FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
Selene, a beautiful vampire warrior, is entrenched in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. Although she is aligned with the vampires, she falls in love with Michael, a werewolf who longs for the war to end.
In a world where vampires walk the earth, Blade has a goal. His goal is to rid the world of all vampire evil. When Blade witnesses a vampire bite Dr. Karen Jenson, he fights away the beast and takes Jenson back to his hideout. Here, alongside Abraham Whistler, Blade attempts to help heal Jenson. The vampire Quinn who was attacked by Blade, reports back to his master Deacon Frost, who is planning a huge surprise for the human population. Written by
Blade is everything Spawn wanted to be and wasn't. While Spawn was a loud, obnoxious, incoherent mess that should have stayed in Hell with its erstwhile hero, Blade is a relatively subdued (it's nice to actually hear the soundtrack), stylish, well-directed movie that actually tries to build empathy and pathos into the characters. While both are adaptations from comic-books, only one is a page-turner.
Blade, or Eric as his mom calls him, but which superhero would command respect with the name Eric, is half-man, half-vampire, made so by his mother, who survived a vampire attack long enough to give birth to him. This gives Blade a certain edge in his understandable grudge against vampires, "all of our strengths and none of our weaknesses" as his main vampire nemesis attests. The aforementioned nemesis is Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who wants to unleash a vampire apocalypse on the world, decrying the Mafia-type approach that has served vampires so well up to this point - "humans are our food, not our allies," he explains. Blade is aided by his mentor/weapons specialist Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and a female hematologist he rescued, Karen. Her expertise lends her to both create anti-vampire blood, and a possible cure for Blade that would make him fully human again. Although one gets the sense that Blade's fate isn't entirely tragic. He relishes kicking vampire butt.
The movie Blade succeeds for two reasons. It's technically polished, with good acting, excellent directing and production design, and awesome special effects - the way the vampires turn to skeletons and blow away like dried parchment when they die is way cool. There are three accomplished action sequences, the opening party scene which Blade inconveniently crashes, a brush with death on a subway, and the final conflict, with some special effects I can say, as a movie seasoned veteran, I've never seen before. The second reason is that Blade understands the inherent pull of the vampire myth. Vampirism represents a life given to sin, essentially. They are sensual creatures, dependent on flesh and blood for survival, shirking the light, and yet eternal, like evil fleshly lusts the Bible warns about. Vampires are not tragic, like Interview with a Vampire would have you believe, but fun, cool, and sexy. That's their power. Is not sin sexy? why would it be tempting otherwise? Vampires are cool because they live in sin without paying its consequences - death. But for that reason, they are the enemy and must die. For sin is, in the final analysis, bad. This essential good/evil conflict must be there for this type of story to work. Spawn had neither this nor the technical excellence Blade has, which is why it sucks so bad. Blade reminded me of another good vampire movie, Bram Stoker's Dracula, by Francis Ford Coppola. They would make good companion pieces on video.
49 of 81 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?