Vampires have seen a range of adaptations, from the traditional Bram Stoker variety to sparkly Stephenie Meyer concoctions. We’ve seen Universal’s Dracula, and Hammer’s update, and while some of these versions arrive in the same vein, one of the most unique is “Blade.” The 1998 film starring Wesley Snipes delivers a blood-soaked, action-packed vampire flick.
“Blade” begins with a woman giving birth to a child, which we discover is Blade (Wesley Snipes), a half-vampire, dubbed a “daywalker.” Jumping to present day, we see a man being led into a club. All seems fine and dandy until blood spurts from sprinklers in the ceiling, at which point he realizes he’s in a vampire club. Thankfully for him, Blade shows up and wreaks all havoc upon the club goers. The proprietor, Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a troublemaker in the vampire community, escapes but his close associate Quinn (Donal Logue) is severely injured. Taken to the hospital, he bites a hematologist, Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) before Blade arrives.
Blade takes Dr. Jenson back to his hideout where his partner Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) helps patch her up. Concurrently, Frost incites turmoil within the ranks of the vampire elders. Deacon feels that humans are inferior and should therefore be governed by the creatures of the night. He hatches a plan to resurrect La Marga, a bloodgod, with which he hopes to gain total control.
The 1998 vampire romp is unique in primarily relying on action, a much appreciated change from the norm. At the same time, “Blade” maintains a highly stylized look evoking traditional vampire lore, with some updated twists. Particularly, the rave culture, and Blade’s gothic appearance lend a retro-modern lens. Wesley Snipes’ sarcastic, wise-cracking vampire hunter further sets “Blade” apart in the subgenre. He strikes a pleasing balance of tongue-in-cheek and badassery which propels the film to greatness. Visually stunning, overflowing with awesome fight sequences, and sincerely funny, “Blade” is one of the most underrated vampire, and Marvel, films.