Director – Stephen Norrington (Death Machine, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman)
Starring – Wesley Snipes (New Jack City, Demolition Man), Stephen Dorff (The Gate, Cold Creek Manor), and N’Bushe Wright (Dead Presidents, Chappelle Show)
Release Date – 1998
Rating – 4/5
4K Release – 3/5
I was becoming enthralled with horror. It was baby steps for me at first. I discovered Goosebumps and my life changed. Before long I was obsessed with Stephen King, West Virginia and Appalachian ghost stories, before moving on to movies and television. This was around the time Marvel would adapt their Blade character into a feature length film starring Wesley Snipes. This blend of action and horror really pulled me in.
I was obsessed with it. So much so my dad was forced to drive around for a few hours until he found the VHS for me. I didn’t know much about the comic aspect of the character but this movie was everything to me. I watched it so many times growing up that I became sick of it.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Blade (Snipes) who is unique. His mother was bitten by a vampire while she was pregnant and because of this he was born with the many of the powers of a vampire with very few of the drawbacks. It’s because of this he is wanted by low level Deacon Frost (Dorff) who believes he is the key to turning him into a blood god. Blade, with help of his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and Karen (Wright), has been waging war on the vampire population and is about to face his strongest enemy yet. **Spoiler Alert**
Blade is not perfect. In fact, it is pretty fucking far from perfect but the movie entertains. I don’t watch a movie for enlightenment or to find another plain of existence. I want to be entertained and Blade does that. Its fun and it really does pull the viewer in. Honestly, I still feel this is the best Marvel movie to date after revisiting it.
The acting in this one is pretty damn fun but some of the performances are a little underwhelming. Snipes is and always will be Blade but I am still open minded about the recent recasting. He has some pretty big shoes to fill because Snipes absolutely kills it as Blade in this film and the subsequent sequels. Dorff also delivers a phenomenal performance as Deacon Frost. He perfectly balances out the screen with Snipes and portrays one of the first villians that I actually enjoyed. The supporting cast is hit or miss but the biggest disappointment for me was N’Bushe Wright. She was not a strong female character and I never really cared for her performance here. It always felt like she was just there for the paycheck and did not deliver the performance the film needed.
The story for this one does a fantastic job of melding horror and action. We get a lot of backstory on Blade, as well as, the vampires which adds some nice depth to the film. The wide array of characters with different personalities works as well. My favorite aspect of this film is the vampire mythos and how it opens the door for so many more films that we never really got.
Finally, the film has so many death scenes. Most involve some complex visual effects that really impressed me then but didn’t hold up that well today. It did not age well but it doesn’t bring the film down that much. We do get some solid make-up and practical effects and so much fucking blood which is to be expected from a vampire flick. Overall, Blade is a great blend of action and horror that really entertains. The characters and story makes this one so much fun. The 4K release looks fantastic and such an improvement over the VHS and DVD release i’ve seen of this. I highly recommend checking this one out regardless if you are horror or Marvel fans. It’s worth it.