I’ve decided to go back and watch a bunch of movies based on comic books. No real reason, just something I thought would be fun. This time it was the 1998 movie Blade.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 54%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 78%
My Rating: 6/10
I never read any of the Blade comics, so I don’t know how the movie compares to the source material. That said, this movie is just entertaining. It has its pros and cons, but overall it’s just trying to be a fun movie and it succeeds. Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s light or funny. This was one of the first Marvel movies that went for a dark tone. It makes sense, Blade’s one of those rare superheros that kills his enemies. Granted, his enemies are vampires, so it’s not like he can leave them for law enforcement or anything.
I’m going to start with the cons. A minor problem is that the visual effects did not age particularly well. When CGI is used, it’s very obvious. Another minor issue is that some of the fight scenes are blatantly choreographed. You can occasionally see Wesley Snipes waiting for a specific punch or kick to come his way rather than being natural. One big problem, however, is that the vampires aren’t really that scary, or even intimidating. Except for the biting people on the neck, they’re basically just the mob. Not a lot of information is given on their background or organization, so when the antagonist, Deacon Frost, confronts the other vampire leaders, there’s no context. This leads to the biggest problem with the movie, because there’s no context, not just for the vampires, but for pretty much everything, there’s no real sense of urgency. Blade’s a hunter and the vampires are his prey. This movie is merely one of the more difficult hunts.
On to the pros. First, the casting. Snipes was the perfect choice for Blade, no question. The other actors are all solid as well. No one really stood out to me as being fantastic, but no one botched their role either. I was also impressed with how the characters were written. Karen, the female lead, wasn’t just a two-dimensional damsel in distress. She starts out that way, but over the course of the movie she grows from a victim to an observer, and finally she stands on her own and takes care of herself. I also liked the fight choreography (with the exception of the few instances I mention above) especially the final sword battle between Blade and Frost. Snipes choreographed the fights himself, and it’s pretty clear that he knows what he’s doing.
Like I said in the beginning, this movie is fun. It isn’t great, but it’s very entertaining. Probably the best praise I can give it is that it made me want to watch the sequels, even though I know they aren’t as good.