A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 488 – Blade

Blade – July 1st, 2011

Working in a library, I get a lot of people who look to me for book recommendations (and movie recommendations) but on the flip side I also end up having a lot of people try to recommend things to me. Sometimes this works out well, like with the 13 year old girl who’s pretty much got exactly the same taste in fiction that I do and whom I’ve found to be a very astute and critical reader. Sometimes it’s not so great, largely because most people who make recommendations to me aren’t really concerned with personal taste and preferences. And they’re hard to get rid of. Say you read/watched it just to get them to stop and they’ll want to talk about it. Say you will read/watch it and they’ll ask if you have yet every time they see you. Say it’s not your thing/you don’t have time/etc. and prepare for battle. So when people try to recommend Twilight to me, I tell them I prefer my vampires to be more like this. That tends to bring an end to any attempt to get me to dish about how dreamy Edward Cullen is.

If you’re looking for a vampire romance with pale and angst-ridden heroes whom the heroine can sigh over? You are watching the wrong movie. The hero has angst, to be sure, but he doesn’t sparkle and he doesn’t brood (much) and the heroine spends more time Doing Science than she spends sighing. Oh, and there are action scenes with guns, swords, silver spikes and incendiary devices. And a UV lamp for extra burny fun. There’s blood too, in case you forgot at some point what the movie’s villains (and hero) are. There’s a lot of blood. Like, a ton of it. Okay, so most of it is in the opening scene, but there’s still a lot even after that.

Speaking of the opening scene, this movie has what is, in my opinion, one of the best openings ever. And after seeing almost 500 movies in the past almost 500 days? I think I can say that with some authority. It is perfectly crafted to let you know who the bad guys are, who the good guy is, what the bad guys are like, what the good guy is like and what you’re in for in the next two hours. We start with Traci Lords, who has a character name but it doesn’t matter since it’s never mentioned and she’s only in the movie for about 10 minutes. She has a fast car and a douchey guy and she brings him to a club in a meat packing plant. You might think you know where this is going and you might be half right. Because the aim is definitely to feed on the douchey guy but he ends up unscathed. Scared witless, but unscathed. Anyhow, in the club they dance and she blows him off and then the sprinklers turn on and start spraying blood everywhere. Then our hero enters and proceeds to kill the vast majority of vampires present with clean and ruthless efficiency before cornering one particular vampire and pinning him to the wall, then setting him on fire. The whole scene’s got some pounding music going on and fast visuals with well choreographed action. It’s the best thing in the movie and now it’s over.

That’s not to say there’s nothing else good in the movie. It’s just that after that opening? Nothing can compare in terms of sheer cool factor. The movie has a bunch of great action scenes and Blade gets to be a total bad-ass for the vast majority of it. But that one scene. Yeah. It’s perfect. But the movie must go on or it would merely be a music video. So on we go to the plot. Blade is our main character, played by Wesley Snipes. And part of me will now always associate him with Noxeema Jones from To Wong Foo, but this is a very different character. Blade is known as the Daywalker, because while he was born as a vampire after his mother was bitten while pregnant, he takes a serum that suppresses his vampiric traits. So he doesn’t drink blood or hunger for it and he can go out in the day (hence the nickname) and he still gets to be super strong and super fast and all. Blade also has a really neat super power that lets him stand in the direct path of spattering blood and not get a drop on him. I don’t think this is related to his vampire status. I think it’s just that he’s such a bad-ass that blood spatter is afraid of him. There are at least two instances where he’s standing in the direct path and his matte black gear is spotless.

Anyhow, Blade and his powers of cleanliness and badassery are working on exterminating all the regular vampires. And according to this movie there are a ton of them and they dabble in just about everything. There are a number of different clans and they have their own businesses and night clubs and whatnot and he goes around cleaning them out. Told you: cleanliness and badassery. He’s got a human named Whistler who helps him out by making him new gear and weapons and eventually he gains a woman named Karen as another assistant after she gets bitten by a vampire in a hospital and he takes her to his hideout to try and stop her from becoming a vampire. Turns out Karen is pretty awesome both because she quickly learns how to handle herself in dangerous situations (she gets captured a couple of times, but always when there are a bunch of vampires to overpower her) and because she’s given more to do than pine for Blade. Because see, a romantic plot for Blade just isn’t going to happen. He isn’t romance material. So Karen feels some emotional pull towards him, but ends up directing it towards scientific research. Because she’s a hematologist. Lucky Blade, huh?

Karen and Blade head out to learn about what the vampires are planning. Obviously, something is up. Blade questions some people, like vampire Quinn (played by Donal Logue, who has one of the strangest and most varied set of roles on his resume I can think of aside from Michael Sheen) and a wannabe vampire who’s pledged himself to vampire Deacon Frost in hopes of being turned one day. He doesn’t get turned, by the way. I’d imagine being a vampire’s indentured servant is really a lottery with slim chances. Deacon, played by Stephen Dorff, is a young vampire who was turned from human, not born a vampire like the rest of the big high council. He’s kind of bitter about it and wants to be one of the big-wigs, so he’s researched some old vampire lore and learned about a ceremony that will turn him into a blood god called La Magra. The ceremony involves getting twelve pureblooded vampires together with a daywalker and using a combination of their blood in the right place. And the rest of the movie goes as you might expect.

There are some twists here and there. Some turns that aren’t necessarily expected. But for the most part this movie isn’t trying to serve up anything shocking. It’s trying to be cool and explosive and feature lots of fight scenes where vampires get staked and disintegrate. Frost and his crew have cool parties and Blade and his crew have cool weapons and the special effects aren’t perfect but they work just fine and there’s Action Hematology and enough humor to be fun without being goofy. And there’s plenty of blood and little to no romance, so it’s pretty much got exactly what I want out of a modern vampire movie.

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July 1, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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