of Jewish
ghettos in Nazi Germany (this alternate world also
has a Nazi past). The country is a police state with Soviet style
uniforms, rampant poverty, repressive government, and state run radio
constantly gibbering out a barrage of Government mottos. Like AM talk
radio without an off-switch.
The leader of the Vampires wants to bring about a peace between his kind and
the humans, The vampires want to raise their families without worry from
sharp stakes and other weapons. They are strong, fast, and immortal, yes,
but they are also so very easily killed (a sharp
stake through the heart will kill a vampire, so will a beheading and setting
one on fire. Come to think of it. That would kill a regular person too!).
Plus, there are far more of us and our weapons than there are of them.
We retain the power of sheer numbers.
So the vampires want to integrate and ingratiate themselves by promising to never ever
drink human blood again (their scientists have invented
blood alternatives like we created veggie burgers). But as they
seek this goal, another vampire is running through the streets and feeding
off of humans. This "sport" threatens to wreck the fragile truce,
and in a country that is ruled by a repressive dictatorship, a little
paranoia is no where near enough.
AARON GRAY (ADRIAN PAUL): A VAMPIRE WHO MUST HELP HUMANS HUNT DOWN A CRIMINAL VAMPIRE THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM ALL.
It is such a world that highlights this modern re-telling in a wholly intriguing
is hard-boiled, violent, and not above brutality to get his questions
answered. Finding that his crude language irritates the more sophisticated
Gray, only increases his desire to aggravate his new partner.
However, among the more powerful vampires, Grant can no longer use his brutal interrogative
ways, and when confronted the beautiful and dangerous Lucy (Ling
Bai: THE CROW) Grant finds himself becoming more of a human being in the company of inhumans. He finds himself drawn to this deadly and powerful vampiress - who needs neither his protection or provision - and who finds herself just as inexplicably drawn to him.
In another scene, when Aaron accuses Steven of being a racist, Grant
must contend with the fact that though Aaron is caucasian in appearance
and Jewish by descent, he considers himself no more a member of humanity
than Steven, an African American cop, thinks of himself as a vampire.
Problems with the movie, and there are few, stem from the occasional slide into
cliché. Suspects, upon introduction, launch into "TV suspect"
monologues. Some scenes that could have been intriguing - like our first
introduction into the ghetto world of the vampires - are sloppy and confusing.
Aaron Gray's flashback of how he became a vampire is at turns touching
GRANT (BOKEEM WOODBINE) CAN'T TRUST THE ALLURING LUCY (BAI LING)
These points are minor in the body of the film.
Some have faulted the slow and intentional pace of THE BREED as compared to, say, BLADE. BLADE, however, was
an action Horror movie, whereas THE BREED is decidedly a Horror Mystery.
While telling its tale, THE BREED touches on issues of racism, prejudice, and the roles of men and women
in western society. Fun touches are added by having the various suspects
named after famous vampires in literature in film. Subplots that involve,
among other things, a lab created virus that will kill vampires, adds
to the distrust and tension between our two main protangonists. All this
put together with an atmosphere of film noir creates a film both visually
and mentally stimulating. The DVD comes with subtitles in English, French,
Spanish Portuguese, Chinese Korean, and Thai. Both 5.1 Dolby digital sound
and 2 channel Dolby Surround. Anamorphic video full screen and widescreen,
five trailers and commentary by Director and actor Adrian Paul.
3 Shriek Girls
copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
For Alternate History theorists, THE BREED poses an intriguing question: When?
You would think that something must have gone wrong during the reign
of the anti-communist and drunken lout, McCarthy. Or at the very
least, we became a repressed nation during our cold war with the
Soviet Union at the height of the arms race in the late 50s/early
60s with President Kennedy and Soviet leader Kruschev. Yet in one
scene a character dramatically quotes a line from APOCALYPSE NOW,
even lisping his way through Marlon Brando's rendition of "You're just an errand boy!"
That movie was released in 1979 in the last stages of Jimmy Carter's
presidency. We had the Iranian conflict in 1980, but that wasn't
enough to make us a police state by any stretch of the imagination.
So instead, our totalitarianism must have come about during the
Reagan era. There was enough going on in Reagan's second term to
lend itself to this possibility. Though the U.S.S.R. was collapsing
under the weight of its own poverty, debt, and corruption, Reagan
and his cronies were struggling to rid themselves of Contra Gate
- the most incompetent and corrupt thing to happen to the U.S. government,
since Watergate. It was revealed that an ineffectual appointee,
Oliver North, had betrayed the U.S. by making deals with terrorists,
completely against the dictates of Ronald Reagan. What's more, he
had not only accepted payola from the Iranians, he had drawn up
a plan for instituting Martial Law - in effect, stealing the rights
and the republic away from the U.S. citizen.
The Media, at this time, decided to help create the news instead of
just report it, and inadvertantly turned the traitorous North into
a folk hero. Arguably, this could be the time that the U.S. became
a police state in an alternate history timeline.
This is fun brain candy for alternate history buffs, but you don't need
to research your history to enjoy THE BREED.
Return to Movies
The whole Police State government scenario was not in the original
script, which was supposed to take place in New York City. Only
after expenses were considered was the film crew moved to Budapest.
The locations, weather, and consequent lighting actually increases
the originality of this film. Which just goes to show that a low
budget can sometimes be a good thing!