Blade posterBlade (1998)

Starring Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Udo Kier, Donal Logue, and Traci Lords.
Written by David S. Goyer based on the Marvel Comics character by Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan.
Directed by Steve Norrington.

Grade: C-

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

Blade is based on a neat premise (can I use the word "neat" without anyone laughing at me?) and looks fantastic, but it quickly loses steam. Stone-faced Wesley Snipes is Blade, who was born shortly after his mother was bitten by a vampire. The result is that Blade is half human, half vampire, and immune to other vampires. He and partner Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) are now hunters committed to destroying the clandestine vampire nation. But Blade, who must take increasingly large doses of medication to prevent a complete transformation into a vampire, is running out of time.

Hematologist Karen (N'bushe Wright), whom Blade rescues from a vampire, gradually enters his world and offers to help find a cure. Meanwhile, vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) is determined to trigger an ancient prophecy that predicts a cataclysm in which everyone on Earth becomes a vampire. It is not explained what the vampires would then eat should these plans succeed.

Powered by a pulsing techno/industrial soundtrack, Blade is yet another movie that plays like a music video. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of creating a non-stop Armaggedon-like barrage of noise and mayhem, director Stephen Norrington varies the pacing and successfully reproduces the look and feel of a comic book. The action sequences are carefully choreographed for maximum effect. But Norrington goes too far. For example, in one of the opening scenes, gallons and gallons of blood are pumped through the sprinkler system of an underground vampire nightclub. This is only one of many unnecessarily heavy-handed touches. Moreover, Blade is weighed down by a story that starts as a ripoff of Highlander and later just degenerates into gory nonsense. The more Norrington focuses on the prophecy, the weaker the film gets. By the second half, it's dragging despite all the action. Too bad, because there was potential here for some quality mindless entertainment.

Review © March 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
© 1998 New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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