No doubt there's a version of "Blade" that runs at a tighter, more concise 90 minutes, but I have to give director Stephen Norrington credit: in 1998, there was no "The Matrix" or "X-Men" to serve as a signpost on how to make this film work, but work it does, with style and verve. The comic book mythos is pulp fun, and Wesley Snipes was born to play a cocksure vampire slayer who fist-pumps after his own kills.
Non-stop vampire slaying action and violence with gore and a lot of posing. Don't expect intelligent dialogue, emotions or strong acting as Wesley Snipes is so serious here that one almost hope he has a comedic plan behind it all and Kris Kristofferson seem to have taken a little too much whiskey sleepwalking through the film. But, the true bad actor here is Stephen Dorff who I only want to kick in the face.
Blade is a solid action film with a compelling and distinctive visual style. The fighting is well choreographed and I really appreciated the synth-laden soundtrack in cinema surround sound, but you will have to forgive the ludicrous plot and a really underwhelming antagonist. Blade is a formidable presence and deserved a better adversary than the uncharismatic Stephen Dorff as 'Frost'. Serviceable nonetheless.
It's a curious thing rewatching this almost 20 years on (...), since this is arguably the birth of the modern comic book film. It has its moments - the Blood Bath builds to a fever, and Wesley really is good, if you accept his scene-chewing through pointy canines - but Goyer's script sucks. The lack of menace proves how half-hearted they were to embrace the supernatural - it's all or nothing, but they chose both.