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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (PG-13)
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Caution: spoilers

Buffy (Kristy Swanson) was a cheerleader at an L.A. high school; a shallow, popular girl, but still a good person, deep down (though it will take some time for this to become apparent). Anyway, this Watcher named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) shows up to inform her of her destiny. Into each generation a Slayer is born. A girl who will be gifted with great strength and agility and stuff like that, so she can kill vampires. Also into each generation is born a Watcher, who trains the Slayer. Buffy isn't really into this whole destiny thing, she just wants a more normal sort of life. But she has no choice. There are tons of vampires around, and they're killing people, so they need to be slain. And she's the one to do it.

The major villain is this ancient vampire named Lothos (Rutger Hauer), who has beaten many Slayers in the past. His chief minion is Amilyn (Paul Reubens), who is basically there for comic relief (the movie's packed with that, but Amilyn is one of the funniest things about the movie, especially when Buffy finally stakes him). Anyway, Amilyn is like 1200 years old, so I dunno how old his master Lothos was, but it must be older than that. Meanwhile, there are a couple of guys named Pike (Luke Perry) and Benny (David Arquette), very sort of out-crowd or whatever, who do stuff like get drunk, and sneak into theaters, and complain about how stuck up Buffy and her friends are. Buffy and her friends, of course, don't like Pike and Benny, either.

But anyway, Benny gets turned into a vampire, and Pike decides to leave town, but somehow gets mixed up with Buffy fighting all the vampires. But of course, despite his best efforts, he doesn't end up being much help to her. A little, but not much. Anyway, Buffy keeps training with Merrick and killing vamps, and outgrows her shallowness, and she and Pike start to like each other. At one point Buffy, Pike, and Merrick have an encounter with Lothos and Amilyn, in which Lothos kills Merrick. Amilyn wanted to kill the Slayer, but Lothos said she's not ready, so they just left. That was kinda weird, I thought. Then Buffy's all guilty about not being able to save Merrick, so she wants to quit the slaying and go back to her old life. Which angers Pike. Benny finds out Buffy is the Slayer, which apparently he reported to Amilyn. I thought it was weird that finding out her name should make a difference to Lothos so soon after first meeting her and saying she wasn't ready, but whatever.

Anyway, Buffy goes to the senior dance at her school, but finds her boyfriend with another girl, and her friends don't like her anymore, so she's all alone. Until Pike crashes the dance and the two of them have some fun. But then Lothos and all his minions show up and attack everyone, and the place is pretty well wrecked and stuff. But Buffy finally kills all the vamps in the end (well, Pike got a few himself, I think) and rides off with Pike on his motorcycle. The end.

All in all, a fairly fun and funny movie, pretty cool... Like I said, Amilyn was funny, and so were most of the other characters, including Stephen Root as the principal or whatever. And I've always enjoyed the basic premise of the damsel in distress suddenly kicking the monster's ass. The premise is exemplified in one particular scene... though I don't think the scene here was constructed as skillfully as it might have been. In fact I'd say little if anything about the movie was constructed as skillfully as it might have been. I liked the movie a lot, but... I dunno, the whole thing just seemed fairly rushed, underdeveloped, whatever... but still enjoyable. Of course, I think my opinion of the movie is simultaneously helped and hurt because of the far more popular TV series it would later spawn. The series exemplified the premise of the movie in a truly exemplary fashion. It really was totally brilliant, one of my favorite shows ever... which gives me a greater appreciation of the movie, but also causes the movie to suffer by comparison. But I do think if it weren't for the series, the movie couldn't possibly rate higher than four smileys. And that's all I can think to say for now....


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