Release: 1998, Miramax
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright
Director: Stephen Norrington
MPAA Rating: [R] violence, language, sexuality, nudity
A half-human, half-vampire hybrid, Blade (Snipes) is on a mission to destroy an underground civilization of bloodsuckers. Leading the legions of the undead is the vampire Deacon Frost (Dorff), who is trying to take over the world by unleashing a Blood God upon mankind.
If you like both vampire movies and action movies, then Blade is the ultimate in what you're looking for. From the first battle sequence, Blade is packed full of violence and excellently choreographed martial arts type action. (Snipes is actually trained in a martial art, but I can't remember which one.) The special effects are interesting, and the manner in which the vampires die (instantly shattering into a cloud of computer generated black dust) keep with the fast pace and techno atmosphere of the movie. Also interesting is the way in which vampire mythology is mixed with modern technology to give some degree of scientific credibility to the supernatural (e.g. treating a vampire's aversion to garlic as an allergy instead of magic, and using an anti-coagulant to wreak havoc on a vampire's circulatory system). Some nice twists...
While the horror element is rather light, one scene in the beginning is pretty freaky: a hapless human gets invited to a vampire nightclub, and suddenly, the fire sprinklers start spraying blood and everyone around him transforms. Similar to the club scene in An American Werewolf in Paris, and something that will make you think twice about going to strange raves.
The action in Blade is fast paced and loud. Decked out in shades and a black trenchcoat, Wesley Snipes is a total badass who kicks butt Bruce Lee style: taking on like twenty guys at once without breaking a sweat.
Except for the name, Stephen Dorff's Deacon Frost fell rather flat for me. While I've read several reviews that say he's the only worthwhile element in a trash movie, I just don't see it. Sure, the movie wanted a young punk vampire to head up the bad guys, but his presence doesn't even come close to the menacing fiend Kiefer Sutherland portrayed in his comparable role in The Lost Boys. Frost turns out to be too CK1 and Tommy Hilfiger to really be scary, or even a threat. And his sidekicks are more comic relief than dangerous henchmen.
Blade's loneliness and isolation (being neither fully vampire nor fully human) is touched upon, but never really felt.
The number of special effects in the middle of the film wane, as if the film's budget couldn't sustain its flash throughout every scene. It stands out because the opening and closing scenes are so swamped with effects.
Audience members with no interest in action or vampires will find the movie to be like a video game, complete with glorified amounts of carnage and a flimsy story. But for what it is, Blade simply rocks...