Directed by: Stephen Norrington
Cast: Wesley Snipes (Blade), Stephen Dorff (Deacon Frost), Kris Kristofferson, (Abraham Whistler)
Sometimes you really wish CGI had never been invented. Watching the end of Blade is one of those times. The film starts promisingly enough as a kind of martial arts Godfather with vampires, full of political power struggles within a bloodsucking Mafia. Sadly, it ends up as Raiders Of The Lost Coffin with a badly-judged computer generated finalé in which Tom and Jerry cartoon violence replaces gore.
It’s a shame, because Blade could have been great. Instead it ends up entertaining and visually impressive, but a missed opportunity. The stylish opening scenes – with blood-drenched necksucker nightclubs, the introduction of the vampire hunter Blade (Snipes) and the genuinely chilling premise that the Nosferatu have formed into an organised crime syndicate – are handled effectively by director Norrington, whose pop video sensibilities are balanced by economical editing, decent pacing and a brooding John Carpenter-style soundtrack. While Snipes may exhibit all the acting talent of a Lego roof tile, Blade’s hardly the kind of role that requires much range anyway, so his one-expression-is-all portrayal does the job competently.
The film sustains its initial impetus through the first half, where we discover that Blade is part vampire himself, but becoming resistant to the serum that stops him thirsting for blood, while chief baddie Deacon Frost (Dorff) bullies his way to the top of the vampire underworld.
It all goes wrong when the “masterplan” is revealed, though, and we learn that Frost wants to resurrect ancient vampire gods. The change is gradual, but soon the film descends into dodgy fantasy. It’s likeGoodfellas ending with the parting of the Red Sea. It makes you wonder if the film would have lost its way so badly if it hadn’t had CGI to fall back on. Just because you can create chambers full of naff-looking bat creatures doesn’t mean you have to.