Blade (1998)

(In theaters, August 1998) This is the movie that Spawn tried to be. A very cool comic-book-inspired action-fest starring a bigger than-life superhero against a conspiracy of evil creatures (in this case; vampires). Blade begins with one of the most gripping introduction possible (I won’t spoil it), and if it doesn’t quite maintain this level of energy all throughout the movie, it finishes on an adequately action-packed finale. The direction is kinetic, and the little over-the-top stylistic touches push Blade in the realm of the really cool movies. Wesley Snipes is great, the girls are cute, the hardware is mouth-watering and the villain does a creditable job. It’s not only a B-movie, it’s a B+-movie!

(Second viewing, On DVD, May 2002) Most dynamic vampire-hunting film ever? Well, not since the sequel came out, but the original Blade still kicks a lot of blood-sucking butt, and the DVD is still one of the best collector’s editions out there. Not only does it include the requisite making-of, but it also features a half-finished alternate ending, plus plenty of discussion about how and why they settled on the finished product. The best thing about the disc, though, is the commentary track, which features snippets from various crew and cast members. Wesley Snipes seems arrogant and silly; Stephen Dorf sounds a bit sloshed and star-stuck. There is a cinematographer that can’t stop bitching about the compromises he must make in his work. A considerable amount of time is spent discussing rejected concepts and alternate sequences. (One of which, the “baby vampire” seems cruelly absent, though the “body freeze” answers one huge logical howler I’d noted in a previous review.) In sum, a very good track that takes some time to deliver, but which really does hold our interest. The filmmakers always knew what kind of movie they wanted to deliver, and the result is there in its full DVD glory. A must-buy if you’re a fan of the film.

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