Blade (1998)

blade-poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Issues in the superhero boom

Some bad effects, too long

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Blade

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Horror

Release Date(s):  August 21, 1998

MPAA Rating:  R

blade-traci-lords

Hey, you’re Traci Lords! Yeah, you did that in the movie I saw too

Blade (Wesley Snipes) is born to a mother (Sanaa Lathan) killed by a vampire.  Growing up trapped between the living and the dead, Blade finds himself battling the creatures that created him with the help of a man named Whistler (Kris Kristofferson).  When a doctor named Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) becomes a victim of Quinn (Donal Logue), Blade hopes he can use her to get the vampires’ leader Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff).  Meanwhile, Frost has plans of his own and is planning to overthrow his vampire rulers by releasing La Magra from the sacred scrolls…and he needs Blade for it.

Directed by Stephen Norrington, Blade took a relatively small Marvel Comics character and turned it into a franchise.  It was written by comic book movie king David S. Goyer who wrote Batman Begins (but he also wrote The Crow:  City of Angels and Ghost Rider:  Spirit of Vengeance along with a number of Full Moon movies…so his track record is a bit so-so). The movie received mixed reviews but became a financial success.  Blade also represents one of the first movies to help launch the recent comic book adaptation trend.

blade-fat-vampire

I only drink the blood of people who live off DQ

Blade was kind of a weird choice for a superhero movie.  He was created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan for Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973).  He wasn’t half vampire, and he was actually immune to vampire bites as a result of the attack on his mother.  There aren’t a ton of African-American superheroes and that could be part of the reason for the movie since it was a vehicle for Wesley Snipes (he had also been tied to a big screen adaptation of the Black Panther…well at least he didn’t become Brother Voodoo).

Blade had a lot of energy when it came out.  The special effects were so-so, with Blade’s final battle with Frost showing some of the weakness of cheap computer animated graphics.  Blade was a precursor to The Matrix which did use some of the same effects like the bullet shots.  which of course became the bullet dodge in The Matrix.  Today, Blade is kind of slow paced and the fighting is a bit weak.  Snipes looks stiff and uncomfortable in Blade’s uniform at points and doesn’t move as smooth as he should.

blade-deacon-frost

Talk to the hand Blade!

The ending of Blade is pretty lame and anti-climatic.  Frost is built up as this big enemy, demonstrates superhuman powers and is taken out in a few chemicals (which is hinted to about 20 minutes before it happens).  The movie originally had a different ending with more action, but it didn’t really work either.  The unsatisfactory ending of the film does hurt the movie (plus the fact it is about two hours which is way too long doesn’t help).

Blade is moderately entertaining.  It hasn’t aged well and isn’t as fun as you might remember it.  The fighting is decent and there are some modern uses of vampires.  Blade was followed by the superior Blade II in 2002 directed by Guillermo del Toro.

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Related Links:

Blade II (2002)

Blade:  Trinity (2004)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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