A very happy birthday today to Blade, which was released 20 years ago today. There was a time when I thought this film was really cool, so as a present, I thought it was only right to take you on a trip down memory lane.
Blade is based on a Marvel comic book character, and is played in the films by Wesley Snipes. He’s a man whose mother was bitten by a vampire while she was pregnant, and has become a hybrid of human and vampire. He has the creatures strengths, but not their weaknesses. Adapted for the screen by David S Goyer, the film made critics cringe, but was hugely popular with audiences. It made 131.2 million worldwide, and has two sequels.
When a vampire attacks Dr Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright), Blade rescues her, and she finds herself drawn into his fight against vampires. Meanwhile, Frost Deacon (Stephen Dorff) is a vampire that was made, not born, and because the ruling class of the vampires look down on his kind, he rebels, trying to start a war with humanity. Blade sets out to stop him, with the help of Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), his old friend, and finds his past coming back to haunt him.
It’s a film that’s so very 90’s. It’s lead wears a full length leather jacket and doesn’t talk much. It’s villain is dastardly but dresses well and has cheesey one liners. It has a mystical backstory and is full of fight scenes, drama and very 90’s music. But there’s something about this film that makes it a nostalgic watch, rather than cringey. Granted, if you didn’t like this film them, you’re not going to get much out of it now, and yet it has developed a cult following over the last 20 years. It’s well constructed with neat character development, fast pace, and manages to get a lot of lore in without awkward exposition. The cast are all really 90’s cool and having a great time, and the action sequences still stand up. It’s fun.
Blade II (2002)
Not as rewatch-able as the first film, and with more dated effects, Blade II brings back Snipes as our titular hero. In this film, a mutation has created Reapers, a vampire which feeds on humans and vampires and threatens all of life on the planet with it’s fast infectiousness and brutality. Blade, Whistler and their friend Scud (Norman Reedus from Walking Dead) team up with elite vampires called the Blood Pack to stop their mutual enemy, but it’s an uneasy alliance. Donnie Yen and Ron Perlman join the cast in this film, and Snipes is again really enjoyable to watch as he kicks butt and drops one liners. It’s a film made for fans of the first movie who just wanted more, but has not stood the test of time as well.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Blade is framed by the vampire community for murder, and is wanted by the FBI when he’s rescued by the Nightstalkers, a group who hunt vampires, and which includes Whistler’s daughter (Jessica Biel) and a quippy Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds). Meanwhile, the vampires have decided to awaken Dracula (Dominic Purcell of Prison Break fame), who has shortened his name to Drake, because it’s 2004. They plan on using his ancient blood to create stronger vampires. Blade and friends plan on using a virus to wipe out vampire kind forever, but it wouldn’t be a Blade movie unless he has to come up against the baddest vampire of them all and have a one on one battle. Perhaps the weakest entry in the franchise, it has less of the first films charms, but tries to have fun with it’s material, and it’s funny to see vintage Reynolds, when he used to play for laughs over action.
There are some midnight screenings of Blade for this 20th anniversary, so if you want a nostalgia trip or just want to see this film again on the big screen, look out for those near you. And if you loved or hated Blade, have a favorite moment, or prefer the comic book, tell me all about it in the comments section below.