Long before the surge of Marvel and DC comic adaptions began to dominate modern mainstream cinemas came Blade. It was one of the first comic adaptions that fell under the New Line Cinema banner of taking risks with new directors. The original came to us under the helm of Stephen Norrington (The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen) 1998. It starred Wesley Snipes in the titular role and was written by The Dark Knight co-writer David S Goyer. After the breakout hit that BLADE was along came BLADE II in 2002 with then new hot director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) and original screenwriter David S Goyer who spun the whole franchise in a new direction and secured the series a third entry. BLADE: TRINITY hit theaters in 2004 with Goyer assuming writing and directing duties.
Telling the tale of a man whose mother was attacked by a vampire just before he was born and thus making him half human half vampire. Blade possesses all of a vampires strengths and none of their weaknesses – and his major asset – he can walk in daylight and thus is given the name ‘Daywalker’.
A hyper kinetic action horror flick that is as every bit entertaining today as it was when it released in 1998 – with the ultra stylistic kitsch of a rock video plus the dominating physical presence of Snipes – BLADE gives the origin story a cheekily anarchic approach. Sourcing its screenplay from the comics, it pits Blade and his right hand man Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) against his arch nemesis Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) whom in the film is more of a rock star than the more controlled, malicious enemy from the print version. Its a thumping, bloody and thrilling ride for fans of this genre and sets vampires up like an underground sophisticated cartel who will meet their explosive ends at the hands of BLADE.
My favourite in the series as it takes the concept and drives a dark, duplicitous knife through it. Del Toro had come out while the film was being made and said that he wanted to make the vampires the monsters that they really are – and he achieves it in spades. Away from the U.S. setting and based in Prague, this tale tells of a virulent strain known as Reapers, whose thirst for vampire blood threatens the vampire nation. Showing off one of the very first full body digital compositing visual effects usages – BLADE II is a darker, bloodier and bolder affair laced with black humour and is more stylistic in the choreography and cinematography than any of the entries. The vampire duplicity in this one is really intelligent for what is essentially a hack n slash and it adds a real dimension to the world of Blade. This is a real achievement for a sequel and is worth it just to watch Wesley Snipes strut, pout, poise and ‘dance’ through his fight sequences. http://youtu.be/keUJD3opOLc
Essentially sent up as a handover film to introduce ‘The Nightstalkers’ and let Wesley Snipes stand down – a group of human vampire hunters (Jessica Biel & Ryan Reynolds) – Blade is isolated and hunted by the FBI and the vampire nation. His quest to rid the planet of vampires culminates in a battle with the original big bad vamp – Dracula (well a variation of him). This one is more sardonic and features a wall of comedians and comic actors in Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins and the aforementioned Reynolds (who looks too fit to be real in this). The film sort of works but as a follow one from Blade II this pales in comparison to the others. It’s a great one to look into the production as rumour had it that Snipes and Reynolds did not get along at all – Snipes is renowned for knowing his lines and never deviating from them, Reynolds is an ad libber and it caused friction on the set (this of course is all hearsay) – and there were also reports that whilst on set Snipes never went out of character. Vampire Reaper Dogs? Really? It’s not without merit – it is fun, but it just misses the mark. http://youtu.be/DfibNIHmRt8
Currently airing in the U.S. is the new animated series of BLADE which I’ve been lucky enough to check out – it’s tough, punchy and got all the vampire bashing fun you’d expect from the show – hopefully it will hit here soon as its a cracker!!!! BLADE – putting vampires where they belong – but in the bloodsucking nasty bin and marked for death!