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STUDIO:
New Line Home Video
MSRP:
$29.99
RATED:
Unrated
RUNNING TIME:
558 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Commentary on Blade: House of Chthon by
    director Peter O’Fallon
Commentary on Blade: House of Chthon by
    writers David Goyer and Geoff Johns
Turning Blade featurettes
TV spots



The Pitch

Slam! Duh duh duh, duh duh duh, let the Blade be Blade!

The Daywalker

Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones.

The Vampires


Jill Wagner, Neil Jackson, Jessica Gower, Emily Hirst, Bill Mondy

The Humans

Nelson Lee, Larry Poindexter, P. Lynn Jonson.



“You may kill me, Comrade Blade, but the vampires of the Soviet Union will ultimately win this Cold War and stamp out you imperialistic American daywalkers.”
“Um…exactly how long were you in your coffin, buddy?”



The Nutshell

Continuing the further adventures of the half-human / half-vampire suckhead hunter, this TV adaptation of the popular movie trilogy stars Kirk “Sticky” Jones as the titular daywalker.  The storyline takes up after the events in Blade: Trinity, with Blade returning to his hometown of Detroit to try to bring down the vampire House of Chthon, led by Marcus Van Sciver (Jackson), an affluent, 400-year-old vampire with a master plan to seize power over the entire vampire nation for himself.  Assisting Blade in his quest is former Iraq war veteran, Krista Starr (Wagner), whose brother, Zack was killed by Van Sciver.  Krista is herself turned into a vampire by Van Sciver and she has to walk a tightrope of vampiric urges and her own desire to see Van Sciver destroyed for what he did to her and her brother as a double agent for Blade in the House of Chthon.



Yeah, I could see wanting to bite that…



The Lowdown

I discounted this series when it was on the air.  Having loved the first two Blade movies, and been utterly disappointed by the third, I had allowed my interest in the franchise to cool considerably; and since Wesley Snipes was no longer doing the slicing and dicing of vamps, I let this show slide under my radar.  Turns out that decision was – and wasn’t – justified.  Blade: The Series had both some positives and some negatives working for and against it.  On the one hand, it was doing a pretty good job of expanding Blade’s world and that of the vampire nation, and Jones, although definitely no Snipes, was nonetheless a fairly worthy successor to the role.  One the other hand, like in Trinity before it, Blade has become damn near a secondary character in his own story, as BTS split too much time between his story and that of Krista Starr.



“Okay ladies, just so we’re clear, for this next scene, I’m going to be Keanu and you two are going to be Monica Bellucci and that other hot Dracula’s bride, correct…?”



BTS doesn’t waste any time in picking up the action as Blade finds himself in Moscow trailing a vamp who’s a Russian general in the bowels of some large factory.  The vamp, before inconveniently getting his throat sliced, tells Blade that some bodies that he is investigating are being shipped to Marcus Van Sciver in Blade’s hometown of Detroit.  It’s there that Blade sets up shop with his new sidekick / weapons maker / tech support, Shen (Lee).  Blade had an agent in the House of Chthon, Zack Starr, who was gathering info for him as a familiar, a human servant to the vampires.  When Zack is iced, Krista falls into that role as she investigates Zack’s death and the trail leads to Van Sciver.  She meets Blade, discovers the world of vampires, and then is turned into one against her will by Van Sciver himself.  Blade helps her through her transition by providing her with some of the same serum he uses to manage his own vampiric urges to drink blood.



Jill really didn’t like hearing that this guy wasn’t interested in upgrading to a Mercury Mariner…



From there, Blade and Krista conspire to gather information on Van Sciver’s master plan to grab power: Project Aurora.  Aurora is a vaccine that appears to eliminate a vampire’s weaknesses to garlic, silver and sunlight, as Blade finds out the hard way when he encounters a souped-up vamp named Fritz who has taken the vaccine and is nearly defeated by him.  Meanwhile, Van Sciver has more machinations afoot concerning his master plan, including experimenting on vampires from another house, and incubating some sort of virus in the wombs of unsuspecting human women.  A couple of minor storylines revolve around Blade dealing with his old gang, the Bad Bloods, from whom he got his tattoos and whom he also turned, who are seeking retribution from him.  Their leader is Steppin’ Razor (Bokeem Woodbine), and to say that he isn’t happy that Blade turned him into a vampire is putting it mildly.

Another few storylines concern Chthon’s hunting of Boone (Mondy), a detective who’s also a familiar and was Krista’s first “kill”, although he survived to become a vamp himself.  He escapes as one of Van Sciver’s planned guinea pigs and goes on a nationwide killing spree on his way to meeting with a rival house, The House of Armaya, who have unwittingly been providing the vampires that Van Sciver has been testing his various vaccines on, usually with ashy consequences.  We also get some glimpses into Blade’s past, including his childhood when the vampiric thirst first started emerging. also get a long-standing question answered of what happened to Blade’s father (portrayed by Richard Roundtree).  There’s also an FBI Agent, Ray Collins (Poindexter), who is investigating Boone’s kills as well.  Krista also has to deal with her mother, who’s dying of cancer, and whether or not to turn her to save her life.



“Namyo-ho-renge-kyo, Namyo-ho-renge-kyo…must work on people skills…Namyo-ho-renge-kyo, Namyo-ho-renge-kyo, Namyo-ho-renge-kyo…”



Blade: The Series had potential.  Jones puts his own stamp on the character and it’s pretty easy to accept him in the role as he acquits himself in the multiple fights he partakes in and maintains Snipes’ take on keeping Blade hard and unemotive.  Jill Wagner, whom you might know from several Lincoln Mercury commercials, is incredibly easy on the eyes and she actually damn near steals the show from Blade, to the ultimate detriment of the main character.  Like in Trinity, Blade has to share way too much screen time with Starr, and this becomes just as much her show as it is his.  Blade comes to rely too heavily on her for intel into Van Sciver’s master plan and is frequently playing catch up.  Blade also has way too much trouble with minor vampires in fights that you know Snipes’ version of the character would have dusted without a sideways glance.  But the show also does take the time to try to reference the events in the movies in various ways, including mentioning events from Trinity, such as Blade wishing he had the inhalers to deliver his serum rather than injecting, and that Sommerfield’s (Natasha Lyonne) notes concerning the inhalers were destroyed.

David Goyer returns as executive producer and often times writer, and the show runners do take the time to try to build a serviceable mythology for the show, including giving us some background on Blade’s origins and inner workings of the vampire nation.  Unfortunately, in terms of sheer badness, Van Sciver, when compared to Deacon Frost, Damaskinos and even Danica Talos, is essentially a vampiric yuppie weenie, infrequently getting his hands dirty and coming off more as a Calvin Klein-molded middle man than an interesting Nosferatu big bad.  He does start to ratchet up the evilness in the latter episodes, however.  Nevertheless, his boss, Charlotte, a pure-blooded young girl (Hirst) – who has a penchant for snacking on newborns – is much more deliciously evil than Van Sciver.  And aside from Van Sciver’s right-hand chick, Chase (Gower), the vampires as a whole are about as interesting as the supporting players in a typical CW soap.  One surprise with the series, and I don’t know if it aired this way or not on Spike TV, was the frequent nudity and swearing on the show, which was a welcome change, as I don’t figure the Bladeverse to be PG. But unfortunately overall, rather than taking up after Blades I and II, Blade: The Series takes up the mantle from Trinity, with predictable results.  It was definitely starting to pick up near the end of the series’ run, but it apparently was too little too late.



“Uh, Blade, exactly where are you going to put that stake?”
“Don’t worry about it…”



The Package

This set boasts a couple of good featurettes, including two commentaries on Disc 1, which was the two-hour pilot, Blade: The House of Chthon; one by director Peter O’Fallon and one by writers David Goyer and Geoff Johns. There’s also a quite good behind-the-scenes series of featurettes called Turning Blade that total an hour.  It’s broken into seven segments: A Sticky Transition, which focuses on Jones taking over the role; A Starr is Born, which features Wagner as Starr; The House of Chthon, Weapons of Choice, On The Wires, which features the wire-fu, Accessorize / Vampirize, about the wardrobe and Tattoo You.  A series of Blade TV spots rounds out the offerings.


6.1 out of 10