Blade - * * 1/2*


Blade is the latest entry in Hollywood’s continuing obsession with vampires. Based upon a comic book, Blade feels more like Batman than Dracula. Packed to the gills (or should that be fangs) with crowd-pleasing fight scenes and mindless action, Blade is a pleasant enough popcorn movie that may not break any new ground, but has a fun time right where it is.

Wesley Snipes is Blade, a half-human, half-vampire superhero. He inherited his unique bloodline when his pregnant mother was attacked by an unknown vampire. Due to his heritage, Blade possesses a vampire’s strength and reflexes, yet a human’s tolerance for sunlight.

As an adult, Blade spends his nights waging war against vampires, who have secretly infiltrated all aspects of our society. Helped by his aging mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade single-handedly destroys hundreds of the bloodsuckers every night.

But the vampires have larger plans in mind. Particularly one young upstart, Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), who sets about trying to fulfill an ancient vampire prophecy. Can Blade stop his nefarious plans in time? Need you even ask?

A movie like Blade doesn’t concern itself too much with reality, nor should it. If it did, it would have to ponder such questions as what vampires would eat after converting the last human (as is proposed at one point in the film). No, rather the film is pure escapism, and works well on that level.

Blade has mastered the art of the one-strike kill, to the point that a few of the fight scenes are overly repetitive. At times, it seems like the bad guys line up in a single file queue, and Blade sequentially kills them one at a time. Shouldn’t vampires be a bit tougher to kill? But, on the whole, the fights are enjoyable diversions.

Too bad the same can’t be said of Snipes’ acting. He delivers each and every line with the same clenched-jaw monotone. He’s proven that he can successfully tackle a tough part, but here he is simply slumming.

The special effects in Blade are a mixed bag. A few of the effects are done very well, such as the disintegration of dead vampires. However, others are positively cartoonish, and don’t blend well with the tone of the rest of the film.

For the most part, Blade delivers on its promises. It’s got vampires, violence, guns, swordfights, stunts and special effects galore. If those sound appealing, Blade fits the bill.

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