It's like The Matrix with Vampires! There really ain't no comparing the sequels to this one. It was grand, it was gritty, it introduced characters properly and told a timeless story - one of sacrifice, and revenge, and love, and provided plenty of intrigue and surprises along the way.
The effects were better, too. More authentic-looking - even if this is the oldest movie of the franchise. I can only assume there were more real stunts in this than in the sequels. The blood flows thick, the bullets fly, and even in the darkness there's light. Just enough to let you see what's going on - something they clearly forgot about down the road.
There are really no downsides to this. The narrative's as poetic as the action is brutal, and the characters all feel hand-picked for their roles. There are humans too. There's 'interference'. It's not as boxed in as the rest, and most of the iconic scenes of the series are found here - not the latter. Not the moments I remember anyway, but maybe watching the rest again will change my mind.
The impression I get right now however is that this was the one. The first, and only one that really carries the name with honor. It's sci-fi action a la vampires and werewolves at it's best. Beastly and beautiful; with great actors in all roles.
rated 5/5: friggin awesome