Quite how model turned actor Colin Egglesfield wound up cast as the lead in a kung fu vampire flick is a mystery to me.
Though a recognized US TV star, did the producers of Vampires: The Turning (2005) think fans of soap All My Children would flock to see an action-packed horror movie?
Egglesfield looks a bit like Tom Cruise and apparently trains in martial arts, but when you watch the movie the casting choice seems unusual, but then so is the film.
Shot in Thailand, it’s the second sequel to the underwhelming John Carpenter movie Vampires (1998) but it’s hard to believe as it shares so little in common with its two predecessors.
Vampires and its sequel, Vampires: Los Muertos (2002), were about teams of Vatican-financed vampire hunters, led by James Woods and Jon Bon Jovi respectively. This threequel is completely different thematically, the slayers are little seen, there’s a different vampire mythology and wire-fu action scenes aplenty.
You get the impression that D.B. Farmer and Andy Hurst’s script was initially completely unrelated to its predecessors and lazily tailored to suit this wannabe franchise.
The slayers, similar to those that appeared in the first two films but now led by Belgian Patrick Bachau’s Raines, are relegated to supporting roles and the lead is an outsider played by Egglesfield. Fearlessly tracking down the bad guy who’s kidnapped his girlfriend, he finds himself in the middle of a war between good and evil vampires.
We first meet Egglesfield’s character Conner at a kickboxing match. He tells us, via some heavy-handed expository dialogue with his on-screen girlfriend, that he’s “studied and trained Muay-Thai since I was a kid” and before you know it she’s been kidnapped and he spends the rest of the film trying to rescue her.
Low budget but notable for production design and cinematography that’s heavy on shades of red, The Turning is an unremarkable action movie and a lame sequel. Acrobatic, bike riding vampires enliven proceedings on occasion but for the most part it’s slowly paced and takes itself far too seriously. Egglesfield spends the majority of the film looking bewildered but handles himself well during the action scenes with the villains with the claws and contact lenses, though he has some help from stunt doubles Dean Alexandrou and Kawee Sirikhanaerut, also the film’s stunt coordinator.
Egglesfield was never destined to be an action star. After starring in Marty Weiss’s film he continued to build a following on daytime TV before briefly moving to prime time in the resurrected drama Melrose Place. However his character was axed after 13 episodes.
With no other significant projects on the horizon, according to imdb, Egglesfield is likely to be keeping himself busy with auditions and the running of his clothing company Shout Out!. The T-shirt company is “based on the concept of customizable, interactive apparel and accessories that facilitate and promote creativity and self expression.” Which is a fancy way of saying T-shirts that you can stick Velcro letters on.