Movie Review - Blade

Movie Review - Blade, by Dane Crandon

When the nightwalkers take over the streets, pray he's out there…somewhere. The original Mad Max used a similar tag line to successfully market its hi-octane celluloid product and accelerate Mel Gibson from highway rebel-with-a-cause to stardom. The laws of copyright prohibit Blade from adopting any such opening but it could so well have applied.

Humourless, leather clad and revenge-driven, Blade (Wesley Snipes) dons the Mad Max persona and attempts to eliminate as many bad dudes as possible within a two hour abattoir of slashed throats, lost limbs and exploding bodies. As with the bikie gangs who foolishly precipitated the metamorphosis of Max from loving husband and father to a cold-bloodied killer hell-bent on V8 retribution, the fanged nasties don't have a chance in hell against the human-vampire hybrid known and feared as Blade.

Delivered by Caesarean section, his mother expiring from the jugular impression of a vampire, Blade survives hospital food, orphanism and the pretentiousness of body beautiful California. Having visited a gym or two during his rise to adult-hood, a pumped-up Blade undertakes a self-imposed mission to rid society of the evil bloodsuckers. In doing so he slays enough vampires to fill a morgue. Possessing the darkly powers unique to the night brethren, yet able to withstand deadly UV rays and enjoy the taste of garlic, he is unique and able to carry the fight like no one else. Notwithstanding his uniqueness, the inimitable Blade has other means to eradicate the undead.

Armed to the teeth, Terminator style, his Errol Flynn swordplay wielded from biceps the size the loaf of bread and Jean Claude Van Damn reverse-back-kicks complete the offensive package. Yes, he may even be capable of stopping Rambo.

The one-man arsenal leaves the viewer in little doubt of his capabilities; put to the test during the opening scenes. A poor unsuspecting mortal, led by a sexy vampire (Traci Lords) into a dance-club den of bloodsuckers, is about to experience the fanged wrath of the thirsty mob. The arrival of Blade sees the vampires scatter like frightened bats.

Assisting the night avenger in his reanimated corpse cleansing crusade is the once leader of Convoy, Kris "the Rubber Duck" Kristofferson. Leaving his rig at the wreckers, Kristofferson steps out of his trucker attire and into the garments of Whistler; an angst ridden soul with painful limp, lengthy grey hair and even longer memories filled with Vlad hatred. To appease his loathing for those who rise from coffins, Whistler designs and supplies an arsenal of high-tech armoury and weaponry to the natural born killer, Blade.

The obligatory attractive female lead, Karen (N'Bushe Wright), is conveniently into blood. A practising haematologist, she falls victim to the attack of a vampire and is saved from a life of death by our hero. Grateful for the gory intervention, she uses her medical know-how to help clot Blade's slide to a dark place occupied with a legion of already lost souls. A dark place teeming with Jerry Springer fans no doubt.

Like action flicks of the time viz. Cliff-hanger, Die Hard, the villain provides the starch and acting 'umph'. Blade follows suit. Snipes nemesis is the icy cool Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff).

Cold in name and nature, Frost leads a band of rogue vampires - bitten rather than born to the condition - on a quest to raise the granddaddy of all vampires: La Magra. Ignoring the council of vampire elders, with their rigid conservatism and pure blood, Frost embarks on a bloody-minded plan to usher in a new era of vampire dominance; his dominance. Sexy and suave, the malevolent Frost plays the undead with living realism. His megalomaniac appetite matched only with his hunger for life fluid.

All muscles and corpuscles, Blade is fast and furious. Tearing along with deadly speed, it leaves behind a vampire body count that not even a hundred Van Helsing's could hope to match. Never to be a classic of the sub-genre, and yet its gothic overtones and sexy feel interspersed with limb-detaching energy almost left this viewer with a red glow of satisfaction.

Rating: Three bites outta five
Bloody but not brilliant
ÓDane G Crandon




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Dane Crandon