It’s 2020 at the time of this writing and it’s still gross to see the hesitation from Hollywood to invest in not only Black superheroes, but an R-rated one at that. Audiences don’t care as long as they are being entertained. Someone might not be a fan of The Fast and the Furious franchise, but there’s no denying its popularity as it is now going onto its ninth installment, not including the spinoffs. Those films have one of the most diverse ensembles and the fans match those demographics. People of every background will pay to see a movie if they feel represented. The big-budget release of Marvel’s Black Panther drew a lot of media attention and earned some of the best reviews. Swapping out race and gender has become a marketing gimmick for remakes and sequels to mixed results, but it’s still business. 1998’s BLADE makes it all the more frustrating because it’s a great movie that fans are still talking about with all the taboos rarely seen in comic book adaptations.
Wesley Snipes stars as Blade, a vampire hunter born from a woman bitten during pregnancy. This results in Blade having the strengths of vampires, without their weaknesses, but will still age as a human. He is an ally to humans versus vampires and even takes a concoction that represses his thirst for human blood. Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) is quickly introduced as the owner of a nightclub that turns into one of the best cinematic bloodbaths ever captured during the first few minutes. Frost and his faction are not naturally born vampires, therefore, not seen as equals or really taken seriously. Frost has a vampire elder executed and begins his plan to resurrect a blood god, while Blade finds himself caught in the middle as his own blood is the final key to awaken the god, due to being a daywalker.
Warner Bros has unleashed a new 4K release of BLADE and the results are actually pretty slick. The opening sequence, which is probably the film’s most popular scene, really benefits from the upgrade. Sprinklers full of blood lather onto the dancing vamps in vivid color accompanied by a Dolby Atmos track. While a couple of shots carry over the dated grain, this new disc embraces the dark tones mixed in with gore effects. BLADE literally has buckets of blood throughout the movie and it’s fun to see that in HDR. Two commentaries are carried over, one featuring cast and crew (including Snipes, Dorff, and screenwriter David Goyer) as well as the isolated score commentary with composer Mark Isham. The original Blu-ray release accompanies this set. As a result, fans can revisit featurettes and retrospectives on the darker side of comic books, the significance of blood in different mediums, and some behind the scenes stories.
BLADE utilized Snipes’ star power and helped create an icon for both horror and comic book fans. Rumors of a reboot have been floating around the internet, but fans are rooting for Snipes return. Until then, the BLADE 4K release has some notable upgrades and well worth for fans to sink their fangs into.
BLADE is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.