August 10, 2011

Blade (1998)

"A half-vampire, half-mortal man becomes a protector of the mortal race, while slaying evil vampires."

Anyone in the mood for vampires? I'm always in the mood for a good vampire movie although they seem to be harder to find nowadays. In 1998, "Blade" was certainly one of the most exciting vampire movies to date.

I am, of course, completely biased when it comes to "Blade" in that not only does it contain two of my favourite actors, Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff, but it's also based on a Marvel comicbook hero who originally had an English accent. I don't really care that the movie version of Blade is all Americanised as, in fairness, it was an American comic anyway and I don't really miss the original "Tomb of Dracula" incarnation at all.

Although some people would argue that "Blade" is more of a superhero/action film than horror, there are times when you just have to make allowances in the genre for something this good. It's a pity that the same couldn't be said for the sequels or the TV series but even they are entertaining in their own way.

"Blade" is just awesome in every way. It was an entirely original concept to have a black half-vampire fighting other vampires and to cast a really surly Wesley Snipes against a grown up Stephen Dorff from "The Gate" (1982) was pure genius.

In fact, for me, it's hard to decide who I like better in this film. While I can immediately discount Kris Kristofferson who seems wrong for the part of Whistler (and should also have an English accent according to the comics), everybody involved gives a way above par performance. I think Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost stands out a little bit more than Wesley Snipes due to being so deliciously evil but the laconic Blade's lines are the most memorable.

A couple of scenes which I relish more than the others are the torture of Pearl (Eric Edwards) and, of course, any involving Blade's mother, Vanessa. I liked Sanaa Lathan just as much later as Michelle in "Nip/Tuck" and, even though it's never going to happen now, I think she would have been the perfect "Catwoman" instead of Halle Berry.

Of course, it's the action scenes which most people remember from "Blade" even though Wesley Snipes used a double for a lot of them and, if you scrutinise it too closely, the CGI looks a little bit dated now. At the time, all the vampire death effects were groundbreaking and the body count is still one of the highest in any horror movie.

Am I going to recommend "Blade"? As one of my favourite vampire movies of all time which still gives me an adrenaline rush every time I watch it, of course I am.

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