Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blade (1998) DVD (Target multi pack)

This motherfucker never tries to skate uphill.

Rating:  3 out of 5 People Slaughtered in a Vampire Rave

Plot Synopsis:  Blade, the half vampire, hunts full vampires, but not werewolves, that would just be ridiculous.  At some point he has to stop Deacon Frost from unleashing the Vampocalypse.

The Good:

-Good opening, a quick recap of blades origin, time lapse into night time.  We know who our protagonist is, where we are and what time we’ll be spending the movie in.  That being night time.  Also by showing the city changing to show that the city has two faces, the pleasant day time face that we’re all used to and the alternate darker face that comes out at night.

-The rave scene is the perfect opening.  We have our luckless everydude being led by a hot girl into a slaughterhouse which ends up being a rave.  You got the music, the crowd, the setting all shown through the eyes of this everydude.  Then when the music hits its apex you get blood raining down and the reveal of vampires.  It’s an original idea, it’s well paced, it’s well shot and it has a great payoff.

-Blade is one badass looking mother fucker and we get told this by the reaction of all the other vampires.  They have him hopelessly outnumbered but he causes them all to pause and then back up before a small group get’s the balls to attack him.  Then he butchers them all and in doing so shows how the vamps die: they burn into ash.

-I love Blades look, very clean, very simple, very badass with a military feel in the body armor.  Very little color and what’s there is monochromatic.

-I forgot that Wesley Snipes knows how to do kick ass and he’s really good at it.  The action is clean and crisp there aren’t a ton of cuts, it’s well framed and follows the action well.  It’s action that you can feel because you can see it and there aren’t so many cuts that nothing has any impact.

-Donal Louge is a scene stealer as Quinn.  He does as good a job as Wesley Snipes or Stephen Dorff.  It’s almost as if no one told Donal that the movie wasn’t about him so he went about acting as if he were the lead.

-The first 10 minutes of this film are fucking awesome.  Everything you need to know about the character, the world, what populates the world, how vampires work and what the protagonist can do is done in the first 10 action packed minutes.  That’s followed by world and lore building, not as exciting but necessary.

-When he throws his glaive and then runs fast enough to catch it after ashing 3 vampires.  You see him throw it, then a blur as it goes through 3 vamps and then he catches it.  It lets you know what Blade is capable of.

-“Motha Fucka are you out your damn mind!” see that weird Blade moment worked, the fist pump didn't do a whole lot for me.

-I like that we have a black protagonist, a black love interest and a white antagonist.  It isn’t until I watched this that I realized it’s been forever since I’ve seen a movie where the main cast isn’t entirely white.  Especially for a mainstream, big budget action film.


-People smoke in this, another thing that has disappeared that I didn’t notice until now.

-Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost makes a good first impression but I remember him getting kind of over the top as the movie goes.

-They explain how Blade makes his money, he pawns watches and jewelry he recovers from ashed vamps.  It’s a small touch, which I’m a fan of.

-Kris Kristofferson is another highlight as the grizzled Whistler.

-The sound track is pretty good.  A mix of techno and I don’t even know what, they sound like awesome rap samples.

-They are 2 for 2 on awesome vampire club set pieces.  The salary man vampire club is pretty cool as well.  The Asian women singing in a high pitched foreign language with all the men in suits looking on expressionless.  It’s a very different feel from the rave but still interesting and unique.

-The fat vampire Pearl is a good touch.  Don’t know what they’re trying to say about people who sit at their computer all day though.

-Blades “security” feature on his sword.

-Whistler shows up to kick some ass which is good to see.

-The subway scene is pretty good.  You can’t really tell that the train is CG, it’s a pretty subtle effect but they way they handle the action in the claustrophobic atmosphere of an active subway tunnel is good.  It’s a totally different pace and style of fighting that isn’t in the other scenes so it’s a good change of pace.

-Udo Fucking Kier’s death scene is pretty epic.  I won’t ruin for you but it’s pretty much the reason why Udo’s middle name is “Fucking”.

-I like that vampires use sun block to go out during the day.  It makes look even paler than usual but it’s such a simple idea that if you are a vampire and you are vulnerable to the sun why WOULDN’T you use sun block which makes a good modern take on the vampire mythos.

-I like Deacon Frost’s “Human are Cattle” speech and Blades reaction to it.

-Whistlers death scene with Blade is kind of touching in a melodramatic way.  It’s not high cinema but it evokes SOME kind of emotion.

-“We’re the top of the fucking food chain!”

-Deacon and Quinn with Quinn explaining what a badass Blade is.  It looks like a spontaneous moment and is pretty funny.

-The blood exploder weapon.  He just throws a syringe at them and then they get all bumpy before exploding.  It’s early CG so it’s not that convincing or good an effect but still the concept is cool.

-Deacon asking Quinn to hold out his arm and acting like he’s going to cut it off only to say “I’m fucking with you.”

-The weird incestuous vibe from Blades vamp mom.  It’s daring, they tried something daring and that’s something.

-“I’m going to be naughty, I’m going to be a naughty vampire god.”  That quote from Quinn could easily go into another category but the way it’s delivered and who it comes from makes it just work.

-Blades monofilament wire.  I’m a huge fan of monofilament wire.

-The last fight from wasting cannon fodder vamps through the battle with Deacon.

-“Some mother fuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill.”  I don’t know what the shit that means and it’s entirely out of character and out of tone but it’s awesome.

-Blade in the snow.

The Bad:

-That’s a real awkward stance you got there Blade, just in time for the camera push in too.

-All the vampires have a mild case of the puffy lip due to their teeth.

-Hey stop breaking my shit Blade!  Does he HAVE to throw that familiar through the WHOLE apartment?

-Blade keeps losing his shades.  They must have found a better way to keep them on in later installments.

-The effects for the blood exploder weapon.  The CGI hasn’t aged well.

-I don’t like that they made Deacon Frost, essentially, Blade’s daddy.  If they were going to go that route they should have cast an older actor for Deacon Frost.  It just doesn’t work when the guy who is supposed to be your protagonists dad look half the age of your protagonist.  Plus what reason does Blade have to keep killing vampires after he finds his mom and kills the vamp who bit her?

-All Blade had to do was not show up.  That’s it.  Of course it meant letting the doctor die but he’s the only thing making the ritual of the blood god work.  Despite everything else they may have had they NEEDED Blade to finish the ritual so all he had to do was wait out the clock.  I think they mention that they have a finite window.  Even if they didn’t at some point they would have to come after Blade and Blade could just lure them in small battles that he could win.  He just would have sacrificed the doctor.  So I guess it’s a character moment but it’s also kind of stupid.

-Blade’s mom weird incestuous vibe.  It’s daring so I give it credit for that but it’s pretty weird.

-The inappropriately sexual feeding that Blade does on the doctor.  It’s all humpy.

-Have I mentioned that the CGI hasn’t aged well?  The blood god ritual and Deacon Frost: Blood God are especially bad.  They are distracting in how bad they are.

-Why did a stray bone ash Blades Mom?  I thought it was only silver.

-Shoot at the vampire, stop shooting at the pillars.

-Another weird Blade moment when Blade mouths “What the fuck.” after Deacon reveals his poorly CGI’d blood powers.

The Ugly:

-That is one fake ass looking baby

-Blade does a fist pump when he pins Donal to the wall.  Blade has these weird moments and I don’t know if I like them.  They seem to add to the character but they’re so out of place compared to how he acts the rest of the time.

-The rear projected car chase.  It does add to the surreal atmosphere but it looks real obvious.

-The CGI hasn’t aged well.

Final Thoughts:  I forgot how good this movie is.  I don’t remember it being very good, I bought the 4 pack of movies on the off chance I wanted to see them again and because it was $9 for 4 movies and I’m a sucker for that.  But I wasn’t really looking forward to slogging through the trilogy again so imagine my surprise that not only has the first film held up pretty well but that it’s actually way better than what I was expecting.  The only things that drag it down are the CGI and the Weird Blade Moments. 

The WBM’s are hit and miss with me, some of them are funny and add to the moment or to the character some of them are stupid and some of them are distracting from the movie.  I don’t know how to feel about them but I think they were Wesley Snipes way of injecting some life into the otherwise stoic and taciturn protagonist.  Other than those flashes of strange there isn’t a whole lot going on with the character.  He has a pretty minor arc in that he is very much the same character at the end of the movie as he is in the beginning.  He learns some things about himself, he loses one friend and gains another but those are just things that happen to him.  At the end of the movie he’s standing in the snow about to kill another vamp, just like he was at the beginning of the movie.  The doctor love interest has more of a character arc than Blade.  In fact the doctor love interest has probably the ONLY character arc as pretty much every other character is lacking in development in much the same way Blade is.  They were created whole and they pretty much remain the same until they either die or end the movie.  They have goals and personality and hopes and dreams and aspirations but those are character traits and then things happen to them but they don’t really learn or develop.  They just exist.

This movie doesn’t have a lot in character development.  It’s not a particularly deep film either.  What it has are good, competently shot action scenes, a halfway decent plot based on a pretty archaic and previous to this film C list at best comic hero and a pretty good script tying it all together.  You have well written characters, albeit with very little character development, but taken as whole cloth they are good characters.  You take these good characters and put them into an interesting and unique setting and you have them beat the shit out of each other in a series of awesome action scenes.  How is that a bad thing?  The movie tells a good story, it accomplishes its goal of being a great piece of entertaining cinema and that’s all I really wanted from it.

Blade IMDB

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