Innocent Blood

Rated R, 112 min. Directed by John Landis. Starring Anne Parillaud, Anthony LaPaglia, Robert Loggia, Don Rickles.

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Oct. 2, 1992

Fatally beautiful, doomed to suck blood through eternity: what's a nice vampire to do? We all come up with our own solutions to life's little problems and Landis' beautiful vampire feeds only on the evil and corrupt. She's life's little carrion crow in a crushed velvet mini-skirt. Landis (Oscar, Trading Places, Coming to America), whose career has been uneven to say the least, returns to the modern-day horror film, a genre he had good luck with in An American Werewolf in London. Though Landis is not as lucky here (he has grown oddly stodgy and traditional since his early years), Innocent Blood has its moments. LaPaglia plays a snitch who's been so long undercover with the mob that he's having trouble coming back out. He runs into Parillaud's (La Femme Nikita) beautiful vampire accidentally while she's on the prowl. She looks at him, he looks at her, she thinks (in voiceover) “he has such sad eyes,” and sternly tells herself “don't play with the food” and goes on to find a nastier Mafioso to munch on. Unfortunately, when she comes up against the meanest crook of them all, Mafia don Loggia, she doesn't get a chance to finish the job and he rises from the dead intent on rounding up the boys for dinner and world domination. Running through the background of Innocent Blood is a commentary on the nature of monsters, of vampires and human fascination with them. Everywhere the characters go, there is a TV running an old monster movie, usually a vampire movie, in the background. In the foreground mobsters feed on society. In this context, the partnership of vampire and cop makes perfect sense. LaPaglia and Parillaud team up to track down Loggia. Hunter becomes hunted and back again in a pas de deux that takes on increasingly sexual tones. Landis has a lot to work with here and he misses few opportunities for sly commentary, but he blows it on a much grander scale. Innocent Blood is way too long. It loses steam and coherence about midway through, leaving us rooting for it but doomed to disappointment. Combining comedy, horror, romance and chase scenes, Innocent Blood finally begins to collapse in on itself but not before we've had more than a few good laughs and a frightened yelp or two.
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