How far would you go to get an acting role of a lifetime? The answer lies in this meshing of American indie film and Chinese vampire film.
Tony Scott is a delivery man who longs to live his dream to become an actor. When an opportunity to do a film in China arises, he gets the audition. However, there lies one small problem. Tony doesn’t know Mandarin, a requirement for the actors in the film. When Tony learns that the lead actor of the film has hit a schedule conflict, he is given a second chance and must learn Mandarin within a month. However, an attempt to reach his girlfriend to teach him results in her dumping him.
Tony soon finds an ad for a Mandarin course in a night school run by Gengji Ma. At first, Tony seems to get in the spirit of things and even finds himself crushing on fellow student Suzie, who is there with her best friend Reika. However, the truth is soon revealed that Gengji Ma is actually a vampire and he plans to turn the students into his own Chinese-speaking private army in order to achieve world domination. When Tony realizes what has happened after an infected Suzie bites him, Tony now find his destiny and it may include having to stop his teacher once and for all.
Now this is something extremely crazy and yes, this is a film full of total insanity. Perhaps made as an attempt to being the Chinese “jiangshi” to the world of Hollywood, this project from star/writer Davy Williams and director Randy Kent could be the “WTF” film of 2021. The film does have a lot of ambition and the story of a Chinese vampire who moonlights as a night school Mandarin teacher who teaches and infects his students in order to both have them fluent in Mandarin and achieve world domination has its ups and downs.
Williams himself is a face to watch in the role of Tony, the hapless actor who just wants to make his dream come true and gets a whole lot more. The Montana-born, China-based actor brings something extremely interesting in the script. Whoever gets bitten and turns into a vampire will only be able to speak Mandarin and no longer have a command of English. Sounds crazy? That’s because it is!
Martial artist and stuntman Sean Eden Yi, who doubled and appeared alongside Jet Li in Fearless, is intriguing as the villainous Gengji Ma. He looks quite funny with his Casper-colored skin and fangs and while he is the antagonist, shows a good-natured side for some of the film while he is a teacher. The final act does take quite a turn when Tony finally uses his newfound powers to stand up against his teacher, all after a Guardian Angels-like priest unsuccessfully stops the new vampire army created by Ma. The only problem is aside from Ma and Williams, there aren’t any real good fighters give or take a few Chinese vampires that could make the fight scenes (choreographed by Yi) really watchable let alone be fun.
Chinese Speaking Vampires is more of a one-watch film out of curiosity. In the end, you most likely will be disappointed as there are no standout fights and more goofy comedy. On the upside, it is quite novel to see the idea of a Chinese vampire biting you resulting in you only being able to speak Mandarin and lose your command of English.
WFG RATING: D+
SP Releasing presents a World Martial Arts Hollywood Culture Federation/Kung Pao Pictures production. Director: Randy Kent. Producers: Sun Weiyu and Davy Williams. Writer: Davy Williams. Cinematography: Caleb Tou. Editing: Zhu Enyi and Randy Kent.
Cast: Davy Williams, Sean Eden Yi, Daniella Brown, June Lee, Richard Gavigan, Brandon Lamberty, Jeff McDonald, Rezzan Denizman.