a film by Stephen Norrington
Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright and Donal Logue. D: Stephen Norrington. P: Peter Frankfurt, Wesley Snipes, Bob Engelman and Avi Arad. W: David S. Goyer. New Line Cinema

The first five or ten minutes of this film, Sullydog thought he had a winner. Some geek is being led by a seriously foxy and, one has to assume, vampirous babe into the recesses of a meat packing plant filled with carcasses of dubious phylogenetic pedigree. There he finds the Beautiful People of the Night cavorting in a discoteque for the Seriously Carnivorous. He’s immediately tagged by the patrons of the establishment as (a) an outsider and (b) Happy Hour food. As they shove him and punch him and bare their fangs, the seething miasma of music swells to a climax, and the DJ declares it’s time for a "Bloodbath"-- apparently the especialite’ du maison. Blood rains down from dozens of sprinklers onto the hundreds of boogyin’ vampires as music pulses and lights strobe. It’s beautifully shot, one of the most coolly horrific images I’ve ever witnessed on elluloid. Just as the patrons converge on the hapless, tasty dweeb, Wesley Snipes appears as Blade, aka theDaywalker, Ultimate Vampire Party-pooper. Fangs bare. Steel sings from the scabbard. What follows is acombat sequence of flawless choreagraphy and blistering intensity, liberally embellished with wicked special effects. Sullydog tells himself he’s on board for the duration.

And then this film goes directly to shit. That’s SHIT, spelled F-O-R-M-U-L-A. I know racoons who could have written the script for this turkey, so predictable and tired was the plot. It’s all there: the reluctant, guilt-ridden immortal hero (Snipes); the single-mindedly ruthless and utterly uncomplicated immortal villain (Stephen Dorff); the crusty-and-soon-to-be-toast sidekick (played by Kris Kristofferson, the world’s most untalented human being); and the very beautiful, highly-intelligent-but-naive damsel in distress who quickly develops a Thang for Our Hero (played by N'Bushe Wright, a black actress. But don’t worry--she Acts White.) Toss in a few admittedly freaky effects, a couple of banal plot twists and a serious dose of Bio-Babble Bullshit and what you get is Blood Pudding.

The movie never fails, not once, to assume the audience is brain dead. Our Damsel in Distress is a doctor, a hematologist to be exact, and she gets to work almost immediately on a cure for the blood disease of vampirism. Problem is, every time the script has her open her mouth, something incalculably stupid comes out. You need only be a junior high student with a pulse or a regular reader of the health column in Time magazine to have a firmer grasp on the basics of biology than the committee of slushbrains who penned this gunk.

In fact, if nobody in the movie spoke a single word (especially Kristofferson), it would have been far, far better. The photography is stylish enough, the images horrific enough, that I couldn’t help but keep thinking that without the dialog the movie would have had a bizarre, mysterious quality. But instead the characters incessantly over-explain every element of the vapid and idiotic plot, rendering what might have been strange and engaging merely dumb. We are left with nothing but cinematic pyrotechnics and the utterly predictable resolution.
 It’s enough to put you off your O negative.

Highlander meets Blacula.

Sullydog does not approve.

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