Blade (1998) – Stephen Norrington

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The 101 Action Movies and Marvel bring us this entry on the list. David S. Goyer pens this adaptation of the Marvel legend, and Wesley Snipes brings him to life.

Blade is half-human, half-vampire, and he and is his assistant, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) hunt down the vampires who are preying off the unsuspecting public, and find themselves racing head on to a battle with Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who is intent on bringing the vampiric god La Magra forth to rule the planet.

While I prefer the sequel directed by Guillermo del Toro, this film creates a fantastic world, populated with frightening and heroic characters, and I love when some Marvel properties are given the Rated-R treatment. If they had gone for a gentler rating, this film just wouldn’t work. The language, violence and gore are undeniably essential to the character’s translation to the screen.

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We learn that there is a hierarchy amongst the vampires, there are the pure bloods, those who are born vampires, and then there are those who are turned. Frost has been turned, and seems to be out to take down the class structure completely, while also looking for away (through La Magra’s resurrection) to exist in daylight like his nemesis Blade, known as the Daywalker.

Blade, isn’t perfect however, he still suffers from the need to feed, so he has been taking a serum to help stave it off, when a hematologist, Karen (N’Bushe Wright) is bitten by a crispy Quinn (the so cool Donal Logue), Frost’s right hand man, Blade discovers a new ally, as she works to cure herself, and hopefully him as well.

The opening sequence features a fantastic rave scene, as well as an appearance from Traci Lords, and sets the stage for the level of violence and blood we can expect from the film, especially when we learn the name of the rave…

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Snipes is in fine form here, as the hero of few words, but major action, as he is a trained martial artist, a lot of his own skills are on display as Blade fights with fists and sword to exterminate the vampiric menace.

Dorff in my opinion is one of those under-used actors who should be in more, and he’s wonderfully menacing as Frost in this film, the scene where he confronts Blade while holding a small child hostage is my favorite exchange between the two leads.

Donal Logue provides some brilliant comic relief, and much like Dorff, he is one of those actors who should be featured more, he’s one of my fave actors tom come across in surprise when I watch a movie, and his series, Terriers, was fantastic!

Yes, some of the CG work is a little iffy, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Blade is an awesome hero, and it’s a bloody, fun, and bloody fun movie.

As mentioned the second film is my favorite. The third one is ok, simply because of the fun time that Ryan Reynolds seems to be having.

What Marvel property would you like to see on the big screen?

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