A horror comedy about a vampire from the director of An American Werewolf In London? It's fair to say that I had some pretty high expectations when I first watched Innocent Blood. Those expectations weren't met, and I didn't ever revisit the film over the next couple of decades. I'm not sure whether that is a good or bad thing, because this long overdue rewatch has made me realise that there's a lot here to enjoy.
Anne Parillaud plays a vampire named Marie who heads out into the night to feed. She feels like Italian, leading to her feeding on one of the many mobsters who populate the city. Once done with her meal, Marie usually takes care of the body to stop anyone returning as a vampire, but she is interrupted when she starts to feed on a boss man named Sallie (Robert Loggia). That leads to Sal rising up again, hungry and out of sorts, which leads to bewilderment from his crew and problems for an undercover cop named Joe (Anthony LaPaglia).
Written by Michael Wolk, Innocent Blood is a fun vampire movie that uses the supermatural powers associated with the beasts to play around with the buddy cop film template and provide some fun set-pieces. There's a decent amount of bloody moments, and the script has a lot of fun lines as the vampire threat and mobster activity builds.
John Landis directs competently enough, working within his means to deliver a vision that requres some enjoyable practical effects and stunt work to fully show the deveoping situation. There are some surprisingly solid action beats, some playing around with vampire tropes, the usual selection of cameos,and one main sequence in which Frank Oz plays a coroner bemused by the liveliness of the corpse wheeled in for him is a highlight.
Cast-wise, Parillaud is decent enough in the main role. She doesn't always convince when in full vamp-predator mode, but does much better in the scenes that have her fooling people with her attempts to look innocent. LaPaglia is also decent, stuck with the more straightfoward role - the cop on the case who is seeing things that nobody else will believe. But it's the cast of criminals that make the film more fun than it otherwise would be. Loggia is a blast as the powerful criminal who starts to realise just how much more power he has gained, Don Rickles is wonderful as his legal counsel, Chazz Palminteri has a small role (but is always good to see), and Tony Sirico, Kim Coates, and some other familiar faces are a lot of fun as they watch Loggia evolving. Angela Bassett and Luis Guzman also appear in small roles, both on the side of the police.
Despite some issues, such as a few dated effects and the pacing issues, Innocent Blood is a fun time. The biggest thing working against it when it was released back in 1992 was that it wasn't another An American Werewolf In London. But what is?
This LOOKS like a decent disc for those wanting the film, but maybe another release could be on the horizon?