Despite inserting a jumble of backstory into his live-action take on an action experiment from Japanese animation studio Production I.G (best known for contributing an animated sequence to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1), in order to stretch it from 48 minutes to feature length, director Chris Nahon (Kiss of the Dragon) captures some of the visceral thrills of the nine-year-old anime. Credit Corey Yuen's gravity-defying fight choreography and some cut-rate CGI. The latter lends a charmingly jerky, Harryhausen-like quality to the shapeshifting hordes that half-human, half-vampire, schoolgirl-outfit-wearing samurai Saya (Gianna Jun) slashes through effortlessly in her centuries-long showdown with "the oldest, vilest of all demons," Onigen (The Last Samurai's Koyuki, whose badly dubbed voice is a nice touch). Now if only Saya's new American sidekick, Alice (Allison Miller), could have been cut from the film so readily . . .