Before the bubblegum age of PG-13 comic book films kicked in with the debut of SPIDER-MAN and others, New Line made the bold move in releasing the BLADE vampire series with a Hard-R rating geared directly towards the Horror movie crowd. It not only proved to be a great success, but Stephen Norrington's bloody and ultra-violent film also managed to jettison the B-list hero into super stardom. Much of the credit is also due to Wesley Snipes winning performance as the pompous slayer, and while the character is often taken far over the top, his dead serious demeanor and high-powered action kept him grounded without ever becoming goofy. Norrington brings a fresh, clean filming style to Goyer's script, balancing the many fight scenes with enough character and plot structure to keep the audience engaged from start to finish. Where the film does take a hit is in some of the ridiculous comic book logic, where Blade is able to walk through the streets in full regalia, beating up cops and killing vampires while remaining completely unnoticed by the crowds of onlookers. With enough action, violence, and gore to quench the thirst of any average Horror fan, BLADE proves to be a welcome addition to the genre, though it can often be argued that it is more a case of style over substance.
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