Blade (1998), Cert 18.

Director - Stephen Norrington.

Writer - David S. Goyer.

Starring - Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson & N'Bushe Wright.


Premise - Based on the Marvel comic book, Blade is the story of Eric Brooks a.k.a Blade (Wesley Snipes), the daywalker. Blades mother was attacked by a vampire whilst she was pregnant. She died, but Eric survived and inherited the best of both human and Vampire. He has the strength and heightened sense of the vampire, but can walk around in the daylight like a human.

When Blade uncovers Deacon Frost's (Stephen Dorff) plot to raise an ancient Vampire God, only Blade, his weapon creating assistant Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and a blood doctor (N'Bushe Wright) can stop the evil plan.

Blade is one hell of a stylish film. Director Norrington's music video roots are plain to see as the action scenes are filmed with flair and the special effects (both CGI and practical) are melded (almost, more later) seamlessly into the live action. The pace is frenetic, leaving little breathing room for the viewer as Norrington drags you through action scene after action scene.

It's an impressive piece of work from a man who made the little seen 'Death Machine' (check it out for some top cheesy sci-fi action) and has done little since Blade. Although he does have the Sean Connery film 'The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman' coming out next year.

I'm a fan of vampire movies, but Blade turns the vampire movie on it's head. Blade doesn't rely on the tried and tested crosses and holy water (were told these are useless), instead he employs the various toys that Whistler dreams up for him. His acid edged, silver samurai sword, a UV spot lamp, a razor sharp boomerang, garlic dipped bullets, silver stakes and even cheese wire!

Definitely not for the squeamish, Blade doesn't skimp on the claret. Heads and limbs are lopped of with wanton abandon. Blade is a comic book film that is not afraid to depict it's world in all it's gory glory. It certainly makes a refreshing change to see a studio make a comic book film and not make it into a kids movie.

Before Blade came along Wesley Snipes was in real need of a hit at the box office. US Marshalls and Passenger 57 were both sub-par movies, so it was lucky for Snipes that Blade was something of a hit and probably kick-started the comic book movie revival we're currently seeing. Snipes is just damn cool in Blade. Clad entirely in black he moves gracefully and dispose of vamps with flair and a snappy one-liner. The fight scenes are something special and Snipes (whom is a consummate martial artist) garners a co-choreographer credit for the movie.

Stephen Dorff is an actor I would love to see more of. When I do see his work I am usually impressed. I recall a film he made called S.F.W. I remember loving that movie. He is excellent here as the main evil vamp, Deacon Frost. Impressively he has quite an imposing presence despite his size. Dorff seems to say more with his silence and a look rather than with words. His stare could burn right through you.

Blade starts with a bang, with a deliciously over the top action sequence in a vampire nightclub. Norrington sows the seeds of the movie right from the get go with this ultra stylish sequence. Blood pours from sprinklers in the roof and Blade enters and kicks some ass. (interesting side note, the 'solid' look of the blood in this sequence was achieved by matching the speed of the strobe light to the shutter speed of the camera. God bless DVD commentaries.) The scene is certainly a high point and unfortunately the film struggles to top it for the remainder of the running time.

The script is also of some concern. Some clunky dialogue is thrown out and only the quality of the actors stops some bad lines from becoming laughable. The quality of the special effects varies wildly. Some of the CGI is excellent (a completely CGI subway train is of special note), but some of it is downright terrible. In particular some of the blood effects in the final moments of the film. This is due to the ending being rewritten at a late stage and little time being available for effects.

Overall however Blade is a good film, that has some problems. Very stylish, with some good performances, but let down slightly by a clunky script and some questionable CGI.


7/10 for Blade.

Poster Quote - A film with bite!