OOM #21 – Blade (1998)

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Hello everyone to the best hideout of the internet, how do you say? Well, no one will find you here, since no one ever visits! Ok, I’m being rough, I’ve been having some comments from people that I’m very grateful  about, so I’ll take the chance to say thank you to anyone that takes some time from their busy schedule to read the insane blabbering that I try to put out every day, to all of you, I salute you. So, today I have a new movie review for you, of horror films like we’re used to, in this October Overlook Madness, and this one comes from my list of horror films I must see, and this one is the result of a jump between 1990 to 1998, since there aren’t viewable films in that era that belong in the horror genre (I’ve mentioned a couple of TV series before that are impossible to see in certain days, so, no). And why do we watch a movie from the list? Because Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness decided to tackle the first movie directed by the late master Wes Craven, ‘The Last House on the Left’ (1972), and you can watch the video he did here, and I think that all he says there is true, but I can’t really recommend it, as I find it horrifying and tremendously horrific and realistic, but at the same time silly beyond measure. So, what are we left with? Oh, yes, this comic book adaptation before comic book adaptations were cool.

So, this is an action movie with horror elements. I can work with that. There’s one thing I can’t work with, or at least it’s jarring to look at today, and that’s the abundance of special effects for really complicated actions in the first ten minutes of this movie, and sadly I don’t think even for the standards of 1998 they were specially great effects, I mean, I remember the Men in Black movies having more fun and yet becoming more impressive than anything in this that involves the explosion and disintegration of vampire bodies against the gunfire, slashing or punches of Blade himself. I mean, I’m not going to actually discuss the quality of special effects, as I’ve been prone to be forgiving and understanding of the context, and honestly when I see Godzilla films I don’t talk about the quality of the special effects, because it doesn’t matter as it belongs to a genre in specific and one comes to expect certain characteristics and qualities, yet in this movie it seemed weird, but it was quickly recovered when the next sequence in the hospital made an impressive use of makeup and practical special effects, where a charred vampire corpse comes to life and has its limbs cut off by Blade. The rest of the film is this strange mixture of these two kinds of effects, that when tries to make a spectacular explosion comes up with still weak CGI, and the rest of the time it has this certainly effective make up and creature effects that make it amazing to see how they work, even though one can see the “fake-ness” of these, it is certainly much more charming and at times surprising.

This is also a big budget studio film, and it shows due to its length, being almost two hours long, and how it proposes a story that has a logical continuation into the future (this movie had two sequels and a TV animated series), and thus it seems weightless and the villains become less prominent and much more like the anticipation of something bigger that never comes to fruition. The side characters are our ways into the story, but I’d say that most of them weren’t needed, and while it’s great to see certain characters in these kind of roles, specially when one thinks of diversity, I personally instantly liked Wesley Snipes as Blade, as much as little acting that goes into the character, and not because of how “badass” he seems to be, but mainly because he is a character with his own speech pattern, and one of the first things he says is “Mother fucker! Are you out of your damn mind?”, and that instantly brings him closer to the audience, and hence the character of Karen seems more like a necessity of the studio that needs to shoehorn not only a romance, but a female lead so it becomes more accessible. And the films has that kind of blockbuster structure that I’ve come to detect, where the “human” character falls into this world and has this reckoning that the world in which she lived isn’t what she thought it was, and you know, classic Hero’s Travel stuff that here works a bit too much and becomes evident for the viewer as it mixes up with action film tropes that further deviate this film from the horror genre and put it into the thriller action spectrum with lots of blood put in for good measure. I guess it’s the presence of vampires that make it stand out from the rest.

But I can see how this movie could’ve been successful, specially because it’s not a bad movie, and it works well in the world of the late 90’s where it existed, with the overbearing soundtrack, the serviceable “tin” cinematography, Jeff Bridges fresh off ‘The Big Lebowski’ (1998), and more important than anything else: the time when Wesley Snipes was a relevant character in cinema. This film works like a clockwork, like a good blockbuster should, and while it shows its teeth many times, it is an issue with structure that prevents it from becoming something major. I wonder how the sequels fare?

7/10

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One response to “OOM #21 – Blade (1998)

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