by Dana Andersen.
Sat 06 Jun 2020 16:52
Although movie adaptions of comic books are sure to be box office hits these days, that wasn’t so when Blade was released in 1998. It was largely due to a failed attempt at Black Panther, that Wesley Snipes ended up in the roll of Blade, and even then he was warned against doing it. With the success of Black Panther’s 2018 release, Snipes was clearly ahead of the game in his choice to take on the role, but is Blade still good for a first time watcher, over 20 years after its release?
Following title character Blade, or Eric, on his hunt for the vampire that killed his mother, we’re immediately immersed in the cyberpunk world of 90’s vampires, and it is a glorious world. Filled with beats that only the 90’s could have produced, outfits that would now be the height of Y2K vintage fashion, and a sprinkler system filled with human blood, Blade lets you know what you’re getting into from the second you start watching it.
The vampire lore explored is well expected today, having survived the Twilight craze, but still interesting in a classic, familiar way. Vampire’s like Pearl, and even Blade as a human vampire hybrid, are a truly interesting addition, which haven’t been explored nearly as much as they could have been.
As the film progresses, and we see more use of special effects, they are very hit and miss. There are moments that look realistic enough for the audience not to over think it, and then there are other times that a vampire’s body burns away just a little bit too quickly, compared to the hair, leaving a comedically well groomed skeleton.
It’s impossible not to mention the iconic, and well known, occasion of Wesley Snipes refusing to open his eyes, leaving them to be opened with CGI. None of these effect mishaps are make or break moments for the movie though, they just require the audience to suspend their disbelief a little more than we need to with modern CGI.
Finishing up the movie with a plot twist, followed by heroic moves from Blade, to end on a high note, is common for films of the time, and they still give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, if you’ll let them.
It’s not a perfect movie, but a movie featuring Wesley Snipes as a human vampire hybrid, with kick ass martial arts skills, and a long leather coat, doesn’t need to be perfect, to be good. Watching it for the first time in 2020, it gives a new life to super hero movies. It may have been one of the first to be successful, but many elements of it have been absent from those to follow, and they are the ones that make Blade a great watch, even all these years after its release.