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BLADE test screenings...

Here are a couple of BLADE test screening results... I've gotten quite a few, but these seem to be the 'typical' response to the film. Personally I think the trailers rock, and I'm really hoping deep down inside that somebody would hurry up and produce a kickass comic property. New Line seems committed to trying, let's hope these reviews continue to hold up. Do note though that this was an extreme roughcut, with most of the end battle sequence effects not done, whatever that means. The soundtrack and score were probably nowhere near the final soundmix, so all this could change, but things look promising.... There are a couple of minor spoilers in here. The first review comes from North West...

Earlier this week I attended one of the first test screenings of Blade. Don't want to tell too much because it is a work in progress. But... WOW. Okay, here's the story (spoiler-free): Wesley Snipes is Blade. A vampire slayer. Part human, part vampire. That's all you need to know.

I was expecting this movie to suck. It's based on a Marvel Comics book I've never read. I had seen some trailers and they looked pretty ridiculous, especially since I've seen Snipes do the tough guy role before.

I'm happy to admit I was wrong. I was extremely and pleasantly surprised. Yeah, we all like the intricately plotted movies with strong character arcs, but every once in a while you need to watch a movie that's just about kicking ass. This is that movie. Reminded me a lot of Spawn, but without so many intense special effects and the brooding. (Blade has no remorse about killing and does it well.)

Some capsulized data:

The cast: Better than average for action movies. I've never seen Wesley Snipes this athletic or intense before. At first his deep voice threw me off, but I felt like it worked for the character. And Kris Kristofferson as his weapons maker Whistler; quite different from Lone Star, interesting jump. Stephen Dorff: good turn in the villain role of Deacon Frost. Donal Logue of MTV fame as his henchman -- consistently funny.

The plot: If elements of the story seem familiar or lifted from other movies, it's because this is your standard Joseph Campbell / Hero's Journey story with some pretty interesting variations and twists on the vampire lore. We've seen the whole vampires as night-club-hopping lurking-in-the-shadows thing before, but I still liked it here, since the club scenes looked real yet surreal.

Special effects: Not comfortable commenting too much on this since some scenes weren't completed. What was done was pretty good. You know how in a lot of action movies you see someone jump, then a cut, then see them land, another camera angle, and they run or fight somebody, and you know that it's four or more separate scenes spliced together? Here the leap-to-fight stunts are continuous from one POV; how'd they do that?

Fight scenes: Best part of the movie. Hyperkinetic karate type stuff with exotic weapons, reminded me of Wolverine from the X-Men combined with Hong Kong / John Woo style.

The music: Sort of a techno industrial meets video arcade. Complements the fight scenes.

I imagine there'll be some cutting and editting before it's released. The audience still loved it. Lots of cheering and laughing (some at the wrong moments, though). Did I love this movie? Not exactly. Did I enjoy it? Immensely. Was I entertained? Absolutely. Will I see it when it gets released for real? Probably. C'mon, it's no Citizen Kane, but you get what you expect from a movie of this calibre (no pun intended). If you like stuff like Spawn or Commando or Total Recall, you'll like this movie. What can I say... it rocks.

Your faithful spy,

North West

Then I got this review from Von Braun, who felt similarly....

I've been reading the site since the beginning and I figured I should finally contribute to the cause.

I received tickets to a screening of the new Wesley Snipes movie Blade on Monday at the Pacific Beach Theaters in the South Bay (LA).

I went in expecting to see another lame adaptation of a half decent Marvel comic and afterward was I ever wrong.

Blade will be at the very least a cult hit. The movie succeeds on several levels. My friends and I were amazed that NONE of the following happened:

1. degenerate into a cheesy love story

2. plot holes you could drive a semi through

3. ridiculous badguys

4. completely illogical happenings

I know its hard to believe but they managed to pull it off - with style.

Stephen Dorf does a fantastic job as the upstart new ruthless leader of the vampires. He played an excellent villian - probably on par with Klaus in the original Die Hard.

The movie has a tight script and plays with a sort of realism like the X-Files - that there is a war between humans and vampires going on in the shadows.

There is a good amount of attention to detail and depth.

The film itself was 2 hrs 20 min long. The pacing was about right but I'm sure the editing crew will tune it up. The soundtrack was pretty good very - edgy with a sound similar to the Replacement Killers (The Crystal Method) and most of the special effects were in place with the exception of the final battle.

The dialogue between the characters was believable and Blades' relationship with his Obi Wan-like mentor Whistler (Kris Kristoferson) was done well and wasn't trite.

The action scenes were very Woo-esque and had the audience cheering - especially when the vampires evaporated.

Probably one of the better vampire films to come along in sometime.

I'll probably go see it again when it's released - thats how good it was.

till ve meet ageeeen,

von Braun

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