In honor of Comic Book Movie month, we decided to review the first Marvel comic adaptation that was actually successful. Despite what many think, X-Men didn't actually start the comic book movie craze, Blade did. It revitalized the comic book movie industry after the flop that was Batman and Robin. Wesley Snipes appears in his most iconic role, and is part of one of the cooler interpretations of the vampire genre in recent memory.
The plot of Blade is incredibly simple. Blade is a half human-half vampire hybrid who has all the powers of being a vampire but none of the weaknesses (need to drink blood aside). He hunts down the vampires, led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), with ruthless abandon. Deacon is an upstart vampire who wants to transform himself into a god among vampires. With such a straightforward set up, you're clearly not watching the film for the plot. Admittedly, it never gets dull, and I was always interested in what happened next. Wesley Snipes owns the character of Blade, who is a badass vampire killer. The action sequences are pretty cool, evoking an almost Mortal Kombat-esque vibe, although the CG effects have not aged particularly well. Also, the sound design and scores are not something that usually stand out to me unless they are particularly memorable; however, the music is terribly generic 90s rock and the sound effects are just laughable at times.
Frost isn't a particularly amazing villain, but he's interesting enough, and the fact that he leads the vampires as a relative outsider (he was converted and not born into the order) is an interesting twist on the vampire clan mythos. Kris Kristofferson channels his inner Jeff Bridges as Whistler, Blade's weapon-smith and partner in his battle against the vampires. One performance that does drag the film down is N'Bushe Wright's Dr. Karen Jenson, a human who was recently bitten and rescued by Blade. Together they try to find a cure for vampirism. Her character is essentially an audience surrogate. Unfortunately, she has the emotional range of a wooden plank and is pretty uninteresting, despite serving a major narrative purpose.
Blade is a stylish, although dated, vampire flick with excellent action, a cool protagonist (his outfit still looks cool nearly two decades later), and a story that keeps you engaged. While not the best of the trilogy, it opened many doors for comic book movies that would have never seemed possible prior to the success of this film. For the cultural impact alone, Blade is required viewing, but fortunately, it's a pretty fun film as well.
Final Say: Watch It