Oh my… there's SO much… where to start… ok, here goes.
This film broke just about every convention Hollywood has for an action film or a horror film. In addition, it discarded most of the genre referents that would dictate a film. The hero was a guttural, anti-social deviant in black clothing and armor that made absolute no attempt to "fit in" and the love interest didn't even really scream once! What kind of movie do they expect us to believe this is?
An utterly fabulous film, that's what. Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson and N'bushe Wright is, to my knowledge, the first time any comic book has been translated to the screen without losing that sense of comic book pace and timing. In a word, it was wonderful!
Wesley Snipes plays Blade, an infant who was delivered into the world from his dying mother's womb after she had been bitten by a vampire, making Blade a half-vampire, for wont of a better term. Saved from a life of feeding on the homeless by Abraham Whistler, played by Kristofferson. Trained in the art of war, given a wonderful arsenal and bolstered by a garlic-based serum, Blade and Whistler travel the world trying to restore the balance of humanity and vampire, a balance that seems to weigh heavily on the side of the blood-suckers. Now enter the beautiful Dr. Karen Jenson, played by Wright, who just happens to be a Hematologist. Convenient, huh? Blade sure thinks so by the end of the film.
What ensues is one of the most gloriously unapologetic bloodbaths that I've ever seen in an action film, including some wonderful (and unusually subtle) computer-generated effects that assist in the creation of one of the most delightfully gross specials effects I've seen yet… can you say blood explosion? Yes, I think you can.
Critically (since this IS supposed to be a review by a critic, right?), this film tried very hard to steer clear of any of the traditional Hollywood plot twists and clichés that would have doomed it to trite-dom, and for the most part, it succeeded. However, the fact that the first woman Blade finds that reminds him of his long lost mother just happens to be someone schooled in blood disorders and diseases, along with several others that I'm sure you'll notice as you watch this (and would spoil the film for me to discuss here) leave this film as a valiant and noteworthy effort that almost succeed in everything it tries to do, but not quite.
Still, overall, this film is extraordinarily well made, and the action or horror or comic book movie fan will find it well worth a full price ticket. This is not a film that you are going to want to bring children to, however, so don't let the fact that it's based on comics fool you, comics have gotten real gritty in the last decade or so, much to the delight of avid readers and the dismay of over-protective parents everywhere.
I give this film an A. While not perfect, it was as close as Hollywood has comeyet to turning our childhood and adolescent comic book fantasies into something we can see and experience ont the screen.