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E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Some movies you can wait for. Wait until they get to the Cheap Seat theaters, wait until they get to video; I wouldn't recommend it for BLADE*. So that you understand me, I think Vampire stories STINK! Not because they are bad stories individually, I've read many good ones, it's just the genre has been done to death and back again. The sewers are overflowing with vampire stories, most of which read more like dark romance novels than anything bordering on true horror. If you feel like I do, put those fears aside for BLADE. It is really that good.
Based on the Marvel comic book character, which was never a "Hot" title to begin with, a movie like BLADE requires a fair amount of exposition. This is handled adequately by the introduction of a hemotologist named Karen (N'Bushe Wright: FRESH, DEAD PRESIDENTS) who goes from being a victim to a key player in the movie. Something I appreciated since it is a real drag to watch a movie where the damsel in distress IS ALWAYS IN DISTRESS!
Kris Kristofferson (LONE STAR) aids in explaining the storyline to the audience while he portrays Whistler, the Alfred to Blade's Batman. He's a grizzled old biker borderline redneck and more than a few times I wondered why such a character took a liking to Blade instead of just killing him. Blade is the kind of creature that Whistler kills And There Is A Lot Of Killing!
The movie starts out with Tracy Lords (NOT OF THIS EARTH, SHOCK 'EM DEAD, RAW NERVE, Stephen King's THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, SKINNER) as a Seductress: typecasting yes, but still a damn good start! The next thing you know, Blade is slicing hoardes of the undead into exploding charcoal bricks.
The Special Effects are stunning and almost always work with the picture. Unlike 1997's SPAWN, the SFX are never allowed to drown the movie until you think you are suffering from vertigo.
Wesley Snipes (THE FAN), in the role of Blade (he also co-produced) handles his comic book character better than any actor I've ever seen: who've tried to tackle the role of a super hero. He is savvy enough not to take his part too seriously, yet at the same time never allows himself to go too camp or over the top to shatter your suspension of disbelief. Blade has a magic sword (BLADE, get it?) and he is out to slaughter every last vampire as gruesomely as possible.
Not an easy feat since, in this movie, vampires are running a global conspiracy a la X-Files. These Vampires come from old families where bloodsuckers are Born, not Made.
Aye, and there's the rub!
Actor Stephen Dorff (CECIL B. DEMENTED) plays Stephen Dorff as a vampire named Deacon. Not since LOST BOYS have we seen such a group of undead smart-asses. Seems the young ones were made into - not born as - vampires and are looked down upon by the upper caste born who are led by the delicate and elegant Dragonetti (Udo Kier: SUSPIRIA, END OF DAYS, MEGIDDO: The Omega Code 2). Bigotry in the ranks!
This, of course means war, and that means more exploding bodies!
I nearly cried for joy during this film!
But wait! Is it possible that such a subgenre would get a...
!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!! -
Continued at Science Moment/Blade.
I've said enough to whet your appetite concerning plot. The action here is as fast and well choreographed as the best Jackie Chan movies and Director Stephen Norrington (DEATH MACHINE) keeps the tension from ever ebbing. Even when heads aren't exploding (and my God such wonderful head explosions!), even in the quiet moments, there's the constant awareness that things are Just About to Erupt.
Many interesting ideas are thrown out here, and screenwriter David S. Goyer (DEMONIC TOYS, THE PUPPET MASTERS, DARK CITY, BLADE II) wisely avoided explaining every damn one in the picture (the writers of SPAWN and JUDGE DREDD should have been so canny), leaving room for Snipes to flex and grow in what will hopefully be a series. It's good to see Goyer growing as a writer. DARK CITY and BLADE are far and away his best movies yet. The film has many cool surprises that I refuse to ruin here.
There are also a few gaffs in this fine film, so set apart from the otherwise smooth story telling that they nearly jerk the film to a sudden halt. The climactic ending was also not as grandoise as the movie was leading up to, as the cgi betrayed it.
These nits aren't major enough to keep BLADE from earning 3 Shriek Girls
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