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Stephen Norrington
Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Donal Logue
David S. Goyer

A half-vampire, half-mortal man becomes a protector of the mortal race, while slaying evil vampires.
Box Office:
$45 million.
Opening Weekend:
$17,073,856 on 2322 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
German Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Polish Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 12/1/2020

• Commentary by Writer David S. Goyer, Actors Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff, Cinematographer Theo Van de Sande, Production Designer Kirk M. Petruccelli, and Producer Peter Frankfurt
• Isolated Score with Commentary by Composer Mark Isham
• Alternate Ending
• “Designing Blade" Featurette
• "The Origins of Blade" Featurette
• "The Blood Tide" Featurette
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Blade [4K UHD] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 2, 2020)

In a way, 1998's Blade suffers from “Raiders of the Lost Ark Syndrome”. Like that classic, Blade started out with a fantastic opening sequence, as following a brief prologue, we encounter the premise and main characters through a dizzying fight scene that takes place in a meatpacking plant transformed into a makeshift disco.

When I saw the movie theatrically in 1998, I found that opening bit to be absolutely dazzling, as it presented one of the most exciting and visceral action scenes I'd ever viewed.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie couldn't keep pace. While it was interesting and enjoyable, I'd been taken to such heights by that first sequence that the rest of the film seemed like a disappointment.

Despite some misgivings about the flick, I decided to give it another shot. Now that I've seen the film a few times, I must amend my earlier impression. While the opening scene still stuns, most of the rest of the movie delivers the goods as well.

Known as the “Daywalker”, half-human/half-vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) works to eradicate full-fledged vampires. His situation comes with special blood-related needs, though, and he recruits hematologist Dr. Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright) – the recent victim of a vamp bite – to help his cause.

In the midst of all this, a rebellious young vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) works to lead his kind. He wants to violate the long-lasting human/vampire détente and rule the world, a quest that Blade attempts to stop.

The first half of Blade provides some of the highest quality, most compelling action you’ll find. I was wrong to think that just the opening packed a hard punch, as really, the whole first hour takes the viewer on a terrific thrill-ride.

The story sags a bit during the second half, though. Basically, Blade spends most of the initial hour kicking butt - we occasionally pick up some plot points, but the first half really dedicates itself to learning that Blade's a bad mutha.

During the last hour of the film, the plot really takes over, and most of that time works toward the climactic fight. It's kind of an odd mix.

Most films set up the story during the first half and worry more about action during the second. While Blade provides rudimentary expository material at the start, the plot doesn't really take hold until the second part.

I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing. The alternative seems to have been a film with no plot at all, and I think it's good that they at least tried to provide a story more compelling than just random vampire hunting.

The problem stems from the fact that after we've spent an hour with wall-to-wall action, it's hard to come down off of that sugar high. This means that the film sort of plods towards its ending, which nonetheless works well.

When Blade goes on his "final attack" during the final 15 minutes, those scenes seem as good as almost any from the opening hour, and they help compensate for the less-scintillating nature of the previous 45 minutes.

Overall, I enjoyed Blade more the second - and third - time around and it seems to be a film that should hold up well to even more re-viewings. Director Stephen Norrington creates a terrific comic book atmosphere. Few can capture that tone, but he makes Blade a thrill ride that succeeds well as a whole.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+ / Audio B+ / Bonus B-

Blade appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.

Sharpness worked fine. A couple of wide shots showed a smidgen of softness, but the majority of the film appeared accurate and well-defined.

I saw no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent. With a light layer of grain, I didn’t suspect issues with noise reduction.

The movie went with a chilly blue palette most of the time, and the hues seemed concise within those parameters. The 4K’s HDR added some punch and impact to the tones.

Blacks were dense and dark, and low-light shots offered nice clarity. HDR made whites and contrast more appealing. In the end, the image seemed pleasing.

Blade also featured a pretty strong Dolby Atmos soundtrack, as the soundfield created an active and engaging piece. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the lively score showed excellent stereo presence, while all the channels provided a natural and realistic environment.

Blade used the different speakers well, as elements moved cleanly across channels and blended together effectively. The surrounds included a lot of unique information and played an active role in the mix.

Audio quality seemed fine. Dialogue appeared natural and warm, with no issues related to intelligibility or edginess.

Music sounded bright and vibrant, as the score and songs showed strong fidelity and offered tight and taut bass response. Effects also seemed accurate and dynamic, and low-end sounded deep and rich. Blade provided a quality soundtrack.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray from 2012? The Atmos audio boasted a bit more kick and involvement.

A native 4K production, the UHD disc offered improved sharpness, blacks, shadows and colors. Expect an appealing upgrade over the Blu-ray.

On the 4K disc, we find an audio commentary from actor and producer Wesley Snipes, actor Stephen Dorff, writer David S. Goyer, director of photography Theo Van De Sande, production designer Kirk M. Petrocelli, and producer Peter Frankfurt.

All were recorded separately for this edited track. Many dislike that format, but I think it works well, especially when handled as well as it is here.

The commentary covers a nice mix of topics, from different technical elements to plot points to bringing the comic to the screen to acting concerns. The absence of director Stephen Norrington seems like a negative on paper, but really, I don’t miss him, as the commentary provides a lot of terrific information without him.

Found on the 1998 DVD but not the Blu-ray, the 4K offers an isolated score with commentary from composer Mark Isham. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this works well as a commentary, as Isham provides lots of information about his work on Blade, his general thoughts about film scores, and many other topics.

Unfortunately, the piece doesn’t fare as well as an isolated score. Isham often talks over the music, and during empty spaces, we hear dialogue and effects.

This becomes a distraction, especially when the score returns and those elements abruptly cease. As a commentary fan, I’m happy with this track, but isolated score buffs may feel less satisfied.

The included Blu-ray copy comes with the commentary plus other extras. “La Magra” offers an alternate ending for Blade as well as additional information.

During the 14-minute, eight-second piece, we hear from New Line President of Production Michael De Luca, producer Peter Frankfurt, production designer Kirk M. Petrocelli, and screenwriter David Goyer.

They discuss the project’s genesis and various story elements that disappeared along the way. This allows us to see some deleted scenes, including that alternate ending.

It’s a nice little piece, and it’s fun to see the unused footage, even though the unfinished special effects make the ending seem even sillier than it otherwise would have been.

Next we get Designing Blade. At 22 minutes, 31 seconds, this program offers the longest of the video materials as it discusses different aspects of the visual production.

We hear from production designer Kirk M. Petrocelli, makeup effects creator Greg Cannom, stunt coordinator Jeff Ward, and special effects producer Richard “Dr.” Baily as each discusses his specialty.

“Designing” leads us through the movie’s visual design, the practical effects, fight choreography, and computer effects. The nicely low-key program includes a few good shots from the set and offers an informative and entertaining piece.

During Origins of Blade, we find a 12-minute, 10-second “exploration of dark comics”. The program consists solely of comments from screenwriter David Goyer, comics legend Stan Lee, and Wizard Magazine publisher/president Gareb Shamus.

Despite the show’s title, they don’t really discuss how Blade came to be. Instead, we hear about issues related to darker comics. Lee chats about the creation of the Comics Code, and we learn about various trends during this engaging little discussion.

For information about the history of vampires, look no further than The Blood Tide, a 20-minute, two-second program. It includes comments from Father Gregory Coiro, UCLA Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Gary Schiller, author Dr. J. Gordon Melton, author Nina Auerbach, screenwriter David Goyer, filmmaker Brian Clemens, and author Mick Farren.

The show offers a nice primer about the history of the vampire myth. For the record, many vampire historians look exactly the way you'd expect vampire historians to look.

The set ends with the film’s trailer. Though the 4K restores the isolated score/commentary missing from the Blu-ray, it still lacks a short featurette from the old DVD.

Back in 1998, Blade came out of nowhere and managed to become a modest hit. It deserved its success, as the wild vampire flick offers a lively, vivid comic book adventure. The 4K UHD presents solid picture and audio along with a fairly informative set of supplements. This turns into the best version of a fun movie.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of BLADE

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main