Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Review)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Review)

Before Dollhouse and Firefly, even before Buffy (on TV) there was the movie Buffy, the one my wife and I saw back in 1992 and rather liked. Anyway, she found the disk on the cheap, so it served as our Friday Nite Flick.

What a difference nearly 20 years makes.

I’d remember this being slick, stylistic, happening and hip. I remember it being so cool – Modern Vampires! In L.A.! I remembered really liking it.

It came to me while Buffy was training, and in some of the early fight scenes. Everyone seemed… slow. Everyone looked like they’d just walked into the studio, spent a few hours in makeup and then walked onto the set, where the director said, “Okay, in this scene, you make a roundhouse swing and hit him. Action!”

I guess I’m just CGIed, or jaded that every shot must be perfect. Here, actors shift or go over tables in clumsy falls or throw stakes with less conviction than Mifuni at the end of Yojimbo (even with the wire, it was better). In old B&W flicks, I’m used to seeing clumsy action scenes, with those punched jutting their chins ceilingward like a breaching whales, yelling, “Ugh, you rat!” But in the 90s? The 90s? This is after the wonderful edited action of Back to the Future. No blood, no guts, no clever angles, no dim lighting, no CGI, nothing. Everyone stands six feet from the camera and goes into their tumbles.

Sad, really.

Oh, there is good acting, all things said. Kristy Swanson does a wonderful job maturing in the role, growing up before our eyes. Donald Sutherland, as her strange olde-worlde trainer, plays it just right. Rutger Hauer camps the Vampire Lord with the perfect sense of pomp. And Paul Ruebens goes over the top with his lengthy death scene. I think Luke Perry is in it too, but I wasn’t impressed then and care less about him now.

Anyway, I found it more interesting to watch this was an eye towards where we, the audience, have come from than to concern myself with a prom being wiped out by the unconvincingly-acted damned. Fun to watch, but don’t put a lot of faith into it. Meh.