"Blade" Movie Review

One of my many sources informed me that this was a kick-ass movie, and my sources never lie. Well, okay, SOMETIMES they lie, but this source was pretty darned convincing, believe me.

You know what?

He was right!

When I saw the ads for this movie during its short run in the theaters, I thought it looked pretty damned stupid.

I was wrong.

Well, okay, the movie itself WAS stupid. It was awful. During the entire second act, absolutely nothing happens. You can tell this, because there's no cool industrial rave music. Hint: Take a little nap while Blade starts explaining his backstory, then wake up when the music starts playing. All the COOL scenes have the music. Trust me.

Blade is a human/vampire hybrid who goes around killing vampires out of spite. He hates the vampire part of himself. Now he seeks to become mortal again; to repay society for his sins... oh, wait, sorry -- wrong vampire show filmed in Toronto.

(Which brings me to another quibble: that secret underground Egyptian chamber at the end? Was that supposed to be in Toronto? Hey, Natalie, maybe that's NOT the subway you've been hearing at that crappy theater on Bloor! Maybe it's vampires! Doing weird, vampiric things in the middle of the night!)

The first third of the movie is just fantastic. We open in a vampire nightclub, where the vampires dance beneath the blood sprinklers to the delightful sounds of club music. Then Blade shows up, and thoroughly kicks vampire ass, while magically remaining unbesmirched by blood -- even though it's all over the place! How does he DO that? Is he any relation to -- sorry, off-topic again.

It's the fight scenes that really distinguish this movie from the many others crowding the New Release shelves. I've only seen a few Wesley Snipes movies, but I can confidently say that the combat sequences in "Blade" outrun those of "U.S. Marshals"* by miles. Except I'm going to have to deduct 5 points for the vampire death effects -- it looks like they're being beamed aboard the Enterprise, fer chrissakes!

15 whopping points deducted for the silver. You don't kill vampires with silver. You kill werewolves with silver. We all know this, and yet they continue to emphasize this point. One more time, just so we've all got it straight: YOU KILL WEREWOLVES WITH SILVER. NOT VAMPIRES.***

What always cracks me up about vampire movies is that each and every one feels the need to run down the checklist of vampiric susceptibilities and tell you which ones are TRUE and which ones are just FICTION. Here, for your reference, is a handy list for you to print out and keep near the television:

  • Reflection in a mirror.
  • Garlic.
  • Stakes.
  • Crosses.
  • Household objects held up like crosses (fingers, spatulas, e.g.)
  • Holy water.
  • Daylight.
  • Only the UV component of daylight (a recent variation).

"Blade" doesn't go into mirrors, but the rest of the list goes as follows: check, check, no, no, no, no, check, check. Whereas the list for my FAVORITE vampire movie, "The Lost Boys"** reads: no, check, check, check, no, check, check, check. Why does every vampire movie (and book) feel the need to do this? It's one of the many mysteries of life, I guess.

The vampires of course get all the wicked tech. It's an unspoken staple of the vampire genre that they're all just unspeakably rich, no doubt due to all those long-term investments they make. Let me state, for the record, that this is a dubious assertion at best. They're immortal, not psychic.

For example, were I to be made a vampire (and I wouldn't mind that, not in the least) I promise you that, be it 1998 or 2098, I'd still be living in a crappy studio apartment, standing in line at the bank to get cash because they took away my ATM card and no one will accept my checks because I'm a very bad person (credit-check wise). Of course, in 2028 I'd probably be standing in line at the space bank on the space station, wishing someone would take my space checks, or at the very least approve me for a space credit card.

Stephen Dorff (a man whose name I'm constantly mixing up with that of Brad Dourif) plays the wonderfully pouty, disheveled vampire with a bad attitude. I thought Stephen was pretty cool in this movie, although I guess it just goes to show you that just 'cause you're immortal, it doesn't mean you won't get a bad haircut every once in a while. Note to Stephen: trim the bangs.

Kris Kristofferson does pretty well, too, for a washed-up gnarly old country singer.

10 points for Blade's aerosol can of pink foamy explosive material. I gotta get me some of that!

5 points for the best dialogue:

The Girl: "You used me as BAIT?"

Blade: "Get over it."

The balance of the points to be officially awarded to Wesley Snipes as Blade, the coolest man in the universe. You'll have to trust me on this one, because his coolness defies description. Just believe me when I tell you, he rocks!

Final score: 84

*I have a terrible crush on Tommy Lee Jones, but "U.S. Marshals" was just the worst. It's funny to watch Robert Downey Jr. though -- check it out! No facial expression whatsoever! You know they actually let Downey out of prison to finish some of the post-production filming? Just look at the guy -- he bumbles through the entire movie with this sort of fuzzy, bemused look on his face. Sometimes something really tremendous occurs; his reaction in these cases is to widen his eyes just a little tiny bit more. It's really funny! Poor Tommy.

** Favorite scene (repeated here in abbreviated form):

Keifer Sutherland: "It's rice, Michael. No, it's maggots! No, seriously, it's rice. Eat it. Ha ha, maggots! Just kidding, it's rice. Gotcha!"

*** Unless, as one of my other sources points out, it's silver from melted crosses. That would probably work. But "Blade" uses the secularized version of the vampire (holy water isn't even mentioned) and as far as I'm concerned, if you insist on stripping away all the Catholic imagery, all you've got is your run-of-the-mill Jeffrey Dahmer psycho.

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