BLADE [1998 / 2018] [Exclusive Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
The Power of an Mortal! The Soul of a Human! The Heart of a Hero!
Wesley Snipes stars as the tortured soul, Blade – half man, half mortal, possessing powers greater than any man or creature of the night. Blade sharpens his lethal skills under the guidance of Abraham Whistler [Kris Kristofferson] guardian and also a professional vampire hunter of the night. When the bloodthirsty Immortals lord, Deacon Frost [Stephen Dorff], declares war on the human race, Blade is humanity's last hope for survival.
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1998 The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards: Nomination: Worst Actor for Wesley Snipes. 1999 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Nomination: Best Horror Film. Nomination: Best Make-Up for Greg Cannom and Michael Germain. 1999 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards: Win: Top Box Office Film for Mark Isham. 1999 Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA: Nomination: Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing, Sound Effects and Foley. 1999 MTV Movie + TV Awards: Win: Best Villain for Stephen Dorff. Nomination: Best Fight Scene for Wesley Snipes for the fight against vampires.
FILM FACT No.2: Marvel Studios had developed the film as early as 1992, when rapper/actor LL Cool J was interested in playing the lead role. ‘BLADE’ was eventually set up at New Line Cinema, with David Goyer writing the script. According to David S. Goyer, New Line Cinema originally wanted to do ‘BLADE’ as "something that was almost a spoof" before the writer convinced them otherwise. After failing to get a ‘Black Panther’ film into production, in 1996 Wesley Snipes signed on to star as Blade. ‘BLADE’ was produced on a budget of $45 million and principal photography commenced on 5th February, 1997, in large part done in Los Angeles, with some scenes being shot in Death Valley. All sets were constructed, and all on-set filming occurred, in what was formerly the Redken Shampoo factory in Canoga Park. The effects for the film were done by Flat Earth Production. The first cut of the film was 140 minutes long and it had a disastrous test screening with audiences. The most significant change was the addition of the final sword fight between Blade and Deacon Frost, which did not exist in the original cut ending.
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, Arly Jover, Traci Lords, Kevin Patrick Walls, Tim Guinee, Sanaa Lathan, Eric Edwards, Donna Wong, Carmen Thomas, Shannon Lee, Kenny Johnson, Clint Curtis, Judson Scott, Sidney S. Liufau, Keith Leon Williams, Andray Johnson, Stephen R. Peluso, Marcus Aurelius, John Enos III, Eboni Adams, Lyle Conway, Freeman White III, D.V. DeVincentis, Marcus Salgado, Esau McKnight Jr., Erl Van Douglas, Matt Schulze, Lennox Brown, Yvette Ocampo, Irena Stepic, Jenya Lano, Levani, Richard 'Dr.' Baily (uncredited), Ron Cobert (uncredited), Nikki DiSanto (uncredited), Ryan Glorioso (uncredited), Al Goto (uncredited), Jeff Imada (uncredited), Steven Ito (uncredited), (uncredited), Elliott James (uncredited), Ted King (uncredited), Henry Kingi (uncredited), Will Leong (uncredited), David Matthiessen (uncredited), Stephen Norrington (uncredited), Gerald Okamura (uncredited), Frankie Ray (uncredited), Simon Rhee (uncredited), Carrie Seeley (uncredited), Michael Stumpf (uncredited) and Beth Theriac (uncredited)
Director: Stephen Norrington
Producers: Andrew J. Horne, Avi Arad, Jon Divens, Joseph Calamari, Lynn Harris, Michael De Luca (uncredited), Peter Frankfurt, Robert Engelman Stan Lee and Wesley Snipes
Screenplay: David Goyer
Composer: Mark Isham
Cinematography: Theo Van De Sande, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
German: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Spanish [Castilian]: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Spanish [Latin]: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Português: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Czech: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Russian: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, German, Italian, Spanish [Castilian], Dutch, Spanish [Latin], Português, Czech, and Russian
Running Time: 120 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘BLADE’  is adapted from a Marvel Comics series, and is set in a fictional world in which vampires have existed alongside man for thousands of years, making secret pacts with human power establishments which allow them to harvest discreetly and amass wealth and power with minimal harassment from or even notice by regular humans.
These are high-tech vampires, whose arsenal includes electronically locked coffins, supercomputers to manage their finances and translate ancient texts, and (of course) infinite SPF sunscreen and chic sunglasses for the occasional venture into the light. An aristocracy of "purebloods" those born as vampires, rather than created by attacks on human’s rules over the far more numerous vampires created through attacks on humans.
Blade is played by Wesley Snipes, using his considerable physical gifts in the action scenes, is a sort of uneasy hybrid of vampire and human, the child of a woman killed in a vampire attack at the very end of her pregnancy. Blade inherited the vampire's speed, strength and senses, but none of their vulnerabilities. Blade owes his name to his inordinate fondness for bladed weapons, which he uses to dispatch vampires one or two at a time and also preferring machine guns with garlic-packed silver hollow point ammo for the heavy work for also getting rid of vampires very efficiently.
The story pits a trio of good guys: Blade; his broken-down scraggly-haired human mentor, Abraham Whistler [Kris Kristofferson], and Dr. Karen Jenson [N'Bushe Wright], a resourceful haematologist team up against the forces of evil. Leading the bad guys is wiry, sneering Deacon Frost [Stephen Dorff], a rancid hippie-style vampire rebel who wants to overthrow the fussy over-cautious vampire old guard and get down to the business of world domination. Blade sets out on a quest to avenge his mother's death and killing as many vampires as possible along the way, while carving a swath through the vampire community in their unidentified major city, a very unrecognizable Los Angeles was used for exterior locations.
There's more: infighting between the pure-blooded and turned human vampires, talk of a plan to resurrect the vampire's ancient "Blood God" and trigger a "vampire holocaust" and a search for a cure for vampirism. The film strives for certain intensity, and achieves it, at least early on; with the music, camera work, choreography and sometimes genuinely novel special effects on the action sequences all work together to create precisely the high-energy effect the filmmakers were clearly shooting for.
In one of the nastiest scenes, Deacon Frost and his fellow rebels, wearing suits and crash helmets that protect them from the sun, takes the senior vampire leader Dragonetti [Udo Kier] to a beach where Deacon Frost violently pulls out his fangs with pliers and gleefully watch as the rising sun decomposes Dragonetti.
It hardly comes as a surprise that Stephen Norrington, the director, has done extensive work in music videos. Running just over 2 hours ‘BLADE’ it certainly does not seem to drag at all; the pace of the film keeps you well entertained. The action sequences are totally spectacular. The film does excel at creating the impression that ordinary people go about their lives like sheep, completely unaware of the dark presence of vampires all around them. Conflicts sometimes play out in very public places. One of the best moments is when Dr. Karen Jenson finally meets up with her annoying ex-boyfriend and who has finally got his comeuppance.
The film ‘BLADE’ is awash not only in blood, but in the demons' mythical arena as well. The battle scenes are pure comic-book derring-do replete with acrobatics borrowed from Hong Kong action thrillers and continual morphing. When a vampire is destroyed, it can go through one of several transformations. Sometimes it is shredded into a cinder. At other times, it bloats into a grotesquely contorted balloon that explodes with a sickening splat. Or it can turn into a miniature skeleton whizzing around in a hellish spirit world. Mr. Wesley Snipes seems to have finally found a role in which he appears comfortable. All he has to do here is look enigmatically heroic and occasionally get roaring mad.
One of the things that ‘BLADE’ was known for is the action scenes and the same is true for this film. In fact the action scenes in this films are the best thing about the film because it's where a lot of the kick ass stuff happens and it's not just Blade that's getting in on the action either all of the main cast get their own action scene in the film and there all really cool to watch. I could mention the fact that Wesley Snipes does a lot of various martial arts in this film that there all really cool to look at. Overall if you haven’t seen this film then I highly recommend that you seek it out and yes it has it's cheesy moments but it has a lot more badass moments so it gets a 5 star rating from me.
BLADE MUSIC TRACK LIST
CONFUSION (Pump Panel Recon Mix) (Written by Stephen Morris, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert and Arthur Baker) [Performed by New Order]
BAD MOON RISING (Written by John Fogerty) [Performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival]
UT1-DOT (Written by Aphex Twin) (aka Richard D. James) [Performed by Polygon Window]
AH SINGAPORE (Written by Naoko Yamano) [Performed by Shonen Knife]
YEAH (Written by DJ Krush) [Performed by DJ Krush]
DIG THIS VIBE (Written by DJ Krush) [Performed by DJ Krush]
PLAYING WITH LIGHTNING (Written by Chylow Parker, Fredro Starr (aka Fredro Scruggs), Sticky Fingaz (aka Kirk Jones), Sonee Seeza (aka Tyrone Taylor), George Rodriguez and James Bernard) [Performed by Expansion Union] [Contains a sample of "Shiftee" Performed by Onyx]
DANCING WITH THE ROSTER (Written by Tom Holkenborg and Patrick Ian Tilon) [Performed by Junkie XL]
SOLEIL (Written by Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg) [Performed by Solitaire]
ECLIPSE (Written by Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg) [Performed by Solitaire]
FEARLESS (Written by Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg) [Performed by Solitaire]
CALL & RESPONSE (Written by James Baker and Philip Aslett) [Performed by Source Direct]
RAINBOW VOICE (Written by David Hykes) [Performed by David Hykes from "Hearing Solar Winds"]
ETHER (Written by Matt Walker) [Performed by Siren]
GO GET IT ON (Written by Kelly Reverb and Chad Littlepage) [Performed by Southside Reverb]
RATTLE THE FEAR (Written by Steve Snow, Jimmy Hawes and Tom Maxwell) [Performed by Spirit Fire Child]
NI TEN ICHI RYU (Two Swords Technique) (Written by Photek) [Performed by Photek]
CHIN CHIN (Written by Damien Wagner) [Performed by Bang Wa Cherry and DJ June and features Japanese Schoolgirl Rap] [Played in the Night Club scene]
Blu-ray Image Quality – New Line Cinema presents us with a stunning 1080p image and is enhanced with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This action pact vampire film looks fantastic and also looks utterly filmic and faithfully produced. Theo Van de Sande, A.S.C. cinematography is equally impressive. The grain is very natural looking and is equally excellent. Colours are bright and again look very natural for the urban gritty environment setting, but at the same time, the colours can be very bold, especially the blood is very natural looking. Blacks are rich and inky. Also day a night shots are equally impressive and very natural looking. So all in all, the image presentation is totally excellent.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – New Line Cinema brings us a spectacular 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio experience. New Line Cinema has given us a new upgraded audio presentation that gives vigour and drive. The rear speaker’s leap to our attention and all of the speakers get a really good workout, especially when it comes to the scenes where we see the vampires disintegrating, gunfire, explosions, hurling stakes, bladed weapons, created a very immersive, and three dimensional enveloping audio experiences all around you. Throughout the film, directional effects are generally precise and very effective. Dialogue is very precise and easily understood. So all in all, this audio presentation gets a five star rating from me.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary with Actor/Producer Wesley Snipes, Actor Steven Dorff, Screenwriter David Goyer, Producer Peter Frankfurt, Production Designer Kirk M. Petruccelli and Director of Photography Theo Van De Sande: Here we are welcomed to the New Line Cinema DVD Platinum Edition for the film ‘BLADE’ and of course we get to hear comments from Wesley Snipes, Steven Dorff, David Goyer, Peter Frankfurt, Kirk M. Petruccelli and Theo Van De Sande. With this audio commentary, the six people giving an opinion about the film ‘BLADE’ and is kind of slightly disorienting, especially as no one is in the room at the same time, and it was all edited together with separate recordings, but I suppose one bonus factor is that all of them give some awesome in-depth information about the film and its long process of getting the film finished, especially about what went on behind-the scene. First up to start the audio commentary marathon is David Goyer, who comments about the start of the film, as they wanted to start the film as a sort of prologue showing us when Blade was born in a hospital after his mother has been bitten by a vampire and wanted to make this Vampire film different from other vampire films. Peter Frankfurt and Theo Van De Sande talks about the next set up scene with the naïve boyfriend being taken to the Vampire Disco, which is set in a deep freeze meat packing plant and it was very important to have the shower heads in the ceiling, so that the dancers got showered with the blood, to give an evil presence and of course the boyfriend realises he has walked into a trap and of course is eventually saved by Blade. With Wesley Snipes comments, he tends to waffle and pontificate total nonsense and I have no idea what the hell he was talking about. The only thing he talks about that I understood about scenes where he does stunts, which were in fact done by a stuntman double. When the burnt vampire is brought into the hospital for an autopsy, and suddenly leaps up and the male and female doctors getting bitten, they loved it when the audiences screamed with this particular scene. When Stephen Dorf was approached and read the script, he was very interested to be in the film, but normally does not like main stream films, or want to appear in silly comic book vampire films, but when he found out that he was working with Wesley Snipes, he was very excited, he also liked the fact that this vampire film was set in modern times. The place Blade takes the bitten female Doctor to be treated by Abraham Whistler, we are told it was filmed in an abandoned place where they use to make shell casings for World War II and the Vietnam Ware, but now it is a partially open Fabrication plant. Stephen Dorf comments that working with the actor Udo Kier was a really great guy and kept Stephen laughing a lot and is at the same time very funny and has in the past played camp characters, but in this film he is very serious, and Stephen Dorf was very sad when he had to kill Udo Kier’s vampire character, as again he was very fun to be around with on the film set. The vampire symbol you see on the buildings was based on an original ancient Chinese manual and we are told the symbol relates to the power of the mins and spirituality and also that symbol is seen as neon signs, because they felt it looked very clean and very organic. Someone says that his favourite lines in the film, is when Blade says, “There are worse things out tonight than vampires, and Dr. Karen Jenson says, “What” and Blade says, “Like me” and it was paraphrased from one of the Blade comic books. They mention that the use of crosses is old fashioned and do not make much sense, whereas the Blade’s sword is much more effective. They also felt there was far too much dialogue and would have preferred to cut a lot of the dialogue out, but I personally disagree, as the dialogue adds so much more to the film, especially with the big ending of the film, as the dialogue gives so much more insight in the modern day vampire world. Theo Van De Sande talks about the underground railway scene, especially after Blade, Dr. Karen Jenson and Abraham Whistler escape from the Vampires, and of course there is actually no underground train, as it was all produced by CGI computer technology and also the “Green Screen” effect was used. There was a very interesting comment said, where they say that the Vampire films genre have been done to death, especially when it comes to vampire killers and also shows vampires as dark mysterious creatures, and people have tended to get tired of this portrayal of vampires, especially as there have been roughly 300 Vampire films have been made and of course there is only so many variations of story synopsis one can evolve, especially concentrating on the vampires and their victims. When Blade finds his friend Abraham Whistler near dead, originally Blade executes his friend, but they felt it was much better to have Blade give him his gun to end his life via his own hand. When they read the first draft of the screenplay, they thought it was quite good, apart from one exception, and that was the last 20 minutes of the film, in how Blade disposes Deacon Frost, and instead ended up very similar with the final screenplay on how Deacon Frost finally gets his comeuppance in a very satisfying way. As we get near to the end of the film where Blade and Deacon Frost, who is now the “Blood God” and are both fighting to eliminate each other and Stephen Dorf informs us that he had to wear red contact lenses and could hardly see out of them and so had to be guided verbally with the final sword fight showdown. They also liked it when Blade says, “Some Mother Fu##er is always trying to ice skate up hill,” which of course is referring to Deacon Frost in thinking he has outwitted Blade and will not give up, but of course as I said earlier, Deacon Frost eventually gets his justified comeuppance, which at the film’s preview, the audience stood up and cheered at his demise. As we come to the end of the film and the end credits start to appear on the screen, Wesley Snipes says, “If you thought the stuff what we did in ‘BLADE’ was hot, we’re going mad the next time, because we know what our mistakes are now, and we know how to do things more economically, and I think, plus people will have a little more trust in us, because they know we can get it in on time, and it works, and it gets a results that we are looking for.” So what did I think of this audio commentary, well about the first half I was getting totally confused who was speaking who was involved with certain jobs in the film, but at the start for about 15 minutes we are informed who is about to speak about certain aspects about the film, on top of all that, there was about 50% of the time where a lot of pompous waffle rubbish was spoken, the other 50% of the audio commentary where hear some quite interesting relevant information about the making of the film, especially the director saying he wanted to reflect on modern day vampires, so try and give this audio commentary a go and see if you agree with my comments about certain comments made by the six people involved with this audio commentary, so happy listening.
Special Feature: La Magra  [480i] [1.37:1] [14:08] This very informative short documentary, which was originally an extra featured on the ‘BLADE’  inferior DVD. We find out that Wesley Snipes was approached to appear in the film ‘Black Panther’ and because it was taking too long to start filming, Wesley Snipes decided to do ‘BLADE,’ especially when he read the script and was very keen to do a lot of Marshall Arts in the film. Kirk M. Petruccelli shows us some of his cool storyboard illustrations. We get a rare deleted clip from the film with a scene where Humans are kept in cold storage for future blood supplies. We also get another deleted clip near the end of the film where Steven Dorff becomes the “Blood God,” which runs to just over 7 minutes and 16 seconds and at a preview with this particular ending the audiences rejected this scene, so the ending we see is the approved ending. Contributors include: Michael De Luca (President of Production), Peter Frankfurt (Producer), Kirk M. Petruccelli (Production Designer) and David Goyer (Screenwriter).
Special Feature: Designing ‘BLADE’  [1080i] [1.37:1] [22:31] This another cool documentary about the mind-set and thinking behind designing all aspect of Blade. We are shown some wonderful slick colourful illustrations by Tony Koni of his concept designs for scenes in ‘BLADE.’ We are also shown some of Mark Messenger’s wonderful concept design illustrations for Blades arsenal of weapons to dispose of vampires. We are also shown Patrick Janicke’s concept designs for Blade’s futuristic motorcycle and his super charged sleek black car. We also get shown some wonderful concept illustrations of Blade’s head tattoo designs. Jeff Ward wanted the martial arts stunts to be like the film ‘Sword of Doom’ . We also get to see some behind-the-scene “Green Screen” filming in the underground train sequence. Richard “Dr.” Baily talks about the massive amounts of CGI special effects he had to produce in a short space of time. All in all, this was an adequate presentation. I recommend this to any fan of the film and anyone in general, who wants to know more about the look, choreography and FX special effects for the film ‘BLADE.’ Contributors include: Kirk M. Petruccelli (Production Designer), Greg Cannom (Cannom Creations), Jeff Ward (Stunt Coordinator) and Richard “Dr.” Baily (Special Effects Producer).
Special Feature: The Origins of Blade: A Look at Dark Comics  [480i] [1.37:1] [12:10] This short documentary talks more about the comic code and the bonus is an interview with the brilliant Stan Lee and talks in-depth about the history other comic books especially like EC Comics who sometimes went outside the Comic Book code because of their portrayal of very gratuitous violence and because of this EC Comics finally went out of business, and how Blade as a vampire was totally outside the code, as he was a very dark character. We learn that David Goyer thought Blade would have made a good film when he was 14 years old and was a keen fan of the comic books genre especially featuring Blade and especially he feels the source material represents our heroes and you learn a lot about morality, heroism and justice like Spiderman, Captain America and Superman. David Goyer also comments that successful comic books have to be well written, as well as including a lot of excitement and anger, especially for the 14 year old market, but of course now an older generation have become comic book fans, who have bypassed the younger generation, and who now buy more of the comic books than the younger generation. Contributors include: David Goyer (Screenwriter), Stan Lee (American comic book writer) and Gareb Shamus (President & Publisher of Wizard Entertainment/ CEO of ACE Comic Con).
Special Feature: The Blood Tide  [480i] [1.37:1] [20:02] With this special feature they talk about the history of blood and its role in everything from theology and history, as well as medicine, and they also talk about the mythology and literature and beyond of vampires lore throughout time that goes back about 2,000 years and of course they talk about Vlad the Impaler. They also comment that women were first written about being vampires. Mick Farren (1943 – 2013) comments that he was very pleased how successful ‘BLADE’ was, especially liked the fact that it had no quasi scientific background, and is a product of our fantasy world, and because the world is getting unmanageable, people now want films that they can escape into their fantasy world. They say that because religion is on the wane, people are reverting back to the old wives tales, alternative medicine, because the unknown is much more interesting, especially when one comes to the end of one century and we enter a new century. This may only be of interest if you are into all this type of subject, but it will also show you about the film and we also get to view rare look at behind-the-scene of filming the ‘BLADE’ film. Contributors include: Father Gregory Coiro, O.F.M. Cap. [Archdiocese of Los Angeles], Dr. Gary Schiller MD [Assoc. Professor of Medicine UCLA], Dr. J. Gordon Melton [Author of “Encyclopaedia of Vampires”], Nina Auerback [Author of “Vampires Ourselves”], David Goyer [Screenwriter], Brian Clemens [Writer, Director of ‘Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter’ and Co-producer of ‘The Avengers’] and Mick Farren [Authof of “The Time of Feasting”].
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2.40:1] [2:09] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘BLADE.’
Finally, ‘BLADE’ directed by Stephen Norrington from a screenplay by David Goyer, obviously wants to be the first of many episodes for cult follows of this film and I am one of them. Although the opening scene suggests a dark urban satire, ‘BLADE’ quickly turns into a stylish futuristic action-adventure yarn in which Blade is the only thing keeping humanity from being exterminated by vampires in a haematological holocaust. The film is awash not only in blood, but in the demons' mythical arcana as well. The battle scenes are pure comic-book derring-do replete with acrobatics borrowed from Hong Kong action thrillers and continual morphing. When a vampire is destroyed, it can go through one of several transformations. Sometimes it is shredded into a cinder. At other times, it bloats into a grotesquely contorted balloon that explodes with a sickening splat. Or it can turn into a miniature skeleton whizzing around in a hellish spirit world. The story pits a trio of good guys – Blade; his broken-down scraggly-haired human mentor, Abraham Whistler [Kris Kristofferson], and Dr. Karen Jenson [N'Bushe Wright], is a very resourceful haematologist who all fights against the forces of evil. Leading the bad guys is wiry, sneering Deacon Frost [Stephen Dorff], a rancid hippie-style rebel who wants to overthrow the fussy over-cautious vampire old guard and get down to the business of world domination. In one of the nastiest scenes, he and his fellow rebels, wearing suits that protect them from the sun, lead the senior vampire leader Dragonetti to a beach where they yank out his fangs with pliers and gleefully watch as the rising sun decomposes him. Mr. Wesley Snipes seems to have finally found a role in which he appears comfortable in and plays the part really well. All he has to do here is look enigmatically heroic and occasionally gets roaring mad. Visually, ‘BLADE’ is an unqualified triumph. This seems to be a common trait of films based on, inspired by, or influenced by comic books. In fact, the atmosphere is so well-developed that it's easy to forget how derivative and repetitive the plot is, and to get lost in the dark ominousness of Blade's paranoid, vampire-filled world. ‘BLADE’ is fuelled by a kinetic energy, and there are scenes, such as the opening dance club sequence, that function as exotic, erotic assaults on the senses. ‘BLADE’ has the capacity to dazzle, and for just over 120 minutes I was very well entertained and so pleased it as now gone into my SteelBook Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso