Director: Stephen Norrington
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright & Donal Logue.
Stephen Norrington directs this 1998 vampire-superhero action movie that is based on the Marvel Comics character Blade. It is an amazing piece of rubbish.
The movie follows Blade, a vampire-human hybrid who protects humans from vampires, in a quest to destroy the vampire that killed his mother. It follows Snipes destroying vampires in unique ways whilst trying to track down an upstart vampire, Ethan Frost (Stephen Dorff), who wants to conquer the human race. With the help of his mentor and weapon maker, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), and Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright), a haematologist that has been bitten by a vampire, Blade is an enjoyable film from the start. The film was followed by Blade II (2002), where Blade teams up with a vampire overlord to defeat a new breed of vampires, and Blade: Trinity (2004), seeing Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel joining the cast and trying to kill Dracula.
Blade is just flawed in too many ways for this to be called an amazing movie: a vampire elder tells Dorff that he won’t be able to translate scripture from the vampire bible (he does using a computer) and then Whistler is able to translate it just by looking at it; the CGI is amazing throughout and at the end becomes horrible when skeleton vampires start flying around; how Wright makes an antidote to vampirism and no one has been able to this before etc. It does give the impression that Norrington scrapped the script after an hour and continued to make up the rest of the movie.
Despite these terrible flaws the film is enjoyable. It’s the first Marvel Comics movie to become a box office success and it paved the way to the blockbusters that can now be found in cinemas every couple of months. The variation from closeups to long shots combined with the different camera angles used in some action sequences adds a fresh perspective to a film that is, for the most part, nonstop action. The highlight of this film might have come too early though. The opening scenes finds a man being lured by a woman to a rave that is full of vampires. He doesn’t realise this until the beat drops and blood sprays out of the sprinklers covering him and everyone else. As the vampires start to attack this unlucky guy Blade enters, with guns, stakes, and a sword, to reek havoc on every vampire there.
Though the storyline isn’t dull, it also isn’t fulfilling and it seems as if the script was penned in a couple of hours at most. The few uses of comedy fall without so much as a smirk and Kristofferson’s tortured background story doesn’t add any emotional depth to the character. It does at times feel as if this film was made purely so that Snipes (also a producer) could show off how athletic he is.