A half-vampire, half-mortal man becomes a protector of the mortal race, while slaying evil vampires.
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Back in 1998 (yes that’s nearly 20 years ago!) comic book films were still in somewhat of an infancy stage, it was nowhere near the huge billion dollar making machine that it is today. The fact that a Horror title was picked is still a shock to me even all these years later and I’m glad the studios had faith in the story to put millions behind it, $45,000,000 to be exact.
It is alleged that at one point, New Line considered making the film into an action/comedy/horror film but David S Goyer convinced New Line to nix the idea. Now I know there’s a mixture of all three elements in this film but it felt like a perfect mixture, it could’ve been so different if it had leaned more in one direction or another but I feel they got it spot on.
The first cut of the film which was well over two hours long had a disastrous test screening with audiences, heavy edits and re-shoots had to be done which delayed the for over 6 months. The most significant change was the addition of the final sword fight, which did not exist in the original version of the movie. It’d be interesting to see what it was originally, I’d love to be part of a test audience one day.
The casting for this film was well thought out, Snipes is the perfect choice for our title character, Kris Kristofferson as ‘Whistler’ couldn’t be any better and Stephen Dorff as our villain is just brilliant. Plus the likes of Udo Kier just make it more fun to watch and they all seem to be revelling in the films dark tone and broodiness of their characters.
“Blade” is a very well put together Horror/comic film, it defied expectations and still has a good reputation all this time later. Be sure to give it a try if you haven’t already watched it.
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
David S. Goyer explained in the DVD commentary that when Karen Jensen wakes up at Blade’s hideout after her attack and rescue by Blade, the script had her discover a jar with a vampire baby in it. The baby would be alive and used by Blade and Whistler as a guinea pig for testing out weapons to fight vampires. The studio however found the concept to be disturbing and refused to allow it.
According to Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff on the commentary track, there was a slight clash between Snipes and Dorff while filming the hostage scene where Blade and Frost first meet in person. It was Dorff’s first day, and while he was trying to establish Frost’s motivation, approach, etc. Snipes became impatient and tried to counsel Dorff. Dorff became incredibly frustrated and said he felt overwhelmed since David Fincher and other notable filmmakers visited during filming and added further tension to the frantic on-set nature, forcing Snipes to assert his producer authority and make decisions. Snipes would tell Dorff that it was essential to trust in him, not only as the starring lead but also as producer. Snipes goes on in the commentary to say: “For a while…there wasn’t that trust.”
Kris Kristofferson’s character Whistler was created for Blade’s cameo on the Spider-Man (1994) cartoon show. He was liked so much by Marvel CEOs that he was adopted into the Marvel universe.
The Vampire Bible is referred to as “The Book of Erebus”. Erebus is a god of dark night in Greek mythology.
Blade’s car is a 1968 Dodge Charger with various modifications.
Wesley Snipes became attached to the project because he was in discussions with Marvel Comics to play the Black Panther.
When David S. Goyer first pitched the idea of doing a Blade movie, the executives of New Line felt there were only three actors who could possible do the role: Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington and Laurence Fishburne, but in Goyer’s mind, Snipes was always the perfect choice for the character of Blade.
Jet Li was offered the part of Deacon Frost but opted to do Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) instead.
When Blade is first engaging Frost, he is seen charging up the ramp with his ninjato out and away from him. This is the correct way to run with any sharp instruments to prevent accidental death by impalement if said instruments are dropped while running.
The scene where Karen and Deacon are talking about the cure for vampirism initially ran a bit longer and answered the question of how the vampires would feed if everybody was turned into a vampire. They would keep some humans alive in giant blood bags to harvest them. The bags can still be seen in a doorway during the scene, and later played an integral part of the plot in Blade: Trinity (2004).
When the bed opens up and reveals Vanessa (Sanaa Lathan), the sound effect used is lifted from Aliens (1986) (the scene where Ripley & Co. wake up on the Sulaco). Lathan would later appear in AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004).
In the scene where Blade is chased to the subway, and the subway train is passing by, all the passengers are cardboard cutouts with the special FX man among them.
Stan Lee originally had a cameo that was ultimately cut from the film. He played one of the cops that come in to the blood club during the aftermath and discover Quinn’s body on fire.
Blade’s sunglasses are ‘Black Flys’. The model is called ‘Micro Fly’ in matte black.
In the scene where the doctor first meets Whistler, Blade can be seen holding a map of New Orleans. This not only implies the city they are in, it is an homage to the comic books; many stories in the Blade series occur in New Orleans.
Donal Logue reinjured his jaw in the scene where he is struggling with N’Bushe Wright in the hospital. He had originally broken his jaw in a motorcycle accident years before.
The true name of the Blade character is Eric Brooks. (Blade is referred to as ‘Eric’ towards the end of the film, and Blade’s mother’s driver’s license says Vanessa Brooks of Bradenton, Florida).
When the film was first being developed, David Fincher was supposed to direct. He later dropped out to pursue other projects.
The hostage scene features a bullet-dodging moment similar to (but prior to) The Matrix (1999).
In the film, Whistler can read the ancient Vampire Language. We see this when he translates the piece of paper taken by Blade from the archive room. However in the script, Whistler cannot understand the language and Blade goes to a Voodoo priestess to get a translation.
“La Magra” is Spanish and Italian for “the thin one”, and has the female inflection.
A great many handheld shots were accomplished with a special anamorphic-lens camera that also had single-unit sound – the only one of its kind in the world.
In the original Marvel comics storyline, the character Blade was actually an Englishman- not an American.
The British Dance group The Prodigy were approached to do the score and soundtrack for the film, but they turned down the offer due to other work commitments
LL Cool J was originally considered for the part of Blade.
Blade’s main weapon is a modified Mac-11, he also uses a Benelli M3 super 90 with a pistol grip which can fire silver stakes or normal ammunition.
Marc Singer was the first choice to play Whistler.
Since it was Frost who bit Blade’s Mother, which in turn caused his vampirism, it has been widely speculated/accepted by fans that the result makes Deacon Frost somewhat of a Father to Blade.
In the commentary, David S. Goyer says that Stephen Norrington called him to inform him that they needed to get together to collaborate on the film. Upon meeting Goyer, Norrington began taunting Goyer about how “tattoos aren’t tough.” Norrington then began flaunting his various piercings and deriding Goyer. Goyer concludes by stating “…that’s Norrington, in a nutshell.”
In the scene where Krieger is killed by Frost, the movie that is playing on the television is another New Line Cinema movie: Mortal Kombat (1995).
Bruce Payne was considered for the role of Deacon Frost.
Traci Lords and Jenya Lano later starred in the 2003 TV movie Deathlands (2003).
The film is not a remake of Mannaja (1977) aka “A Man Called Blade”. The main antagonist in that film Blade (Played in that film by Maurizio Merli) is a bounty hunter, but Blade in this film is a vampire hunter. 1 thing that both characters have in common: they both seek to avenge a parent.
Body count: 88
In the ending as it was originally planned, Frost turned into La Magra and became a large swirling mass of blood instead of keeping his form. This was scrapped because they couldn’t get the special effects to look right. It can be seen as a special feature on the DVD.
Stephen Norrington: During the chase with officer Krieger, the vampire on the side of the road biting the girl’s neck. In the alternate ending on the DVD, the blue figure in the black coat on the roof is Norrington again, as an unnamed vampire.
Blade’s sword lacks a guard, or tsuba. Which makes it impractical for swordfighting.
When Frost kills Krieger scene at the pool party ends, the camera focus in a vampire rubber bat toy. The bat toy is part of a Spider-man 1994’s animated series line of action figures called “vampire Wars”, which an action figure of Blade was includes. The vampire bat in the scene were a piece of an Spider-man transformed in vampire monster action figure.
In the narrative behind Blade being in Moscow in the final scene: Blade left the United States to find Whristler, when Blade learns that the vampires are keeping him alive and Blade was following the trail. See: Blade II (2002).
Jenya Lano makes a cameo as the Russian woman at the end of the movie.
Michael Morbius was planned to be used as the main antagonist in a eventual sequel, but the idea was dropped out due to the fact the character’s rights belong to Spider-man universe, and their movie license were property of Sony at the time. The vampire at the rooftop in the alternate ending of the movie is Morbius.