Blade (1998)
Main cast: Wesley Snipes (Blade/Eric Brooks), N'Bushe Wright (Dr Karen Jenson), Kris Kristofferson (Abraham Whistler), Stephen Dorff (Deacon Frost), Udo Kier (Gitano Dragonetti), Sanaa Lathan (Vanessa Brooks), Arly Jover (Mercury), Donal Logue (Quinn), and Traci Lords (Racquel)
Director: Stephen Norrington


Movies based on comic books and video games rarely have a happy ending as the end result is almost always one lobotomy away from complete shutdown of the brain, but for some reason, Hollywood always keeps hoping, making one more movie in hope that it will capture the imagination of millions of gamers and comic book fans into, if not leaving their basements for the theater, then downloading, er, checking out the movie from a legitimate online rental service. Fortunately for everyone, Blade turns out to be the epitome of cool.

Eric Brooks is half-vampire. His mother Vanessa was bitten by a vampire while carrying him, and she died after delivering him. Now known as Blade, Eric is a "daywalker", a half-vampire who can walk in daylight and control his thirst for blood by regular injections of holy water to keep his vampire nature in check.

In this movie, he wages war on Deacon Frost, an upstart who manages to gain himself a place in the council of vampire bosses and plans to take over the whole thing so that he can instigate the usually peaceful vampires into warring with the humans. He wants to be the boss of everyone, after all, but not if Blade can help it.

Caught in the middle is Dr Karen Jenson, a hematologist who happens to be bitten by one of Deacon's henchman. The poor dear is clearly at the wrong place at the wrong time. Interestingly enough, she is not a love interest for Blade, as Blade is too cool for girlfriends and other icky stuff. (Besides, he already has his mentor/tech expert buddy Whistler.) She is generally the viewer's placeholder as she tags along Blade, trying to help him and, in doing so, allows the viewer to learn more about the vampires and how they roll.

Wesley Snipes definitely carries this movie with his charisma and bad-ass attitude. Seriously, muttering words through gritted teeth has never been this sexy or cool. Wearing black leather suits and carrying guns with ammo up to the neck are probably clichés by now, but Blade pulls off the whole ensemble with style. Blade has a solid presence that commands attention in this movie, making him a magnetic action hero worth watching and getting giddy over.

Kris Kristofferson provides solid back-up as Whistler, the cynical mentor and gruff sidekick character that functions as Blade's emotional anchor and moral compass. Not that Whistler is a straightforward good guy, of course, as, like Blade, he can be quite ruthless where vampires are concerned. In fact, when Blade brings the bloodied and wounded Karen back to their lair, Whistler asks Blade why she hadn't been killed yet.

Meanwhile, Stephen Dorff is a bit of a mixed bag. He provides the swagger and cockiness that makes Deacon Frost a pretty charming kind of a sadistic and ruthless bastard, but at the same time, Mr Dorff seems to pale in the presence of Mr Snipes when they are sharing the same scene. Deacon Frost never feels threatening - he doesn't seem like a worthy match-up for Blade.

Still, this movie is an explosive edge-of-seat watch for the most part. It skillfully builds up my sense of anticipation as well as the sense of excitement that comes with discovery of the fascinating lore of the vampires in this movie, and there are plenty of chases, fight scenes, and explosive scenes of things getting blown up or destroyed to maintain the adrenaline rush. This is definitely a fun action movie from start to...

Well, maybe not from start to finish, as the final confrontation between Blade and Deacon leads to an unintentionally hilarious climatic finish. Seriously, what the heck is that? A South Park parody?

No matter, though. Blade may have a pay-off that is a little disappointing, but it is bad-ass to the max. So fun to watch, this one is definitely one for the fans of action fantasy flicks.

Rating: 88


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