Blade (1998) was the first really successful Marvel movie, long before Iron Man, The Avengers, Spider-Man, and even before X-Men. The Stephen Norrington-directed action thriller set the stage for the modern-day superhero boom—and wasted no time sucking audiences into its blood-soaked world.
Starring Wesley Snipes as the eponymous Half-Vampire/Half-Human hybrid come Super Hero/Vampire Hunter, Blade works with Dr. Karen Jensen and Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) in order to defeat vampires Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) and Quinn (Donal Logue) and their host of undead soldiers before they can kill Gitano Dragonetti (Udo Kier) and the other vampire Elders in a ritual that will transform Deacon Frost into La Magra, the vampire Blood God.
Blade is tons of fun, particularly when viewed through the nostalgic lens of 90s action cinema. It’s got a lot of goofy late-90s cheese in its style, but it’s exactly the type of cheese we love. It’s also worth noting that the success of this movie gave birth to the comic book movie era.
The action, effects, and music are silly and dated, plus the script is lacking. The whole film is really rather story- and effects-driven and the characters are lacking somewhat. Even so, Wesley Snipes really sells himself as the few words no-nonsense Blade. There are some great martial arts and acting all around, Stephen Dorff is good as Deacon Frost.
Critics have described the opening fight scene as “one of the all-time greats” and “the best set-piece in comic book history,” and whether or not you’re a fan of the film, we can all agree those first few minutes are a grisly good time.
Blade opens on at a special nightclub, a place that would’ve been shut down years ago if its owners hadn’t eaten the health inspector. We see a guy lured inside by a girl—and then we get to witness his revulsion as he realizes the ceiling is rigged with blood-spurting sprinklers. Soon, the writhing crowd is drenched in red, and that’s when they start baring fangs. Its dinner time.
But before the feast begins, a sword-wielding superhero enters the scene: the half-man, half-vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) who is determined to kill every bloodsucker at the place, he stakes creatures in the chest, cuts fools with his katana, and blasts beasts with his silver-bullet shotgun – before taking out a room full of vampires with a razor-bladed boomerang and then giving audiences a grin. The opening of Blade grabs your attention right off the (vampire) bat.
The scene basically has everything you could want for a modern vampire tale: The Blood Rave song, Confusion (Pump Panel Remix) by New Order, grat fight choreography (looking past the “Only-One-Guy-Attacks-At- A-Time” – syndrome).
Wesley Snipe’s Blade went on to star in a further two films, but I think it is fair to say that it was all pretty much downhill from the first movie.