Blade checks off every trope of the mid 2000s action genre in the best way possible. The vaguely European techno, the mix of gun fu with real props, it’s even got that sweet sweet ambivalent morality edge.
The story of a half-human, half-vampire, vampire hunter, we follow the titular protagonist as he tries to thwart the schemes of a befangled extremist group.
The film brings you back to a simpler time of cat memes, TV’s with built in VCRs, and mass marketed Shadow the Hedgehog games. The thing is, it was actually way ahead of the curve. Released in 1998, this movie came out a year before The Matrix, meaning it predates just about everything in the “hey I have a trench coat and a shotty” linage…except John Woo.
There’s also a plethora of dated horror tropes to be found here, making the film a double whammy when it comes to the nostalgia factor. Gory, foul mouthed, and even incestuous (side note: why was this ever a thing?) if you’re a lover of that old school monster magic I think you’ll be satisfied. There were a few effects, specifically in the climax, that have not aged very well. But we still get practical work mixed with the CGI so it doesn’t get too bogged down by polygonal blood or low textured vampire gods.
Campy to the core (albeit unintentionally) I actually liked this movie a lot for the first 3rd of its runtime. The opening sequence lures you in with some stunning visuals and crescendos with a showstopper fight sequence. Wesley Snipes, who played Blade, said "I just approached him as this really cool character where I'd get to do martial arts and wear a leather suit," and it really shows. The world building and set pieces try everything they can to keep you engaged and manage to drown out most of the forgettable plot and characters. You won’t remember as single motivation in this flick but the scene where they burn an obese vampire with a UV flashlight will certainly stick with ya.
What I really wanted from Blade was some freaking passion. There are shadows of vulnerability in everyone, but it’s never dwelt upon, and honestly void of thematic depth. The film constantly teases you with statements about romance, family, and abuse, but never really commits to anything. As a result, it comes out average despite my love for the pre-Avengers comic book vibes.