Customer Reviews: Blade
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HALL OF FAMEon October 5, 2002
Good action vampire stories, whether written, drawn or on film are just plain hard to find. For a while now the 'not quite bad' vampire and even the 'good' vampire have been fashionable. Not that I have anything against Angel or Henry Fitzroy and their ilk, but sometimes you want a story with a clear division between good and evil and a lot of knock them down and stake them action. Enter Blade.
Blade is a half vampire with a very nasty attitude toward his relatives on the dark side. Played by Wesley Snipes, he has all the moves and attitude you could ever want. His partner in his war against the things that did in his mother is Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Later, Karen (N'Bushe Wright) a forensic hematologist who has the bad luck to find a vampire on her table, joins them. Opposing this team is Frost (Steven Dorff), a vampire rebel who thinks it is time for the un-people with pointy teeth to come out of the closet. His plan is simple. Take over the vampire council, capture Blade and resurrect La Magra - the blood god. Then there will be nothing but vampires and bloodsicles.
'Blade' is an extremely violent film. Almost everyone is a martial arts expert, has access to what the US Congress would consider weapons of mass destruction, or is a victim. Sometimes, they are all three. Toss in a sufficiency of special effects, great settings, and good acting and you have the film. What makes 'Blade' work is its intense focus. It works hard at being exactly what it is - an action film with a strong 'wow' factor. Sometimes that is exactly what you need.
Steven Norrington, a director considerable experience in the horror/science fiction genre, has a great sense of what it takes to make comic book characters come to life on the screen. He manages to retain the strong visual impact of the original Marvel Comics series. David Goyer's script manages to capture the essence of comic book dialogue - sparse, but not stilted. The overall effect is a film that builds smoothly from start to ending, with very few slow moments.
The extras on the DVD are surprisingly good. Good sized features on the concepts and effects that went into the film, the story of the Blade comic, and an interesting survey of the vampire in human imagination. In addition, there is an extensive running commentary for the film. All of these are intelligently done. I think 'Blade,' despite its violence, will appeal a wide range of viewers as something more than just another Hong Kong fight film wannabe.
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on November 17, 2009
I'm giving this Two Stars not because of the film itself but for the following three complaints I have with this disc (I'm a huge fan of the movies, I have all three and have watched them dozens of times):

1. Price: $25.49 is awfully expensive for a movie that's been out for 11 years. Especially considering that much newer movies (e.g. "Watchmen: The Director's Cut", loaded with extras, btw) are going for lower. The aforementioned "Watchmen" is nearly $10 cheaper.

Surely a $35 or $40 boxed set of all three Blade films could have been issued.

2. Quality of Transfer

The transfer is hardly stunning and hardly worth the aforementioned price. Both my Blu-Ray player (a 120GB PS3, the very latest version of Sony's flagship console) and my HD-DVD player (a Toshiba A-30) upscale/up-res standard DVDs and I cannot tell the difference between THIS Blu-Ray transfer and the upscaled SD-DVD. Thus I'm feeling more than a little taken advantage of. Unfortunately, Amazon's policy limits me to a 50% refund, if they give me one at all. This film is still part of the best Vampire franchise out there (so far), in my opinion, but stick to the standard DVD versions. Not only do you get the extras, but since there's no discernible difference in picture quality, you'll also save yourself a good bit of cash.

3. No extras

Unfortunately, I missed the notice, which is just a single line of print, that no extras were included which scotches my reason for returning the disc. Surely this notification should have been bolded or rendered in a different color, something that would catch the eye better.

Although, in general, I am not a big fan of extras (with certain exceptions, they are rarely worth watching), I think a Blu-Ray release should at least contain everything on the original DVD release. After all, there's more than enough room on a BR disc to accommodate everything on a Standard DVD release since all BR videos are 50GB discs. And "Blade" will fit on a 4.7GB DVD (i.e. a single layer disc) WITHOUT the extras. Therefore, there's no reason NOT to include the extras given the huge amount of space the BR gives the studio for extra content.

Thus, if Blade requires 4.7GB of space for its 2 hours in Standard Definition, multiplying it by 6 (since we are constantly reminded that "Blu-Ray has SIX TIMES--!!!--the definition of DVD!"), that still leaves 26GB for extras, more than enough if these are left in standard def (as the majority of extras are).

Finally, as for the difference in aspect ratios: this is not an issue for me. Both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD normally use a 2.40:1 ratio (resulting in slightly smaller black bars bordering the film) and, strictly, speaking, I suppose, the original aspect ratio should have been preserved. However, the increase (?) in aspect ratio does NOT result in a distorted picture so I don't feel this is a drawback.
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on July 11, 2012
Blade Blu-ray Review

Year: 1998 | Rating: R | Runtime: 2 HRS

Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1 | Video Resolution: 1080P
Audio: Eng 6.1 DTS-HD MA, Ger. DD 5.1, Ita. DD 5.1, Rus. DD 5.1, more | Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Czech, Dutch, Russian

Director: Stephen Norrington
Writer: David S. Goyer
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Donald Logue, and Udo Kier

Film Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Video Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Audio Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 Stars
Overall Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Blade has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a long time. Its not high art, it hasn't aged particularly well, and it stars Wesley Snipes who ranks just above Steven Seagal on the "I actually own movies starring this guy" embarrassment-meter. Nevertheless I'm a fan of comic book films, vampires, and R-rated action films and Blade delivers the goods and is a lot more fun than it deserves to be.

Wesley Snipes is Blade; a human-vampire hybrid that hunts his blood thirsty cousins with the aide of his hillbilly pseudo-father Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Blade is feared by the vampire population but a particularly bloodthirsty vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) has an ambitious plan to destroy Blade and enslave the human race.

If you go into Blade expecting Interview with the Vampire you're going to be disappointed. Even though Blade deals with vampirism at heart it's an action-kung fu picture and it isn't apologetic about it at all. The film is filled with non-stop action; there's plenty of hand to hand combat, sword play, and shootouts plus more than enough vampire gore to keep things interesting. Wesley Snipes has never been known for his superior acting ability but he's near perfect in a role that requires him to treat his B-movie starring role with deadly seriousness. The plot is very silly, Stephen Dorff is a villainous ham, and quite a bit of the CGI has aged extremely poorly but in spite of its many flaws Blade is a memorable time waster.

Blade simply looks and sounds great on Blu-ray. This release is a drastic improvement over the nearly 14 year old standard definition DVD. Black levels are much improved and I saw no signs of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction). There is a nice layer of film grain present that is only distracting on several CGI shots where it looks out of place. Color accuracy is good and the abundant amounts of blood really pop against the somewhat monochromatic color scheme.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack is even more impressive and is an even greater improvement over the DVD. The Blu-ray sports a 6.1 channel DTS-HD MA mix versus the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track and the added surround channel isn't wasted. Surround activity is constant but not gimmicky and the LFE channel is impressive but not out of control. Gunfire has more `oomph' to it than the DVD and dialogue is more distinguishable during the film's more frantic moments. The signature acoustic moment in Blade has always been the opening Bloodrave sequence featuring the Pump Panel Recon Mix of New Order's Confusion. That sequence alone was demo worthy in the early days of DVD and on Blu-ray it continues to give me goosebumps.

Unfortunately Warner Brothers has not included any new supplemental materials for Blade. Instead the same Special Features package created for the 1998 DVD release is recycled here and it feels anything but special. The audio commentary is still worth a listen and the "The Origins of Blade" featurette is an interesting watch mainly because of how far comic book film adaptions have come since Blade was originally released. Otherwise most of the extras are forgettable (try watching the alternate ending... yikes). I would have loved to have seen a documentary with new interviews with the cast and crew but Blade continues to be treated like the `red headed stepchild' of successful comic book adaptions.

Blade isn't a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination but its juvenile strengths far outweigh its dramatic weaknesses. If taken too seriously Blade can be easily picked apart but if you're just looking for a fun vampire action flick then you shouldn't be disappointed. The video and audio are both fantastic and are noticeable improvements over the old DVD. The supplement package is disappointingly just a DVD carryover and doesn't contain any new material which is a shame. With that said, Blade is still an easy Blu-ray to recommend so go ahead and sink your teeth in.
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on September 3, 2010
the original ratio is 1:2,35 = cinemascope also on DVD, But here on Blu-ray is the ratio 1:1,78 = 16:9 TV-widescreen) my question is WHY !!!!! don't buy is blu-ray !!!!!
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on July 8, 2012
I was very excited to get this movie on blu-ray since it is one of my favorite vampire movies and man was it a let down. I've had the dvd version of this movie for years and I sold that copy to get it on blu-ray and was in for quite a shock. The transfer looked worse than a dvd and the big kick in the face is that it isn't even in widescreen!!! WTF!! I have never bought a blu-ray where they took the original widescreen version and made it a pan and scan version. This is just unacceptable!!!! I guess that I will just have to go back and buy the dvd version. Stay away from this blu-ray release at all cost!!!
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on April 20, 2000
This was a great action/horror film, packed with some excellent special effects, an entertaining storyline, and at least a couple of reasonably talented actors (Snipes, Dorff). Kristofferson is terrible as always (a hint to you casting people... Sam Elliott would have been MUCH better as the tough and gritty Whistler).
But you're not really reading this review to hear about the movie -- you can get that kind of info anywhere. What you want to know is "Is the DVD worth buying instead of a VHS tape?" Weeeellll...
This movie is undoubtedly THE showcase movie for DVD (the Mummy is another very good choice). The picture quality is fantastic, and the sound is incredible (you gotta listen to it in Dolby Digital 5.1 on a nice home theater system to fully appreciate the sound). But what really sets this format apart from anything else are the SPECIAL FEATURES. A ton of things like information about the different Vampire houses, commentary from the director on the making of the film, and an alternative ending, really show how the DVD format can add to your viewing experience. Many DVDs (too many, in fact) are simply direct transfers from another format to DVD. No extras, limited enhancements on picture and sound... A perfect example of a BAD DVD is Highlander!
The DVD versions of the Bond movies have also shown the industry a thing or two about how to make a truly interesting and worthwhile DVD movie. DVDs like Blade make me happy I purchased a DVD player!
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on March 22, 2002
Lets face it. There have been only a handful of great films that were based on Comic Books: Superman, Batman, The X-Men, ect. With all the rest being dismal failures, usually because all involved didn't take their source material seriously enough and went in a completely different direction. Not bothering to really understand why people truly love these characters in the first place. These kinds of people should never be allowed to direct films derived from comic books.
It was the summer of 1998. The hollywood machine was throwing out dozens of entertainment fodder for the masses to engulf. I saw 14 film in the movie theaters that year. Blade was the only one of them I saw twice. Talk about a movie experience! From the opening shots, you are literally sucked in (no pun intended) to the world of the vampires. Wesley Snipes completely embraces the role of the title character and plays him to the hilt, with just a bit of dry cocky humor that is very refreshing.
As we first meet Blade at a Vampire techno club (which uses a great remix of a song called "Confusion" by New Order) we just know he's a force to be reckoned with as he slices, dices, burns & just plains blows up every vampire he gets a hold of (including Traci Lords, in a very memorable cameo). Kris Kristofferson plays Whistler, Blade's mentor and creator of the various weapons at his disposal, including guns & knives, bombs, & more. ("We have a good arrangement. He makes the weapons, I use 'em"). But it's Stephen Dorff as the bloodthirsty Deacon Frost that helps catapult the film from average action fair to the stuff of comic book legend. With most actors, this would be a one or two dimensional performance, but in the hands of Stephen Dorff, he turns the character of Deacon Frost into something much more multilayared. The interaction he has with Blade as well as his other fellow vampires give off this feel of someone we should not underestimate. Because a truly great villain is a huge key to a movie's success.
The whole mythos of vampires in this film moves the genre in a very interesting direction. According to Blade, pure silver, garlic & sunlight are the main tools to combat vampires. ("Crosses don't do d***, so forget about what you've seen in the movies") But the fact that the pure blood vampires are personified as old & disposable, while the nonpure vampires are young and virile, looking to take over and run things, can really be looked at as a depiction of our society, with the old guard being kicked out by the new one, lest anarchy ensue.
But "Blade" is without a doubt one of the best comic book adaptions to hit the big screen in a long time. It is truly up there with Superman & Batman as the best of the best. And New Line Cinema gives you more to praise about with the wonderful DVD Platinum Edition, that includes a nice audio commentary with Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff and others from the production and writing team. The only disappointing thing is that everyone is recorded seperately instead of all together in one big room which is more fun to listen to. Four Featurettes are also included: "La Magra" - which discusses the films evolution as well as showing some deleted scenes from the film (Deacon Frost's idea of freezing humans and harvesting them for their blood, plus the original ending of Frost turning into a digital effects blood monster. You'll be so glad it was deleted once you see it.) "Designing Blade" - a look at the production designs including interior, exteriors, Blade's arsenal and more! "The Origins of Blade" - An indepth discussion with Marvel Comics alum, Stan Lee & others on the genesis of comic books going from kid friendly to more for adults. "The Blood Tide" - A very interesting look at Vampire mythology in general beginning from the early 1900's. Plus you get the definitions to most of the glyphs shown in the film, cast & crew bios and film credits, as well as the wonderful original theatrical trailer that still packs a punch all it's own!
Blade - A True Comic Book Classic!
"Some [people] are always tryin' to iceskate uphill" - Wesley Snipes as Blade
Also, don't miss the incredible sequel, Blade II!
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on July 2, 2012
This is a review for the Alliance Blu-ray release. DO NOT BUY THIS DISC!!! This is some weird French version. I've been waiting for Blade and Blade 2 for years so I was happy when I saw this come out. But when I put the disc in my player it goes straight to the movie. There are no menus on this disc. Not even a chapter list. The disc has no subtitles. The picture quality in the first 5 minutes or so is horrible. It gets better later but still not up to the standards set by most BD's. The audio quality is complete crap also. The lossless track sounded no better than the Dolby Digital version.

And the worst thing? The picture is just a zoomed in version of a 4:3 presentation so you're missing a lot of image on the right and left sides. What a pile of crap. I had pre-ordered Blade 2 but once I saw this one I immediately cancelled my pre-order.

Hopefully there will be a better US release in the future. This one sucks.
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on August 29, 2012
The movie is the incorrect aspect ratio and it's distracting. Sadly that isn't the only video issue. The picture quality if horrible almost as if the movie wasn't only cropped, but also stretched. No special features. The movie itself is awesome. Great action and effects that mostly hold up to today's standards. I recommend the movie itself, but be sure to buy the American version. (It was available when I ordered. I wish I had waited.)
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on May 11, 2001
STORY: Half Vampire, half Human, Blade (Wesley Snipes) fights against evil Vampires led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who have plans to conquer the world. He is assisted by veteran Vampire hunter Whistler, portrayed by Kris Kristofferson.
CAST: Wesley Snipes plays the ultra cool hero and you definately root for him. Although it seems that sometimes he tries too hard at being a hero but most of the time he succeeds. What makes Stephen Dorff's character scary is his innteligence, which is expressed beautifully in the actor's eyes. He is probably one of the most convincing comic villans since Jack Nicholson in Batman.
SCRIPT: It is based on a comic series, so the story is rather thin. There are very original ideas about the modern Vampires but some far-fetched plot parts and untied story strings. But the hero get's his catchy one-liners and there is plenty of irony in it, which helps to not take it too serious.
DIRECTING: As I first saw it, the images blew me away. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and shot and there's a really stylish atmosphere to it. The industrial soundtrack adds to the rythmic editing and accelerates the fights. The special effects are somewhat weak, but this is a glossy B-Movie and that is part of the fun it provides. As I saw the brilliant "Matrix" one year later I realized that some shots seemed very familiar to Blade.
THE DVD: The picture quality of the DVD is wonderful but the Dolby Digital sountrack lacks some dimension. But the disc is loaded with extra features including commentary and isolated score. The most interesting ones deal with the history of Vampires and they match perfect with the movie
ALL IN ALL. Brace yourself for a fun, loud ride with some special effect and story flaws. Just shut down your brain before you start and enjoy!
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