20 January 2004 | bob the moo
Enjoyably stylish flick that gets the dark tone almost right
Blade was only a foetus when his mother was attacked by vampires and left for dead. When he is born he is born a half-breed. As an adult he has been joined by Abraham Whistler, a vampire hunter, to fight the secret war against the vampire culture. He hunts the impure-blood vampire Deacon Frost who plans to summon La Magra - the Blood God.
Now approaching it's second sequel, this film was a dark surprise to me as I didn't expect too much from it. The plot sees Blade hunting a dangerous vampire seeing to unleash the power of La Magra and take vampires from their shadows into the real world; we also get a bit of back story as well. This plot gives all the best lines to the vampires and not enough good scenes with Blade himself. I like Blade for the same reason as I like Batman - they are both messed up superheroes of a sort. The film tells us how Blade was created but it doesn't delve deep enough for my tastes - only once or twice did I really get a feel for his cruel, darker nature (`Please, I only work for them'). I suppose this was to be expected and it certainly manages the darker tone much better than the Batman films did (in the long run).
The action is good although it never really gets to the peak of the opening nightclub scene but is good nonetheless. Some of the effects in the final fight are a bit lacking and they make the usual horror movie mistake of showing too much and having it be less effective than the build up and suggestion of the monster was.
Snipes doesn't exactly display a great emotional range here but he is good in the title role nonetheless. He is a commanding presence and physically good at the action stuff. Dorff is pretty good as the main vampire - he is slick and plays it well to be a good representation of the `new breed' as the script requires. Kristofferson is cool and Wright is sexy while still being a good actress! The support cast contains no real standouts; Lathan is no more than a cameo and isn't really good while people like Lords only stick in the memory due to their name and not their performance.
Overall this is an enjoyably slick vampire/action movie. The end product may be more style than substance but the character of Blade is darkly interesting, even if neither Snipes nor the film really give too much away in terms of his inner workings. I have yet to see the sequel but I would hope that it keeps the same dark tone that makes this film stand out.