Blade (1998)


Writer, Nate Brigman

Nate Brigman



Blade was one of the first R-rated “superhero” movies that was actually fairly successful, profit-wise. This film is based off of the MARVEL comics concerning vampires and the half-human, half-vampire man that hunts them, the titular Blade. 

Blade, played by Wesley Snipes, is a half-breed vampire killer with all of the strengths of the vampires and none of the weaknesses. The vampires refer to him as the Daywalker, since he can exist in sunlight without dying. He is also resistant to silver and garlic, which are lethal to vampires. He possesses unnatural strength and durability, regenerative abilities, and a thirst for blood, all qualities of your typical vampire. Blade, however, staves off the thirst with a man-made serum so that he doesn’t prey upon humans. He kills the vampires out of a deep-seated hatred of them and a desire to protect humanity from the virus. 

Vampires have infiltrated the upper echelons of society and control a great deal of things from the shadows through familiars, which are humans that the vampires own as slaves. The main antagonist, Deacon Frost, is a vampire who seeks to raise a vampiric god and bring about an apocalypse onto humanity. The problem for him is that the ritual requires the Daywalker’s blood. Much of their efforts to catch Blade end with massive vampire casualties due to Blade’s skill and lethal intent, so the vampires begin to target Blade’s human companions. Blade was found as a child by a man named Whistler, who raised him, taught him to control the blood thirst, and trained him. He makes weapons for Blade in the movie, and is a sort of father figure and mentor. Blade also rescues a human woman, Dr. Karen Jenson, from a vampire, and they use her medical expertise to try and find a cure for vampirism. 

Deacon Frost proves to be resourceful, and captures the doctor. This obviously leads to the culmination of the movie, which will here remain ambiguous. Several things I admire about the movie are in no small part due to the fact that Wesley Snipes knows martial arts. As a result, the fight scenes look very fluid and natural, they didn’t have to use a double for Snipes, allowing the camera to have more angles during the fights, and it’s just really cool looking. Some of the effects of the movie are a bit dated, as this was released in 1998, but it doesn’t detract from the quality of the movie like the absolutely abysmal effects of Spawn (another comparable superhero movie starring an African American actor, released in 1996) did. A minor issue is that Snipes doesn’t bring much emotion to the role, but that is in part due to the ruthless nature of Blade. 

Overall, it is a solid movie, and did well in the box office for its budget. I would recommend watching it and the second movie in the trilogy (which is actually better than the first), but the third one is skippable. This movie also paved the way for future R-rated superhero successes, such as Deadpool and Logan. I enjoyed Blade, and if you share similar taste, you should try it out.