Blade (1998)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
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Overall Rating 69%
Overall Rating
Ranked #541
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Connections: Marvel: Blade

When Blade's mother was bitten by a vampire during pregnancy, she did not know that she gave her son a special gift while dying: All the good vampire attributes in combination with the best human skills. Blade and his mentor Whistler battle an evil vampire rebel who plans to take over the outdated vampire council, capture Blade and resurrect voracious blood god La Magra. --TMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: March 12, 2011
Personally, I always found my favorite vampire movies to be of the action genre rather than horror, and when it comes to action vampire movies, the conversation pretty much begins and ends with the Blade series.

Vampire Deacon Frost sure knows how to party, and his popular blood raves are all the rage. Unfortunately, gathering that many vampires into one place is all the motivation vampire-hunter Blade needs to crash the party. With sword and stake-launching shotgun, he turns quite a few bloodsuckers into ash, and leaves one of Frost's lackeys nailed to a wall and burnt to a crisp as a message. When the paramedics arrive, they send the "cadaver" to the local morgue where he soon wakes up and takes a bite out of hematologist Karen Jensen before Blade shows up again and sends him running, sans an arm. Though he usually kills bite victims without a second thought, something about this woman has struck a personal chord with the hunter. So, he takes her with him to his base where he, along with his mentor and arms-provider Whistler, slow the spread of the inevitable infection and fill her in. Blade is half human, half vampire; he has the superhuman strength and agility of vampires, but he's immune to the usual garlic, silver and daylight. Unfortunately, he also has their insatiable thirst for blood, which he keeps at bay by injecting a serum. Furthermore, the vampire nation is extremely powerful, running the police and politics from behind the scenes, but our ol' pal Frost would much rather be a king than a puppet master, and he plans on making the transition by channeling the power of the ancient vampire Blood God.

For the movies, the character was basically rewritten completely. For one thing, Blade was not superhuman in the comics, relying more on wits and weaponry for his battles. Also, the stoic, brooding character Snipes portrays is a total departure from the fast-talking braggart found in ink and paper. I'd say both changes were made for the better. The former just makes the movie more streamlined and was a nice, simple way to enhance the action scenes, but the character itself is definitely the high point of the movie. The quiet, brooding tortured soul has been done numerous times before, but Snipes plays it to perfection. This contrasts nicely with the rare instances when, in the heat of battle, he reverts to his more smartass comic-based personality. Secondary characters don't disappoint either. Kris Kristofferson, best known for country music and westerns, is absolute gold as Blade's mentor/father-figure Whistler. Neither him nor Snipes play an overly emotional role, but the chemistry between the two actors is able to create an unspoken yet undeniable affection between the characters. Stephen Dorff (Yes, the kid from The Gate) also shines as main baddy Deacon Frost. While he's certainly on the more animated side of the spectrum, he doesn't come close to the overdoing-it-clown style that many villains have a hard time staying clear of. I also liked how slimy Frost was, and it's plainly visible that he's hated not only by Blade, but also his fellow vampires. Finally, our mandatory female character is handled by N'Bushe Wright. She didn't hurt anything, but she came nowhere near the bar set so high by the other three.

So we've some great characters and a storyline that's hard to screw up, yet there were a lot of decisions made that have me thinking a lot of potential was wasted. For one thing, you hire such an accomplished martial artist as Snipes in the leading role, yet most of the action scenes are him firing a gun, with just a little hand to hand thrown in; and to add insult to injury, the gun fights weren't even that great. When Blade crashes the blood rave in the opening, he'll shoot a vampire, look around as a couple dozen run right by him, shoot another. For a man supposedly bent on eradication he sure does let a lot of vampires go without a fight. There could have been some great Matrix-esque fight scenes where he slaughters these creatures without regard, but he actually spends more time killing humans. Sure, I guess this way they saved some cash on the vampire's fiery death scenes, but damn it, that's what I wanted to see. Finally, there are a lot of cheesy decisions that left a bad taste in my mouth. Things like Frost using regular old sun screen to go out in the day time. My eyes are still rolling at that.

I know it sounds like I'm shitting all over the movie, but I'm not. I definitely enjoyed the flick, and its spot on my DVD shelf is well warranted. Hell, due to this movie's success Marvel completely rewrote the comic book character to match its film counterpart and gained the confidence to move forward with the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises, so you know it's good. Still, I would have liked to see some more martial arts along with the gunplay, and more vampires all around. 6.5/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 03/12/2011, 03:10 PM
I enjoyed it. I'll admit like you Chris I wanted more out of it, but it still did well. The second was by far the best, but the third was the worst, so this was my second favorite out of the three.
AttnDefDis #2: AttnDefDis - added 03/13/2011, 02:03 PM
This is the only Blade movie as far as I'm concerned. The sequels were nothing, but disappointing for me. I'm not jaded because I never read the comics, but I loved the storyline and pretty much the entire cast. Plus, I love Stephen Dorff and Wesley Snipes. Normally, I side with the villains, but I was rooting for them both equally and I really missed Deacon Frost in the sequels. This is definitely a great vampire/action flick.
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