Blade (1998): Breakdown by Kain424
Half vampire/half human vampire hunter kills vampires. Really, that’s about it.
Before the X-Men movies jumpstarted the comic book movie decade, there were only a few good comic book movies. The Punisher, The Crow, arguably the first two Batman films, and Blade (for why Superman sucks, go here). While The Punisher never saw a U.S. release and thus had little success, Blade was able to make a splash with its wide release.
Blade is a dark film with loads of bad-assery. Its title character is an unflinching killing machine, played with a subdued fury by Wesley Snipes. His look is clearly an influence on later films, like the following year’s The Matrix, and Blade even boasts the use of what would later be dubbed “bullet time”. Director Stephen Norrington allows wacky visuals to punctuate what would otherwise be just silly, making rapping Japanese schoolgirls creepy and a romantic sunset scene as dark as the execution that precedes it. And when you see two people lovingly holding hands as another man explodes in front of them, you know you’re watching a classic.
The movie also features fun performances by Udo Kier, Donal Logue and Stephen Dorff, defying logic and actually making the latter into a sort of bad-ass. Kris Kristofferson’s side-character, Whistler, nearly steals the show, but ultimately gives the movie its heart, something that seems as unexpected as Wesley Snipes giving a reserved performance in an Action film.
Other than it’s interesting casting choices, what Blade really has going for it is it’s violence. Seemingly with no regard for whatever rating they land on, the movie shows vampires in all their gory glory. So in addition to gunfights, sword fights, martial arts battles and car chases, we also get blood-sucking and impalings. The movie flinches less than it’s main character, maintaining a serious tone throughout, giving the protagonist an opportunity to actually be bad-ass instead of just saying he is.
The score is effective here, though the techno now seems a bit dated. A classic New Order song remixed into a techno rave tune heads the film into that territory, but the Carpenter-like themes playing under the serious moments do wonders for the rest.
All that said, the film boasts its share of problems with being obviously dated to the 90s, having a weak female protagonist, and some shoddy CGI effects. Still, the movie remains vastly entertaining, with Snipes acting as the solid center to an Action flick that successfully mixes in horror to make excellence.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Wesley Snipes is Blade is Eric Brooks
Snipes pulls off the character seemingly without effort. He is astute and awesome, mixing a warrior’s cunning with super-strength and sweet-ass martial arts skills. Blade is a ferocious bad-ass who fights without pity and without fear. He’s a bad-ass that doesn’t let it get to his head, and in his fight scenes you can almost feel him holding back. He’s a bad-ass that could really ruin your day, but he’s just going to hit you a couple times.
…Unless you’re a vampire. Then you’re dead. Again.
-Drives a modded 1968 Dodge Charger
-Dresses in awesome black body armor and leather trench coat
-Carries a booby-trapped samurai sword, lined with acid
-Carries guns that kill vampires and can fire silver stakes
-Carries lots of said silver stakes
-Carries silver ‘Glave-like’ boomerang thing also great for killing the undead
-Can kick your ass without any of these things
[THE BODY COUNT: 111]
Even aside from the killing, Blade is a violent film. The R rating allows for extended brutal fight sequences, bloody, gory violence, and general creepiness. And within, we have gunshot, disintegration, stabbing, slicing, impaling, tearing out throats, beating, neck breaking, burning, and exploding. All, of course, are fatal. Snipes kills 65 vampire scum all by himself, with Kristoferson and Dorff rounding out much of the rest.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
While I admit that the CGI looks a bit poor anymore, I still think the final death of the film is pretty cool. Bullet-time and all, Frost’s demise from the sword-fight to the final, ugly explosion, is pretty cool.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Blade doesn’t seem too interested in women, but his relationship with Whistler seems more like a father-son type. I’m not sure where to go with this one. I guess you could go into the character’s obsession with leather outfits, but it all feels like a bit of a stretch.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Like a lot of the films from the 1990s, Blade tries very hard to make its female characters tough and convincing. N’Bush Wright (no idea how to pronounce that) is snarky and apparently very intelligent. We know this because she’s a doctor. She’s given dialogue that let’s us know she doesn’t take shit, but that’s about as far as that goes.
Aside from her, we have a couple occasions where female vampires act like prey or are exceptionally deceptive, hinting that women are not to be trusted. But since the male vampires are just as bad, if not worse, I can’t really put to much STAKE in this one. Get it? I said… ok, fine.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
My favorite moment of the film is the introduction of Blade’s character. He just shows up at a rave where blood has been pouring from the ceiling and doesn’t have a drop on him. He then proceeds to take on anything and anyone in the packed room that comes near him. Blade’s a fucking bad-ass like that.
Blade: There are worse things out tonight than vampires.
Karen: Like what?
Blade: Like me.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill. I’m not sure what that has to do with vampires, but Wesley Snipes said so.
[THE CHECKLIST: 17 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Blade II]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
“Catch you fuckers at a bad time?”
Blade (1998) © New Line Cinema