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Frost: Portrait of a Vampire



Staring: Jeff ?I can?t believe he?s an actor? Manzaneres (who should have taken off his aviator glasses); Gary "How broke could he have been" Busey (who got top billing but really was not a major character); C.R. Lister (who plays the Vampire) and is okay and Melissa Rasmussen who didn?t do a bad job.

Director: It appears to be a fellow by the name of Kevin ? avoid anything else he has worked on? VanHook (Frankly I suspected Jeff Manzaneres since the movie was essentially a vehicle in which to try to make him look cool - as such a vehicle it was a pathetic failure ? hell, as any vehicle it was a pathetic failure).

The Down and Dirty

Another B movie that you do not (and I can not make that clear enough!) want to rent, this ?portrait of a vampire? is not even a portrait of a vampire. It is more a ?portrait of a vampire?s friend?.

It is not a very well developed portrait.

To Begin: I cannot stress enough how painful it was to watch the guy who plays Frost (who is the main character and is not a vampire) in this movie. Without him the thing might have been salvaged (and short) but with him this movie was absolutely distressing to watch. He, personally, was distressing to watch.

The ?story? centres on two mercenaries: Frost and his best friend, Nat. It seems that, once upon a time, Nat tripped a booby-trap which released white phosphorous and partially blinded Frost. This made Frost extremely sensitive to light (because now he sees less of it?) and means he has to wear these stupid aviator glasses for all but about two-minutes of the movie (even at night). This blindingly stupid plot-line (pardon the pun) sets up a debt owed by Nat but is hardly relevant to what little main plot there is. As if seeing his blank stare would be worse than him having no eyes at all, it felt like the glasses were there only as a device by which the director felt he could cover over the fact that the guy playing Frost had all the acting range of a pile of cold shit.

Really! Name any muppet. That muppet (the one you just named) can act with more skill than this fellow can. I am not joking. Hell, even Gonzo?s chickens have more range.

(As an uncool bonus: Among what group in 2001 are aviator glasses still cool?)

Apart from Frost (who is not a vampire) the acting was not half bad. The guy who played Nat (who is a vampire) and the woman who played Nat?s wife were both pretty good in fact. Had the guy who played Frost not been so painful to watch, you could have rented this movie.

The special effects were good too with a pretty decent blending of computer animation with real explosions. (VanHook apparently helped on Daredevil - which had a higher caliber of bad acting and okay special effects). Considering the fact that at least half the budget must have been spent getting Gary Busey (who should have known better) to do what amounts to a long cameo, the special effects were actually quite good.

What really made this movie suck (as already mentioned) was the actor who played the lead character and the person who wrote the part. Shown in the movie to be some sort of super-mercanary but actually being a slightly overweight guy with a bad hair-do, ugly beard and absolutely awful sunglasses, this guy stunk up every scene he was in. He brought absolutely nothing to the movie (except, I am guessing, all or part of the money) and his inability to act was a constant distraction. His role could have been played by a piece of driftwood and a tape-recorder and it would have been less detrimental to this movie.

The plot itself is simple. The guys are doing some mercenary work in Afghanistan and Nat is bitten by a crazy demonic guy (a ?vampire?-ish). Years later, Frost has retired and Nat is still working when Nat is shot by his employer and becomes an un-dead thing like a vampire (but able to walk in the daylight). Frost goes on a revenge spree against the guy who reportedly killed Nat and then must deal with the fact that Nat is now a monster. Really, for a portrait, there is a lot about this Frost guy and very little about the vampire.

Another reason I suspect that the lead character funded this fiasco (or at least owned the gear) is the writing. The whole movie follows this non-dimensional character, Frost. Watching it you can?t help feeling that the movie is about the actor looking cool rather than the character being cool. Hardly matters which since it fails at both.

Frost is a mercenary but he is also a renaissance man (of course he is?). He reads and writes and studies fine art (and yet is only shown painting a good but extremely base picture of a naked woman). In fact, during the movie he publishes a book on some esoteric aspect of fine art. On the other hand, he hangs out with other mercenaries who are interested in little more than killing, drinking and fucking.

Now I am not suggesting that all mercenaries are shallow killers who only like death, booze and women. And I am certainly not suggesting that killer-folk and those who study fine art cannot hang out together (or even do the same job). What I am suggesting is that people tend to hang around other people with whom interests are shared and, because of this, people tend to enter professions where their colleagues will have similar interests to their own.

This is why academics studying art are so rarely seen at hired mercenary parties and vice versa. Generally speaking academic parties are a little more mundane and both groups tend to find the other boring and a little weird. As a matter of fact I have heard that nothing is more difficult to plan than a mercenary and academic artist party.

Kidding aside, I am not even suggesting that killing, drinking and fucking are better or worse than writing books about fine art. Neither am I suggesting that there is no such thing as an educated mercenary. I am suggesting that people who write books about fine art do not spend most of their lives hanging out with people who know nothing about art at all.

But having different hobbies isn?t even the point. The actor who played Frost is so incapable of demonstrating anything that the only way left to give the character any depth at all was to substitute varying activities for character. It is painfully obvious that the creative force behind this cinematic vomit felt that there was something valuable in having the main character be an artist and a mercenary(no idea why). However, at the same time this creative ?genius? demonstrated a remarkable lack of insight into what it would be like to truly be this kind of renaissance man. In short, the writers showed as little insight into writing about the character as the actor showed in playing him.

Almost everything the character did seemed to be shouting ?look at how cool he is (I am)? without anyone involved having any idea what makes a character cool.

Having a cool character (say, for example, James Bond) is about being cool doing stuff and not (as in this movie) in proving how cool you are by doing stuff. Cool people do not do things because they are cool things to do. Things are cool to do because cool people do them.

Frost did things because they were cool and watching this movie was like watching any other loser try to prove his coolness by dressing in black and mastering varying (and disparate) activities. In the end you have to admit that the loser did a good job at whatever he was trying to do, but the guy is still a loser and has further demonstrated that fact by trying so hard to demonstrate the opposite.

[Well, for a shitty movie, this got one long review.]

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