Bonus points go to indie films whose premises are downright clever. So I present to you Randy Kent’s feature film, Chinese Speaking Vampires. It follows Tony (Davy Williams), a struggling actor hoping to land a breakout role in an upcoming feature film. A Chinese company is producing that film, and are looking for an actor who speaks fluent Chinese. Tony doesn’t know Chinese, but he’s learned his lines perfectly. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough, and he loses the role.
Undeterred, Tony and his buddy, Jim (Richard Gavigan), take Mandarin lessons from Mr. Ma (Sean Eden Yi). Tony meets the attractive Susie (Daniela Brown) and the equally attractive Reika (June Lee) in class. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Mr. Ma is the last remaining Chinese vampire, and he is currently recruiting/biting a new army of vampires to take over the world. The only upside for Tony to Mr. Ma’s plans is that the vampire bite allows them to speak fluent Chinese.
The reign of Mr. Ma begins by biting Reika, who then bites Susie. It’s not long before Tony and Jim join in. All four now speak fluent Chinese but lose their ability to speak English. Tony is also conflicted about joining Ma’s army and is thrown out to survive on his own. Plus, as Mr. Ma amasses his army, it’s discovered that semi-racist Pastor Robert (Jeff McDonald) also has an army of vampire killers, and he’s determined to take down Mr. Ma and his followers. So now Tony is caught in the war between Mr. Ma and Pastor Robert. Can he defeat both sides in time to re-audition for the Chinese film producers?
“…the vampire bite allows them to speak fluent Chinese.”
Just watch the trailer, and you’ll get right away that Chinese Speaking Vampires is about as B-movie as you can get, which I applaud. Director Randy Kent and writer/star Davy Williams absolutely embrace this designation. As tongue-in-cheek as the plot sounds, they balance the genre’s fun and drama. Thankfully, everyone plays it straight without a single nod to the camera, which serves only to elevate the lunacy.
Let’s be real for a moment. While the film embraces the good things about these sorts of production, it also has a B-movie’s disadvantages. The acting could be better. I’m sure if they could afford the insurance, the stunts would have been more daring. Kent uses several camera tricks to elevate the action — while a little cheesy, I loved it. And yes, there could have been more Asians on screen, which I expect to see in the sequel.
Kent and Williams show a great deal of resourcefulness by elevating their low-budget production. Though the set dressing is sparse, we feel like we’re in a cheap nightclub, classroom, and sinister dojo. As mentioned from the start, Chinese Speaking Vampires has a clever plot that I bought into the moment I read the logline and opening credits. Plus, Davy Williams’ Chinese is not that bad. Look, if vampires were a viable way of learning Chinese, my parents would have stuck my neck out instantly. But, in the end, it’s not about trying to deliver a multi-million dollar big Hollywood movie. It’s all about having fun, and Chinese Speaking Vampires delivers on the fun.
For more information, visit the Chinese Speaking Vampires official website.
"…Davy Williams' Chinese is not that bad."