Blade (1998)

blade poster 1998 movie wesley snipes
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Started the comic book movie boom

Some effects haven't aged well

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 wesley snipes boomerang sword

Hi. People call me Blade…let me show you why

Blade (Wesley Snipes) was born in death.  His mother (Sanaa Lathan) bitten by a vampire before his birth passed the curse onto him.  Teamed with a weapons creator named Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade is out to stop the vampire scourge.  Blade saves a hematologist named Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) who could hold the key to Blade’s survival and a means to end all the vampires, but a vampire upstart named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) intends to challenge the vampire hierarchy, and Blade could be the key to his plans!

Directed by Stephen Norrington, Blade is an action-adventure fantasy comic book movie.  The film is based on character from Marvel Comics who first appeared in Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973) and is often credited as starting the launch of comic book movies.  The film was met with mixed to positive reviews from critics and a strong box-office showing.

I can remember learning Blade was coming out.  I knew the character and was shocked that with all the comic book movie dreams that Blade would be the first one.  Of course in 1998, vampires were once again “hot”, and Blade made sense…but there was this fear it would be a stinker like most comic book movies up until then.

blade pearl fat vampire

I’m just big boned…

Blade works which was a shock.  Even over twenty years later, the film has a lot of energy and story that keeps moving.  The movie plays fast and loose with “infected” vs. “born” vampires and how the virus is passed etc., but largely it just keeps it fun and full of martial arts action and shooting.  You can’t get too hung up on the plot.

The acting is very comic book like.  All the characters are bigger than life.  Wesley Snipes is playing an action star and delivers his lines with bravado but that is how many of the goofy lines need to be delivered to work.  I actually like N’Bushe Wright as the smart, solid costar who is a good pairing with “action-first” Blade (though it doesn’t take her a bit too long to get on board in my opinion).  I generally don’t like Stephen Dorff, but like Snipes, he revels in his cocky super-villain nature.  The core three have a great back-up too made up of Kris Kristofferson, Udo Kier, Donal Logue, and Traci Lords.  The movie was also intended to introduce Morbius played by     in a scene at the end of the film.

blade vs deacon frost stephen dorff wesley snipes

Shouldn’t you be peddling e-cigarettes or something?!?

The visuals of Blade are both great and pretty bad.  Before The Matrix, there was Blade and Dark City.  The Matrix seemed to borrow from both for the effects that were considered “revolutionary”.  In addition to some strong choreographed fight scenes, there is a bullet dodging scene with Frost in the park…but this is contrasted with some weak CGI at the end of the film which looks like basic start-up effects.  Plus, the movie suffers from “no one cares what anyone is doing” action.  Blade gets in a fight in the park with gunshots and a kid almost run over and everyone walks around like normal…the same when he beats up a police officer in the middle of the day while carrying weapons.  It isn’t a realistic movie, but the response of extras also isn’t very realistic.

Surprisingly Blade holds up.  Even with some weak (and forgivable) dated effects and visuals, the story is taut and action-filled.  It has an edge that most of the current MCU movies seems to lack (partially due to the R-Rating but also due to the character).  Blade is a fun foray into superhero movies and is coming back in future MCU projects.  Blade was followed by Blade II in 2002.

Related Links:

Blade II (2002)

Blade:  Trinity (2004)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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