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"BLADE"
(1998) (Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme *Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Minor Minor Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: A half human, half vampire continues on his quest to rid the world of "normal" vampires.
PLOT:
Having been born a half man, half vampire after his pregnant mother was attacked and supposedly killed by a vampire, Blade (WESLEY SNIPES) has made it his quest to rid the world of such bloodsuckers. Armed with a heavy arsenal of lead and garlic spiked firepower that's been crafted by his longtime mentor and fellow vampire eradicator, Abraham Whistler (KRIS KRISTOFFERSON), Blade fights a seemingly never ending battle against the undead.

Things have heated up recently when a young and rebellious vampire, Deacon Frost (STEPHEN DORFF), has set out to shake up the "pure blood," and still hidden society of vampires. Believing his kind to be the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder, Frost sees humans as nothing more than cattle and wants to rule the House of Erebus that governs all vampires. However, the current leader, Dragonetti (UDO KIER), thinks Frost and his band of heavies -- including right- hand man, Quinn (DONAL LOGUE) -- are too radical and bringing undue attention to their millenniums old lifestyle and cause, particularly from Blade.

The vampire killer gets an unlikely partner in the form of Karen (N'BUSHE WRIGHT), a young hematologist who herself was bitten and infected by Quinn and is racing against time to find a cure for the malady. Meanwhile, as Blade deals with his growing tolerance to a blood-substitute serum that keeps him from becoming a true vampire, he must find and stop Frost who's attempting to resurrect an ancient and all powerful vampire spirit that will forever make him leader of the vampires.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into vampire or similarly based horror films, or are fans of someone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
As of the review date the reason was not available, but we'd guess it was for violence, bloodshed, profanity, and brief sexually related material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • WESLEY SNIPES plays the stoic vampire killer who's set out to avenge his mother's presumed death. STEPHEN DORFF plays the young and rebellious vampire who wants to gain control of the vampire leadership, and has no respect for authority or human life.
  • KRIS KRISTOFFERSON plays Blade's mentor and accomplice whose motivation is also revenge-based.
  • N'BUSHE WRIGHT plays a young hematologist who becomes Blade's ally after being bitten herself.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    Packaged as some akin to "The Terminator" meets "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," this latest vampire flick has more in common with the rambunctious "From Dusk 'Till Dawn" than Bram Stoker's original Dracula character. Despite featuring some decent action scenes and plenty of goo and gore that elicited some disgusted and/or amused laughs and reactions from the audience, this is an otherwise unremarkable entry in the vampire genre, despite the hybrid nature of the title character.

    Lacking the campy fun of "The Lost Boys" or genuine scares found in other classic vampire flicks, this "Blade" is rather dull and most likely will disappear from theaters faster than a bloody mary at a vampire convention.

    Who knows what happened to the "good old days" when vampire movies featured the rare and solitary creatures that "haunted" castles, manors, and other creepy locations. The ones where the vampires lured in, or accepted unsuspecting, potential victims into their lair and then waited until the right moment to come forward, barring sharpened teeth, and providing some genuinely spooky moments.

    While "Interview with the Vampire" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" harkened back to those horror classics of yesteryear such as 1922's "Nosferatu" and Béla Lugosi's "Dracula," nowadays the undead bloodsuckers are fashionable businessmen. Wearing Armani suits and seemingly more concerned with dealing with offshore bank accounts than finding their next meal, today's vampires may be hip, fashionable, and successful, but they've lost their most tangible and historical cinematic asset -- and that's being scary.

    Sure, today's young audiences may find the bloodbaths and exploding bodies featured in "Blade" "scary" in a carnival haunted house ride way, but there's little, if anything, in this film that's genuinely creepy or frightening. Loosely based on a Marvel Comic's character first introduced in 1973 (that later became a comic book series on its own), this film isn't much more than a series of action-oriented, but certainly not scary "kill the vampires" scenes strung along a threadbare, minimalist plot.

    As the title character, Wesley Snipes ("Demolition Man," "The Fan") has about the same dimensionality as Schwarzenegger's "Terminator 2" robotic android and spends most of his time stoically disposing of vampires via an arsenal of heavy duty armaments. That's about it.

    Yes, there's the attractive assistant, the old and sickly mentor, and a young rebel hellbent on taking control, but all of that's just designed as filler to pad the 'in between" moments. The film also seems like an exercise to see if special effects supervisor Chuck Comisky ("Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," "The Addams Family") and make-up effects artist, Greg Cannom ("Thinner," "Kull the Conqueror") were up to the challenge of spewing and splattering enough goo, gore and plain old blood for several movies (they obviously were).

    Literally a blood bath -- or shower as the bloodiest scene features a ceiling-mounted sprinkler that shoots forth not water, but standard issue blood in a "lovely" red shower -- the effects are often interesting to watch -- including a neat dissolving effect for the dead vampires -- but certainly can't carry the film. Nor can the occasionally thrilling action and hand to hand combat scenes that permeate the flick. Although some early scenes are efficiently staged, they do get a bit boring and repetitious after a while.

    Playing such a stoic creation, Wesley Snipes can't do much with his character other than look and act tough -- both of which he more than competently manages. His is one of those "dark" characters (not skin color, but mood) who broods and seeks revenge, but not much else, thus always keeping the audience at a distance.

    As the villain, Stephen Dorff ("Blood and Wine," "City of Industry") gets to chew on the scenery a lot with his elongated eyeteeth, but is monotonous in his angry, one-dimensional villain character. It's always more engaging to watch a "fun" villain, but the filmmakers here were too busy trying to figure out from where the next supply of blood should erupt, splatter, or trickle to pay much attention to that.

    The supporting characters are all standard issue for this genre, with Kris Kristofferson ("Lone Star," "A Star Is Born") playing the old and grizzled mentor and newcomer N'Bushe Wright ("Dead Presidents") filling the necessary "good" female role (while ex-porn star Traci Lords plays the "bad" girl). Only Donal Logue gets to ham it up properly as Frost's right-hand man, who, interestingly enough, is often missing that exact body part as he's constantly -- and often humorously -- being dismembered and then refitted or regenerated with new appendages.

    Screenwriter David S. Goyer ("Dark City," "The Crow: City of Angels") and director Stephen Norrington (who helmed the little seen "Death Machine") obviously must have liked the carnage displayed in Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk 'Till Dawn" and thought it would make a good match with this comic book story. Unfortunately, they left out the humor and Tarantino- sharpened dialogue that made that other film fun (but not great).

    Although Norrington occasionally inserts some interesting camera tricks -- odd shutter speeds and sped up film which are highly reminiscent of Sam Raimi's work in films such as "Darkman" -- the rest of the film is often lively, but not particularly innovative or for that matter, even interesting.

    Gory and predictable -- guess which of two characters in the climatic battle scene is victorious -- and set up for a sequel should the film be a success -- don't hold your breath -- this picture isn't that good and may even disappoint diehard vampire movie fans. We give "Blade" a 4 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    While nowhere nearing the realism of "Saving Private Ryan" and its level of violence and gore, this film is about as bloody and violent as they otherwise come. Being a movie about vampires that shouldn't come as a surprise, but for those with an aversion or sensitivity to copious amounts of blood, the sight of exploding and dissolving bodies, and enough violence to fill several movies, you may want to skip this film.

    Likewise, while the proceedings often approach a certain campiness, much of it might induce some vivid nightmares in younger preteens should they be allowed to see it. Beyond all of that, profanity is extreme with 45 "f" words and others, and we briefly see a scene that heavily suggests oral sex. Since some kids may want to see this film, you should definitely take a closer look at the content if you're concerned about whether the material is appropriate for them, or for yourself.

    Of SPECIAL NOTE, for those concerned with repetitive, flashing lights, an early scene set at a dance features strobe-like lighting effects.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People in a club have drinks, as do others later at a party.
  • Whistler drinks liquor straight from the bottle.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Blade's pregnant mother (wheeled through a hospital) who's very bloody after having been attacked. We then see her newborn baby who is covered in blood.
  • A man brought to a vampire dance has some blood on his cheek and some drop on his hand moments before the room's sprinkler system comes on and literally covers and floods the room with blood.
  • Blade then shows up and shoots and fights the vampires, resulting in many of them exploding or dissolving away into gooey messes. Finally he sets one vampire on fire, and we see the charred remains here, and then later in a morgue where more close-up views of the corpse occur (and a technician tries to cut through the chest).
  • A charred corpse suddenly grabs Karen's coworker and bites him in the neck resulting in lots of blood. It then grabs Karen and bites her as well, resulting in even more blood.
  • We see several images of needles being inserted into people's skin.
  • A vampire sympathizer that Blade has beaten is a little bloody.
  • Frost bites into a man's neck, killing him and resulting in a lot of blood (which Frost and a woman then smear and lick on each other's faces as they kiss).
  • We hear some farting sounds from a large, gelatinous vampire creature. As Karen shines an ultraviolet light on this creature to torture it, we see increasingly greater levels of blistering and burned skin.
  • Blade's booby-trapped sword shreds a man's hand and we see the bloody, pulverized mess.
  • Blade cuts off Quinn's arm (we later see the bloody stump) and the guy's face is very bloody after being pressed against a moving train.
  • We see a vampire's skin blister, tear apart, and finally explode as sunlight hits him.
  • A man's face is very bloody (as was the sheet covering him).
  • Two vampires swell up and then explode in extremely bloody eruptions.
  • We see a vampire whose face is partially decomposed.
  • Blade is placed inside some sort of mold apparatus that then bleeds him from the wrist, and we see his blood running down his hands and into a collection device. Later, we see the blood trickling down the sides of some ancient ritual structure.
  • More blood and guts appear in a later fight scene, including a character being cut in half only to suddenly come back together again.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may not like the film having a supernatural theme.
  • Obviously Frost, his cronies, and the rest of the vampires have both for either subjugating, killing or turning humans into vampires.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Whether one finds the film scary or suspenseful largely depends on one's age and tolerance for such material. Nonetheless, some viewers may find the appearances of the vampires and the bloody aftermath of their behavior as scary or unsettling (especially true for preteens), as they might also for scenes listed under both "Blood/Gore" and "Violence." See those two categories for specific scene listings.
  • Several menacing looking characters follow Karen out of an elevator. Moments later, a cop prepares to shoot her in her apartment.
  • Blade, Whistler, and Karen find themselves in a train tunnel where they must avoid the close and speeding trains as well as the vampires after them.
  • Frost tosses Karen down into a pit where she encounters a partially decomposed vampire that tries to attack her.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Shotguns/Machine guns/Knives/Swords/Explosives: Used to threaten, wound, or kill many characters. See "Violence" for details.
  • Karen uses an ultraviolet flashlight to torture (burn) a vampire.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut the f*ck up," "Go f*ck yourself," "For f*ck's sakes," "Don't do d*ck," "I'm gonna jack you up," "Bitch(es)" (said about women), "You little bitch" (said toward a man)," "Whore," "Bad ass," "Shut up," "Idiot," and "Scum."
  • Whistler lights up a cigarette after spilling gasoline all over the car he's filling.
  • Frost spits on a man after repeatedly stomping down onto his face.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A charred corpse suddenly grabs Karen's coworker and bites him on the neck.
  • A device on Blade's sword suddenly pops open.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of such music occurs during several scenes in the movie, as does some of the action-oriented variety.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 45 "f" words (3 used with "mother" and another silently mouthed), 4 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 5 damns, 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 S.O.B.'s, and 3 uses of "Jesus Christ," 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Jesus" and "Oh my God" and 1 use of "Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A young woman asks a young man, "Whatcha got down there, little man?" as she briefly feels his crotch. He replies, "It's my heat seeker" and she says, "I bet it is."
  • Some young women at a dance are shirtless (but are wearing bras) and we briefly see a woman having oral sex with a man seated across the room (her head is at his crotch).
  • Frost suggestively asks Karen, "Blade not giving it to you?"
  • SMOKING
  • Both Whistler and Frost smoke several times, while Quinn smokes once and some characters smoke in the backgrounds of certain scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Both Blade and Whistler are motivated to kill vampires after such creatures killed (or presumably killed) their families.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether vampires really exist (for little kids who may be frightened by the prospect).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Some vampires push and then punch their intended human victim at a blood-soaked dance. Blade then shows up and shoots (with shotgun and machine gun) and fights (punches, kicks and stabbing with stakes, striking with his sword, etc..) many vampires, resulting in lots of blood and gore as their bodies explode or dissolve away. They also shoot back at him with machine guns. Blade then stabs two small stakes through Quinn's shoulders, impaling him to a wall, and then sets him on fire (literally burning him to a crisp).
  • A charred corpse suddenly grabs Karen's coworker and bites him in the neck resulting in lots of blood. It then grabs Karen and bites her as well, resulting in even more blood. Blade shows up, punches the corpse, and then cuts its arm off with his sword (and the arm dissolves away).
  • The police then show up and shoot Blade many times, but his bulletproof outfit protects him from harm.
  • Dragonetti smacks Frost.
  • A cop (actually a vampire sympathizer) prepares to shoot Karen, but Blade stops him. He then proceeds to hit, kick and throw this cop around the room (and later against a car trunk and then in a restaurant kitchen) trying to get him to talk.
  • Blade fights many more vampires/sympathizers with punches and kicks.
  • Frost bites into a man's neck, killing him and resulting in a lot of blood.
  • Karen shines an ultraviolet light on a vampire creature to torture it, and we see increasingly greater levels of blistering and burned skin as she proceeds.
  • Blade uses explosives to blow open a door.
  • Blade fights more vampires (with martial arts punches and kicks).
  • Blade's booby-trapped sword shreds a man's hand.
  • Quinn jams a silver stake into Blade's shoulder.
  • An explosion rips through a room as Whistler shows up and mows down many vampires/sympathizers with a machine gun (and the survivors fire back with machine guns).
  • A train hits two vampires.
  • Blade cuts off Quinn's arm and the guy's face is very bloody after being pressed against a moving train.
  • Frost and others take an older, pure blood vampire out into the sun where, after Frost pulls out his fangs with pliers, the man's body bubbles, rips open and then explodes.
  • Frost threatens a little girl and uses her as a shield while talking to Blade. He then throws her out into the street in front of an oncoming bus (Blade saves her).
  • Whistler and Karen shoot at (and occasionally hit) some intruders who've made their way into their hideaway. After capturing them (where Whistler is shot in the leg), Frost hits, kicks and repeatedly stomps on Whistler and his face.
  • A man commits suicide by shooting himself (off camera).
  • Blade shoots more characters dead with a machine gun. He then stabs some sort of syringe into a woman's face, as well as into a man, and moments later both explode (with lots of blood).
  • Frost's men zap Blade with some sort of electric prods.
  • Karen repeatedly hits a vampire with some human bones.
  • Frost attacks another vampire who then explodes.
  • Blade fights and then kills another vampire while lightning bolts (or something similar) zap other vampires.
  • More fighting follows where more characters are killed, and Blade and Frost get into a big fight. During all of this, a character's head blows up, a person is cut in half (but then comes back together again), etc...



  • Reviewed August 17, 1998

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