Blade (1999)
Directed by Stephen Norrington

Starring Kris Kristofferson Stephen Dorff Udo Kier Wesley Snipes

Not since "Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires" had one vampire movie delivered so much chop-socky action in a single two hours.

Actually "Blade" is perhaps the quintessential action movie of the 1990s and one of the best horror films from that decade. It borrowed from everywhere—"Die Hard," "Aliens," "Near Dark," "The Hunger," "Super Cop"—but also influenced so many movies that came after it, not the least of which was "The Matrix," that it deserves to be rememberd as a classic. It's difficult to underestimate the importance of "Blade." It predated the superhit comics films of the 2000s ("Spiderman, "X Men", "Batman Begins") yet when you watch it in 2008, it feels like it could have been released yesterday -- aside from the electro-heavy soundtrack. Particularly memorable is a vampire rave featured at the opening of the film, where blood suckers dance and are then showered in blood by a sprinkler system.

Snipes is Blade, a superhero-like half vampire whose mother was bitten just before he was born. He has all the strength of a vampire, but none of the weaknesses—although he needs to intake a special serum to prevent himself from wanting blood.In addition to being a martial arts expert, he also has an impressive collection of weapons, including exploding bullets packed with garlic and a powerful sun lamp.

There's nothing that scary in the film, but there is plenty of gore—and, best of all, Udo Kier ("Blood for Dracula"), playing a vampire elder who finds his authority challenged by an upstart, chain-smoking bad guy (Dorff) who wants to be king of the vampires himself. The film was bloody enough to be banned in Malaysia. The make-up effects are bold and impressive, particularly in a scene where Kier is roasted alive in the sunlight. There are quite a few similarities between this film and "30 Days of Night" too, although this movie is much, much better.

Director Norrington, who previously did special effects work on "Alien 3" and made his directorial debut with the rather good "Death Machine," did an amazing job with "Blade."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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