The Nerds tackle 1998’s Blade this week! Let’s see if these…gentlemen…are trying to ice skate uphill with their takes!
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different cult classic from the Nerdosphere. This week the Dave and Patrick review the 1998 classic Blade!
The Flick: Blade
What’s it About: Blade is the Daywalker, a human-vampire hybrid who is a legend among pure vampires. Blade dedicates his life to eradicating vampires from the Earth. When Blade rescues a woman from a Vampire attack, he suddenly finds himself being hunted vampire Deacon Frost. As Blade unravels the mystery of Frost, Blade learns Frost wants Blade for an ancient ritual to help vampires rule the world.
Metacritic Score: 45
The Nerds’ Take on Blade:
Patrick: Blade is over the top violent, loaded silly special effects, and some of the hammiest acting you can find. And that’s saying a lot. But I gotta tell you, I love Blade. There’s an argument that without this some other comic book films’ success at the box office, comic book movies may have never become a thing. But enough about influence, let’s get to what makes this movie so great: it’s the movie’s willingness to take risks and get crazy. I mean, c’mon! The movie opens with an underground rave that ends with sprinklers covering unsuspecting humans in blood while vampires starting chowing down. What’s not to love?
Wesley Snipes plays Blade, a half-human/half-vampire created when his mother was bitten while he was still in the womb. Blade is legendary among vampires, known simply as the Daywalker. With the help of his adoptive father figure Whistler, Blade has made it his mission to destroy vampires at all costs. When he rescues a Dr. Karen Jensen from a vampire attack, Blade soon learns that he has caught the attention of ambitious vampire Deacon Frost. Blade’s investigations take him further into Frost’s desires for vampire supremacy where Blade learns may not be the hunter, but the hunted.
I mentioned in my introduction that the acting movie is delightfully hammy. You have Wesley Snipes vampire brooding while ninja kicking every minute he’s on the screen. Kris Kristofferson is at his absolute crustiest as Blade’s mentor Whistler. Then there’s Stephen Dorff as the arrogant vampire Deacon Frost, cool squinting his way through villainous monologues. It’s ridiculous and beautiful all at once.
And then there are the action pieces, the real joy of the movie. The opening action sequence in the during the Vampire Blood Bath Rave is just super fun and showcases Snipes martial arts skills. The special effects are over the top culminating with vampires swelling up and exploding, showering rooms in blood.
Blade is over the top, a little silly but overall a fun action romp. Yet, despite all of this silliness, the movie still looks cool as hell. It’s a reflection of the look and style of the late 90’s. The movie did pretty well in the theaters and was the first big time Marvel movie decades before Iron Man kicked off the MCU. Two sequels later showed the studio believe in the franchise too. Blade isn’t some revolutionary film that changed the industry, but it’s a fun ride that satisfies.
Patrick’s Rating: 3.0/5
Dave: Blade is one of those movies where if you have not seen it in a while, you will likely forget that it is quite good. Blade is definitely one of Marvel’s darker characters and, for the most part, this movie gets it right. It tells the story of Blade, a unique half-human, half-vampire hybrid with the ability to be out and about in the sunlight, earning him the nickname “Daywalker”. For the most part, Blade has all of the strength, speed, and stamina of a vampire, but is not affected by the sun, or garlic, or silver. However, he also has a vampire’s thirst for blood, which he keeps in check through the use of a serum, of which he is now building up a tolerance. He is primarily trying to stop Deacon Frost. Frost is a vampire but as he was turned into a vampire, as opposed to being born as one, he is not considered a “pure blood” and so must also confront those within his species. Frost has translated some ancient vampiric texts and wants to perform a ritual to bring La Magra (The Blood God) back into the world. Naturally, Blade’s blood holds the key to enabling this to happen.
It is all great fun, although the second half of the movie seems to bog down under the weight of a plot that was probably too involved for its own good. Some of the vampire death scenes in the latter part of the movie are excellent. Wesley Snipes was excellent as Blade, as was Kris Kristofferson, who plays Whistler, Blade’s partner in crime and fellow vampire hunter. As an introduction to this character, and as a pre-MCU movie, it is more than serviceable and is very good. No, it is not great but it is still a lot of fun….and good enough to spawn two sequels. A bigger question now is what will the MCU’s version of Blade look like? It was announced at Comic Con in 2019 that Blade would be coming to the MCU. One has to figure that he will be a central piece to the darker corners of the MCU, with a possible cameo coming in the Doctor Strange sequel. There is a great deal of backstory that 1998’s Blade did not really get into. Will the MCU’s version take a different approach, or will they fashion their version of Blade in the same mold as what Snipes did here? Those are all good questions and one can only hope we get the answers to that sooner rather than later. But, if you want to get a head start and get a solid foundation for understanding the Blade character, then, by all means, check out this movie.