Cast: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Traci Lords
Half man, half Vampire, Blade is born with the strength, power, and thirst for blood of the vampire, but able to withstand sunlight. His goal? To rid the world of every last blood sucking hell fiend! Standing in his way is Deacon Frost, who is trying to raise the blood god, La Magra, to rule over the human race. Half breed Blade himself, is the key.
Blade must stop Frost and his vampire cohorts, and save humanity from becoming mere cattle.
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Passenger 57 (on the Money Train), and friend of the taxman, Wesley Snipes, elbowed himself a place on the action star round-table, when he spin-kicked the face of the public as vampire hunter Blade. Having previously headlined a few low budget action features, which found most notice in urban markets, Wesley hit a wider audience with this enjoyable comic book adaptation. Like Under Siege for Seagal, or Timecop for Van Damme, this was the “big” film for Snipes. Of course Wesley started his career predominantly in more dramatic material and often in supporting roles. He showed much promise as an actor too in films like Jungle Fever, New Jack City and White Men Can’t Jump. But with the rippling 6 pack, and a 5th degree black belt in Karate, and the ability to deliver the thousand yard stare, he always had the makings of an action hero.
At the time of Blades releasing, the action genre was crawling along the ground with a few bullets in the back, about to give up and die. Sly and Arnie were struggling. Seagal and Jean Claude were petering out into straight to video oblivion, while Dolph Lundgren had already hung his coat in that particular foyer and grabbed himself a front row seat for “Craptacular: Video rules!” Everything seemed tired, cumbersome, and an injection of energy was needed. In walked a leather-clad Wesley Snipes loaded with silver bullets, and quick-fire, down and dirty, street style martial arts. Suddenly the action genre was perking up, before getting kicked back into life a year on by The Matrix.
Though it has its faults, Blade is a cool film. It’s got plenty of dazzling fight scenes, while Snipes oozes attitude and menace. The film also looks great. Stephen Norrington mixes the fast paced ass-kickery, with some muted visuals, and an atmospheric cold look to the many night shot scenes. The films opening is right up there with many of the best action films. It’s an opening that is utterly brilliant, and completely badass. As a result, the film sometimes struggles to live up to it, but still, there’s enough quality to ensure this remains a top action pick, worth repeat viewings. The films intro to Blade is stamped with Terminator-esque, unstoppable power. Featuring a cameo by former ball-juggling cream queen, Traci Lords, it introduces Blades array of moves, weapons and gadgets to the world. It also introduces us to his penchant for wearing shades in dark places!
Opening aside, the film has plenty of stylish action to enjoy. Snipes is a revelation. We’d seen glimpses of his martial arts prowess in previous films. Often he had to slow it down in order to get the moves captured on camera. That was the case in Demolition Man. It’s fast, efficient, brutal, and different to what we’d seen on camera really. In addition there’s gunplay and sword play, allowing plenty of moments for Wesley to look unstoppably cool with a flick of the sword here, and there, or slicing off a vamps head with a wire and reclaiming a pair of his stolen shades.