Retro Rewind: 'Blade'

“Some motherf@*kers are always trying to ice skate uphill”

Any film that includes a quote so undeniably awesome was destined to become a classic. At the time, no one could have guessed it but 20 years ago this week the movie world was unquestionably changed forever. Blade, which hit theaters August 20th, 1998, was the pebble whose ripples eventually became the tidal wave of comic-book movies we have today. The start of the modern comic book era is often credited to X-Men (2000) but the truth of the matter is that without Blade, X-Men never gets the green light. The mid to late 90’s were a perilous time for comic book properties, books weren’t selling that well and after 1997’s Batman and Robin it looked like superhero based films had seen their last premier date. Enter writing icon in the making David S. Goyer, who pitched the idea to New Line Cinema with only one person in mind for the lead….Wesley Snipes. Snipes, ironically enough, became involved in the film because he was in talks with Marvel about a Black Panther movie. Side note, this is the other major oversight when people talk about firsts in the comic book world, sorry T’Challa you were amazing, Blade was the first African-American led superhero film. Snipes has been quoted s saying he didn’t know who Blade was at first, but just knew he’d get to do martial arts in a leather outfit…he wasn’t wrong.

Blade wasn’t satisfied in breaking new ground just in terms of comic-book movies, the movie made strides in Vampire lore, blurred genre lines, and was one of the first big movies to use a full CGI effect (thought the results are debatable). At the end of the day, while all of this is notable, it’s not what made the movie a surprise hit. Blade is cool, not just cool the man is frigid and I don't think anyone could have done this the way Snipes did, he fit the character like he was born to play it and took it seriously where many actors wouldn't have, again in 1998 comic book movies were not viewed as the pinnacle of a career that they are today. His all black outfit, leather trench coat, crazy haircut, tribal tattoo’s (which later became all the rage), martial arts mastery and bad-ass weaponry was more than any of us was fully prepared for. Whether you are a mall ninja or not EVERYONE though his sword was cool, and that defense mechanism that takes your hand off if you don’t know how to deactivate it? Astounding. Therefore, on his 20th birthday we come to say thank your Daywalker for starting us down the road to the comic book heaven we live in today, I can only hope that there is a worthy adaptation on its way for you…a Netflix series at least! If you need any more proof that this movie is worthy of it’s iconic status I present the Vampire Dance Club scene which opened the movie and showed us right from jump street what we were in for, to this day the song played is the only techno song most people from the 90’s remember.