Folks, this movie is the stuff that Cinemax was made for. The Vineyard is cheap, tawdry and dumb, barely more than an excuse for lots of gratuitous nudity and sleaze and a little bit of gore (a very little bit, unfortunately).
Written, starring and co-directed by veteran character actor James Hong (probably best known as David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China, but has been in roughly one million TV shows, movies and videogames), the movie felt at times like little more than an excuse for him to grope young starlets. Okay, to be charitable, maybe he felt he was making a great horror film … nah, I think he just wanted to grope young women, which he does a lot of in this movie. Have a look at this:
There are a lot of scenes like this, and in many of them Hong (or occasionally one of his accomplices) is groping someone. Just sayin’
Plot? Yeah, I guess there was sort of a plot. Hong is a vintner who’s actually an ancient sorcerer. He stays young by drinking potions made out of the people he keeps chained up. And sometimes people turn into zombies, but it isn’t clear why. But they barely make an appearance and don’t do anything to affect the plot when they do, so who cares?
Anyway, he lures a bunch of young, attractive people to the island on the pretense of auditioning for a movie, gets them drunk, does magic to them, chooses one as a special sacrificial bride, gets killed by them, the end. There’s some other stuff in there, but it really doesn’t matter.
There were a lot of weird things in this movie. Like, why does the Chinese sorcerer worship a statue of a South American god (can’t remember if it’s Incan, Aztec or Mayan, but I definitely recognized the statue)? And the dance scene — oh, the dance scene. You thought the cave rave in the second Matrix movie was bad? This blows it away. It’s one of the worst dance scenes ever. Then there’s the random fight scene, the quickly discarded subplot about the cheating wife — hell, even the zombies! They didn’t really have anything to do with the story, but there they were … This is almost Troll 2 levels of badness, here. let’s just say I can’t say I am surprised that Hong doesn’t have many other writing or directing credits.