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A 1998 action film based on Marvel Comics vampire-slaying anti-hero.

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In a War Against Immortals, One Warrior Must Draw First Blood

  • Feb 8, 2009
Rating:
+4

Before (almost as long as I can remember) DC comics had the monopoly on comic-inspired blockbuster films. Marvel had some movie adaptations but none of them took its source material quite seriously. Examples were Roger Corman's unreleased "Fantastic Four", "The Punisher", "Captain America" among other abysmal adaptations--Well, all these were before "BLADE". The film is directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David Goyer and based on the character created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, Blade made his debut in "Tomb of Dracula" and is currently still a strong character in Marvel comics to this day. What makes the Blade character interesting and compelling? Blade has all the strengths of a vampire--enhanced strength, reflexes and speed; but none of their weaknesses. He is resistant to sunlight, garlic and silver. This "Daywalker" also has a lot of humanity, and makes him a very interesting anti-hero.

Blade (Wesley Snipes) is half human and half vampire--a tortured soul who has honed his skills under the tutelage of Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), his mentor, guardian and fellow hunter of the night. There is unrest among the vampire nation and a visionary vampire leader named Deacon Frost (Deacon Frost) declares war on the human race and the elders of the vampire nation. Blade aided by doctor Karen Jensen (N'Bushe Wright) must now make a stand against Frost's bloodthirsty immortals and prevent him from awakening "La Magra", the blood god. Blade is humanity's last hope for survival.



What do I like most about "Blade" the film? Well, this first film was poised to re-imagine vampire lore. It takes the vampire legend and establishes its own mythos. Vampires are a very organized group (or a nation) that co-exists with humans. They have a truce with politicians and have become a power in their own right in this modern world. These bloodsuckers have journals, religion, politics, finances and even their bible written in blood. There are also commentaries as to how politics of the real world work, human authorities look the other way as long as the vampires keep their peace. The vampire nation also have their own sense of nobility; pure bloods are part of the higher authority while those who aren't are treated like second-class citizens. This is where Deacon Frost comes in….

             Snipes and Dorff

People may say that Stephen Dorff's character may represent someone with a vision--he seeks to elevate his "people" to the top plateau of existence, all the while fulfilling his selfish lust for power. The elders represent the order that is content with co-existence, an idea of which Frost rejects. Of course to make the animosities between Frost and Blade effective, they have to have a link. Frost is in a way his "sire", since he had bitten his mother while he was still in her womb, thereby mutating his genetic make up. The script by David Goyer portrays Blade as a tortured soul and I was quite impressed that director Norrington manages to bring forth certain human aspects such as self-loathing, depression and the frustration of not belonging to either side. The vampires are also an odd lot and have their own share of human flaws; conceit, pride and greed threaten to upset its balance. Human vanity can ruin most nations after all.

While the script was very good, I rather wondered as to why and how Frost's group seemed more powerful that the "pure bloods". I had presume that being pure bloods that they may have superiority but this idea wasn't really established. But since Frost needed the 12 spirits of the elders to awaken La Magra, then their life force must've been more potent than one of Frost's kind. The number twelve may hold some significance to point out a parallel to scripture's "twelve Apostles". A rather good attention to detail in my opinion.

             scene

                                     Snipes and Wright

The direction and cinematography of the film is very good. The shots display the hidden world of the vampires as something modern but ancient. The city is dark, dank and have that ominous atmosphere. The direction is also kept at an even pace and the action sequences are nicely distributed throughout the film. The set designs are also very cool and fresh, it complements the film's mood--a nice blend of science fiction and the supernatural.

The fights are excellently choreographed as Blade utilizes a wild blend of Asian and Brazilian martial arts. The fights are hyper-kinetic and definitely looks very fresh. The fights does have a lot of visceral punch and has a fair amount of blood and gore. Wesley Snipes was rightfully cast as our vampire hunter and it was fairly obvious that he was picked for his physical attributes as well as his athletic prowess and not so much for acting abilities. Kris Kristofferson presents a good supporting character and serves as his conscience. I rather enjoyed Abraham Whistler's personality.

As much as I've enjoyed this film, it does have its flaws (I thought it could have done with a better soundtrack). Some may say that it diverted too much from the usual vampire lore we are used to, but I thought it was quite clever to do so. Using "sunblock" to avoid ultra-violet rays is a stroke of creativity you have to admit. The Blade character in comics was already intriguing by himself, and this film further enhances his background. Blade had inspired other forms of media, such as video games (Bloodrayne) and other films such as "Underworld" and maybe even Stephen Sommers‘ "Van Helsing". Blade had made its mark and I consider it one of the best comic book inspired films along with its sequel "Blade 2: Bloodlust". The film is just an effective blend of sci-fi elements, mysticism, martial arts action and the supernatural.

"There are WORST things in the night…" such an iconic tagline that even found its way to the actual comic series "Night Stalkers".

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]

Movie poster scene Snipes and Snipes and Wright Snipes and Dorff scene

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October 18, 2010
Yes indeed Sir this was a really fun one, I actually enjoyed all the Blade films and even the series.
October 19, 2010
what I also liked about the movie is that it improved the casual comic fans' view of Blade.
 
April 14, 2009
It's odd, but I don't think I've ever heard of Blade II as being subtitled Bloodlust. Was that for a foreign release?
April 15, 2009
I know what you mean, when it first was promoted it had the title "BloodLust". I do think that the title stuck in Europe but it was changed after the similarities to vampire hunter D Bloodlust.
April 16, 2009
Did not know that, which considering my love of vampire films is rather astonishing.
July 05, 2010
well, you aren't perfect but maybe close to it. :)
July 06, 2010
Eh, perfection is a myth.
 
February 23, 2009
I too enjoyed this film and I appreciate the analysis you have provided. The co-existance angle was very intriguing as was the vampire discrimination. Deeper than the usual monster film. Thanks
 
February 09, 2009
Both the sunblock and the sunglasses go back at LEAST as far as the Bruce Campbell flick I reviewed SUNDOWN--THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT (1990), and probably further back than that. They also wore big floppy hats and gloves. I have to say that I preferred the first film to Del Toro's as well, which is sort of sad. I would expect better from him.
November 10, 2009
As would I, but from what I've seen, despite the fact that Guillermo's a brilliant film maker, his understanding of the tones of comic books is flawed. He makes them out to be nothing more than pulpy action stories with a little romance thrown in (most noticeably in the "Hellboy' films).
November 10, 2009
I loved both the HELLBOY flix, but then I've only read one issue of the comic co I'm simply judging it as a film.
 
February 09, 2009
I do love this film. I was one of the few who preferred it to Guillermo del Toro's sequel. One of my few complaints about this film was as Trashie pointed out, the scene where Frost uses sunblock to walk in broad daylight. He wasn't wearing glasses and the sunlight was reflected in his eyes, so why the hell didn't his eyes burn up? Really, it's the only failure of the film, at least as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the sweet review, Woopak.
 
February 08, 2009
T-man, I wasn't quite sure but I thought I saw the sunblock use of vampires in this film first--maybe I just missed a movie or forgotten. I agree, I do somewhat prefer Blade 2 over this on some aspects. This film was effective in changing the Blade persona...
 
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More Blade reviews
Quick Tip by . April 15, 2011
Teaser poster
Other than Tim Burton's original Batman and Alex Proyas' The Crow, Blade was one of the first really dark, really serious attempts at taking a comic book character and putting him on screen in an adaptation intended for adults. Directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, who has subsequently been involved in all three Blade films and numerous other comic book adaptations, the film is highly stylized and quite engaging despite some flaws in the internal logic and some sloppy …
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Awesome butt kicking Vampire action movie back when Vampires were kinda cool.
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
as far as action movies go this one does not fail to deliver...as far as vampire movies go...its really not that great.
review by . May 17, 2009
Blade is the first film of the Blade franchise. Loosley based upon a character that appeared in Tomb of Dracula. Blade (Wesley Snipes) is the son of a vampire. Half human and half vampire, he's what you would call a day walker. But he needs to feed on blood in order to survive. The movie follows Blade as he prepares to wage war on the vampires. Within the vampire organized society, there's a struggle for power. Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) wants to become the new leader. Dragonetti (Udo Kier) doesn't …
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2009
Blade really kicked off Marvel's film adaptations. Blade tells the story of a half-human half-vampire warrior who must fight the vampires!!!
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About this movie

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The first film of the Blade series.

Blade is a 1998 vampire action film starring Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff, loosely based on the Marvel Comics character Blade. The film was directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer. Snipes plays Blade, a half-human and half-vampire who protects humans against vampires. Blade grossed $70 million at the U.S. box office, and $131.2 million worldwide. Two sequels, Blade II and Blade: Trinity, were subsequently produced.

Based upon a character from the Tomb of Dracula comic book series.
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Details

Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: August 21, 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: David S. Goyer
DVD Release Date: 2001
Runtime: 121 minutes
Studio: New Line Cinema
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