action, comic book, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 9th, 2014 Movie – Blade

blade

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movies hit the big screen, and years before the MCU was even an idea in a producer’s mind, this movie was Marvel’s first real foray back onto the big screen. Yes, I know that technically Men In Black would be first but they were part of an offshoot that had been bought and not necessarily part of Marvel proper. Anyways, I was a fan of Blade and the rest of the supernaturally inclined anti-heroes that were part of Marvel in the mid 90’s so when I heard that they were doing a movie based on Blade, with Wesley Snipes starring in it, I was absolutely on board. Opening night me and several of my friends went and saw Blade in theaters. We then had a late dinner afterwards where we got some absolutely terrible service but that did nothing to take away from how much fun we had watching Blade.

The plot: In 1967, a pregnant woman is brought into the hospital, bleeding out from a bite wound to the neck. As the doctors work on saving her, she goes into labor and she delivers a baby but ends up dying from her wound. In the present, a woman brings a date to a secret rave in a meat packing plant but as the party commences, the sprinklers suddenly begin releasing blood onto the people dancing around. As the young man freaks out from all of the blood everywhere, he realizes that everyone in attendance is a vampire and starts freaking out even more. As he tries to escape, he is pummeled by the crowd until he runs into Blade, a vampire hunter that the vampires refer to as “The Daywalker” due to his half-breed nature. As some of the vampires begin fleeing the club, Blade begins killing the vampires that fight against him, until he is down to just a vampire named Quinn. Pinning Quinn to a wall with silver stakes, Blade sets him on fire, then checks the young man when he tries to run away, ensuring that he wasn’t bitten, but Blade is forced to run himself when the police and fire department arrive. Quinn’s body is taken to the hospital morgue and Dr. Curtis Webb sends a blood sample up to Dr. Karen Jenson, a hematologist, as the blood has some weird aspects to it. Karen agrees to examine the body and goes down there with Curtis, but as they discuss their former relationship, Quinn suddenly comes back to life and proceeds to bite Curtis, then attack Karen. As he starts to drink Karen’s blood, Blade shows up and stops him, cutting off his hand as the two begin fighting, but when security shows up and shoots at Blade, Quinn uses the opportunity to escape. Blade starts to leave Karen but when he suddenly thinks about his dying mother, he instead decides to take her with him. When the police show up in force, Blade rushes off with Karen and heads to the broken window Quinn escaped from. He throws Karen out the window to the building on the other side, then jumps over there himself, before grabbing her and escaping the police. Blade takes Karen to his hideout, where his mentor Whistler is working on making some more weapons. Whistler chastises Blade for not killing Karen but agrees to help her, injecting her with liquid garlic to try and stop the infection but tells Blade that he gives her a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Meanwhile, a council of vampire Elders is discussing Deacon Frost’s nightclubs and the danger they create. After having Frost enter the chamber, they chastise him for the clubs and attempting to break the treaty they have with the humans but Frost, who leads a faction of younger, and non-pure blood vampires like the Elders, says that they should break the treaty as the humans are their food, not their partners. Later, Gitano Dragonetti, the head of the House of Eberus, confronts Frost in the archive room, where he is attempting to crack the dead language on some of the ancient pages from the records, and asks him what his game is but Frost refuses to answer and dares him to retaliate against him. Back at Blade’s hideout, Karen wakes up and after exploring a little bit, she sees Whistler injecting Blade with a serum that keeps his vampire hunger in check when they spot her. After preventing her initial escape attempt, Whistler explains about their war with the vampires and warns her that she should leave town so as to avoid being targeted, as she has been marked. Blade takes Karen back to her apartment but as she begins packing a bag to leave, a police officer appears in her apartment. Karen is suspicious of the officer, especially when he begins asking questions about Blade, and when he tries to attack her, she sprays him with a special mace that Whistler gave her to defend against vampires. Karen is surprised to find it doesn’t work but Blade appears and tells her the officer is a familiar, a servant to a vampire that hopes to one day become a vampire himself. Revealing that the officer works for Frost, whom Blade has been tracking for years, Blade tries to interrogate him to learn Frost’s location but Karen ends up stopping him from hurting him and the officer gets away. Knowing he will be back for his car, as he was delivering blood to Frost, Blade stakes it out and Karen joins him, as she figures the best way to find a cure for herself is to stay with him. Blade and Karen follow the officer to a vampire safehouse, and Blade arms Karen with some weapons before they head inside. After making his way past the guards, Blade confronts the officer again in the club’s kitchen before noticing a refrigerator marked do not open and tells the officer to give Frost a message for him, then lets the officer go while he heads inside the fridge, which houses the vampire archives. At his penthouse, Frost has finally finished translating the ancient texts, which contains the ritual on how to summon the vampire blood god La Magra. When the officer shows up Frost’s penthouse and tells him what happened, Frost kills the officer, to the delight of everyone there. Back at the archives, Blade and Karen encounter Pearl, the obese vampire historian, who was having a video call with Frost and begs him for help. Frost dismisses Pearl and taunts Blade before Blade destroys the monitor. Blade and Karen then question Pearl about the text she had translated for Frost, using a UV lamp on her when she refuses to answer. Blade takes the hard drive from the computer, then opens the vault to find the actual ancient scrolls but Quinn, Mercury, and some other vampires arrive and capture them. Quinn goes to torture Blade but Blade had secretly been in contact with Whistler, who shows up to rescue them. Blade, Karen, and Whistler make their way to the subway, but when a bomb that Blade had left in the archives explodes, Whistler appears to be thrown onto the tracks but Blade tells Karen he can take care of himself. Blade and Karen jump across the tracks before a train comes but Quinn follows them and begins attacking Blade. Karen helps Blade beat Quinn, resulting in his losing another hand, but when he sees Mercury and some more vampires coming, he grabs onto a passing train to help them escape. In Frost’s penthouse, Quinn and Mercury are arguing about whose fault Blade’s escape is when Frost says not to worry as they will deal with him later, telling them they have work to do. Frost, Mercury, and Quinn kidnap Dragonetti and take him out to the beach, where Frost proceeds to pull out his fangs before leaving him to burn to death as the sun rises. Frost then heads to the council of elders and informs them of Dragonetti’s death and tells them that he needs 12 volunteers, and has them taken away. At the hideout, Blade is preparing to go get some more serum when he sees Whistler and Karen bringing in some lab equipment, with Karen saying it was to help her find a cure. Karen shows Blade an anticoagulant called EDTA and places a drop on a sample of vampire blood, which causes it to violently explode. Blade asks if that is her cure and she says no but says that he could use it to explode some vampires. Karen then takes a sample of his blood while Whistler gets to work on the hard drive they took from Pearl. As Blade goes to buy some serum, he encounters Frost in a park, who is using sunblock to be out in the sun and is holding a child hostage. Frost tries to convince Blade to join him but Blade refuses and is forced to let Frost escape in order to rescue the child. Back at the hideout, Karen figures out a way to cure a vampire bite and uses it on herself but tells Whistler it won’t work on Blade, as it is part of his DNA, when Frost and his men show up and capture Karen while torturing Whistler. When Blade returns, he finds a badly injured and bitten Whistler, who tells him about the prophesy and Frost taking Karen, then asks Blade to give him a gun so he can kill himself. Blade does so and walks away while Whistler pulls the trigger, then he watches the video that Frost left for him, telling him where to go to save Karen. Arming himself for battle, including filling some syringe stakes with EDTA, Blade heads out to find Frost and kill him. At Frost’s penthouse, Frost and Mercury are taunting Karen but she counters back with the fact that she discovered a cure and she could cure Frost, as he isn’t pure blood. When Blade shows up and begins fighting the guards, he makes his way to Frost’s room only to discover that his mother is still alive and as she talks to him, Frost uses the distraction to capture him, revealing that he was the one that bit Blade’s mother and created him. Blade and Karen are taken to the Temple of the Eternal Night, so that they can enact the ritual and Frost taunts Blade some more before having him taken away. As Mercury takes the Elders to where they need to be for the ritual, Frost and Quinn take Karen to a room that has openings for a pit. Telling her about how sometimes people don’t become vampires when bitten, but become zombies instead, then shove her into a pit where she comes face to face with a zombiefied Curtis. As Curtis approaches her, Karen is able to knock him back, then uses a bone fragment to climb out of the pit. Blade is placed into a sarcophagus and restrained with special restraints intended to bleed him dry. As his blood drips from the sarcophagus into special drains in the floor, Mercury begins placing the elders into position underneath openings, where Blade’s blood proceeds to drip onto them. Meanwhile, Karen frees Blade from the sarcophagus, but, without his serum to help him, she tells Blade to feed from her in order to save himself. In the lower level of the temple, the ritual commences as the blood drips on the elders before merging on the ceiling into one drop that falls onto Frost’s head. A bolt of lightning then strikes the temple and electrocutes the elders before causing their skeletons to emerge from their bodies and fly around before entering Frost’s body, empowering him and completing the ritual. Upstairs, Blade feeds on Karen before letting her go, then kills his mother when she tries to stop him, before heading down to deal with Blade. Quinn goes to attack Blade but he quickly decapitates him, then proceeds to fight with the other vampires and kills them while Karen ends up killing Mercury. Frost then pulls out a sword of his own and challenges Blade and the two start fighting, with Blade seemingly winning when he cuts off Frost’s hand and slices him in half. However, Frost’s newfound powers allow him to heal those injuries and he easily is able to overpower him. Seeing the EDTA on a ledge above him, Blade throws his sword in a crack in the ledge, allowing the trick handle in the sword to split the shelf and drop the syringes into his hand. Blade then proceeds to throw all of the syringes into Frost, causing a severe reaction that makes him explode, killing him for good. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Karen says she needs to get back to the lab to cure herself and Blade says that there is still a war going on and if she wants to help, make him a stronger serum. Some time later, in Moscow, a vampire goes to attack a young woman when Blade appears and rescues her.

Blade met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade‘s action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.” Much like Harley Quinn in the Batman universe, Whistler’s character was originally created for Blade’s limited appearances in the Spider-Man (1994) animated series, but Marvel liked the character so much they decided to write him into the Marvel Universe. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office hit, earning $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget, and would spawn two sequels as well as a TV series based on the character.

You know what, this is still a fun and entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good for the most part, with Wesley Snipes doing a great job as Blade. Kris Kristofferson (Whistler) and N’Bushe Wright (Karen) were also good in their roles and while Stephen Dorff was ok as Frost, I liked Donal Logue and Arly Jover, Quinn and Mercury respectively, a lot better. The story was good, but there were several parts that had comic me just yelling internally at the screen. In the comics, Blade was affected by his mother’s death but that only made him immune to a vampire’s bite and gave him an affinity for the supernatural, it did not make him a half-breed. Later on, he wound up getting the vampire powers but that happened after the movie came out. I also didn’t like how they portrayed Frost, as in the comics he was an older man who had become a vampire while trying to find the secret to immortality, which gave him some unique abilities on top of the normal vampire powers. I personally would have loved to have seen his doppleganger making powers make an appearance in the movie. The special effects were pretty good, though I will admit they do seem a bit dated at this point in time. A good Marvel movie and definitely a sign of what things would soon follow for Marvel Studios.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, thriller

August 10th, 2017 Movie – Shark Night

shark night

3D. We must make every movie in 3D, no matter how bad of a movie it might be. Don’t get me wrong, when I heard about this movie, I was on board with watching it. But then I heard that it was going to be PG-13, which actually caused me to hold off on seeing it in theaters. I wound up eventually watching it on Netflix a while back and decided to pick it up during a shark movie buying binge on Amazon. The question still remains, was it worth it for me to buy Shark Night? Only time will tell.

The plot: On Lake Crosby, a couple are fooling around in the water but when they guy heads to shore and goes into their camper, the girl is attacked and killed by something in the lake. At Tulane University, Malik heads to the dorm room of his tutor Nick and yells at him about how he needed to get a C to keep his scholarship but as Nick fears the worst, Malik shows him that he got a B+ on his final, revealing that he was just messing with Nick. Malik hugs Nick and then says that as payment for helping him, he is inviting Nick and his roommate Gordon to go out on Lake Crosby this weekend and when Nick starts to refuse, Malik tells him that they are staying at Sara’s parent’s lake house, knowing Nick will go as he has a crush on Sara. The three friends, along with Malik’s girlfriend Maya, Sara, Beth, and Blake pile into Maya’s SUV and head out to the lake. The group stop at a bait shop at the edge of the lake to get some supplies and Sara tells everyone that their cell phones won’t work on the lake. While most of the group head into the store, Malik and Maya are moving some of their bags around in the SUV when a truck pulls up next to them and the passenger gets out and insults Maya. Malik grabs the man and threatens to hit him when the driver interjects himself into the argument. When Sara sees what is going on, she recognizes the man as her ex-boyfriend Dennis and Dennis is surprised to see Sara back in town and says it is just a misunderstanding and that his friend Red has had too much to drink already. The group head to the dock and get on Sara’s boat and head out onto the lake towards the island where her parent’s lake house is. Along the way, they are pursued by Sheriff Sabin, who says hi to Sara and the kids and says he will drop by the next day to bring over the mail like Sara’s mom asked. The group start having fun on the lake and Nick asks Malik about Sara and if she is dating anyone but Malik tells him that in the three years he has known her, he hasn’t seen her date anyone and all she does is hang out with her dog Sherman. Nick, Blake, and Maya go out on the boat while Malik is wakeboarding behind them but as they get close to the dock, something bumps into Malik and knocks him off the board. Nick circles around to try and find him and they see him swimming towards shore but when he gets on shore, they find his arm has been bitten off. Nick, who is a pre-med student, works on stabilizing Malik and then dives into the water to retrieve Malik’s arm but as he grabs it, he sees a shark swimming in the distance and quickly swims back to the dock. Nick, Sara, and Maya put Malik in the boat, with his arm being placed in a cooler, and they head out to take Malik to the hospital but the blood from Malik’s wound drips out the boat drain and attracts a shark, which starts hitting the boat. Maya is knocked out of the boat and Nick throws a life preserver to her and they try to drag her back to shore but the shark kills her. The shark then attacks the boat, damaging the steering and throttle, and Nick, Sara, and Malik are forced to jump to safety as the boat crashes into the dock. With no communication to the outside, Gordon uses a flare gun from the house to try and signal for help and eventually, Dennis and Red show up in their boat. The two start insulting the group but when they find out what happened, they say they will head back to the harbor and get a helicopter to medevac Malik to the hospital and Beth and Gordon decide to go with them but after they get out in the middle of the lake, Dennis and Red reveal that they were the ones to put the sharks into the lake. Back on the island, Malik learns of Maya’s death and, grabbing a harpoon, he heads out into the lake intent on killing the shark. His blood attracts a hammerhead shark and, with Nick’s help, he is able to kill it but as they pull the shark to shore, Nick finds a camera attached to it. Meanwhile, Dennis tells Gordon to get in the water, and when he refuses, Dennis shoots him in the shoulder and the impact knocks him into the water. Gordon swims to a nearby Cypress tree and tries to climb it to safety but a bull shark leaps out of the water to drag him back into the water and kill him. Back on the island, Blake decides to use the jet ski to take Malik to the hospital but as they are heading across the lake, Malik sees a shark approaching behind them. Malik falls into the water, choosing to sacrifice himself to the shark to save Blake but Blake is still killed when a great white leaps out of the water and kills him. Meanwhile, Dennis and Red force Beth to strip down to her underwear and knock her into a netted off area filled with cookiecutter sharks, with Red filming as the sharks kill her. Back on the island, Nick asks Sara about why she hasn’t been back to the island in 3 years and she explains that she had dated Dennis years ago but when she chose to go to college, she broke up with him. Dennis didn’t take it well and suggested they go on one last dive together but when she had trouble breathing, she signaled for help but Dennis refused. Sara managed to make it back to the surface and onto the boat but as she steered it back to shore, planning on leaving him out there, she accidentally hit his face with the propeller. Sabin arrives on the island, having seen the bonfire, and when he sees the shark on the beach, he uses his radio to try and call for help. When Nick passes out, Sabin and Sara carry him to the couch and Sabin says that he probably passed out due to all the stress. Sara goes to get a compress for Nick and hears Red talking on Sabin’s radio, realizing that they are working together. Sara goes to attack Sabin but Dennis grabs her and knocks her out. When Nick comes too, he finds himself tied to a chair, with Sabin preparing to feed him to a pair of tiger sharks. As Nick struggles to get free, he knocks over some gasoline in the boat house and, after using a lighter to burn through his restraints, he sets the gasoline on fire and burns Sabin, who is forced to jump in the water and gets killed by the tiger sharks. On their boat, Dennis has placed Sara into a cage and radios to Carl, the owner of the bait shop, to release a second great white into the lake. Nick swims out and holds Red hostage while telling Dennis to free Sara but Dennis kills Red, then attacks Nick. Nick manages to shoot Dennis and knock him into the water, then goes to raise the cage out of the water but Dennis climbs onto the cage and pulls the pin, causing it to drop free of the winch and into the water. Nick grabs a bang stick and dives in to rescue Sara but Dennis attacks him. Sara grabs Dennis and manages to tie him to the cage, then flicks him off as the great white charges and eats him. The great white starts attacking the cage to get at Sara but Nick manages to kill it with the bang stick, then brings Sara back onto the boat and performs mouth to mouth in order to revive her. After she comes too, Sara kisses Nick and thanks him as they stare out at the lake, where another great white is shown to be leaping out of the water.

Shark Night was panned by the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A joyless excursion into the water that doesn’t even produce good gore or nudity thanks to the neutered PG-13 rating.” The animatronic sharks in this movie were created by Edge Innovations, the same company that created the sharks used in Deep Blue Sea, Austin Powers In Goldmember, and the orca for Free Willy. Despite the poor reviews, the movie did make a slight profit at the theaters, earning $40.1 million off of a $25 million budget.

Ok, so this wasn’t the best movie in the world. In fact, it was about what I expected it to be; a watered down movie with a few decent pops but a pale mockery of what it could have been. The acting was ok, with Dustin Milligan (Nick), Chris Carmack (Dennis) and Donal Logue (Sabin) doing the best jobs while everyone else was honestly pretty forgettable. The basic plot was pretty interesting but there were a lot of problems with it, primarily how they were able to keep the sharks relatively corralled in the lake in the areas they wanted them to be. The other big problem with this movie was that it really needed to be Rated R, as the PG-13 rating toned down what they could do to the point that it made the movie more laughable than scary. There were several time where the sharks looked reasonably realistic but the 3D formatting didn’t always help matters and in some ways made them seem even more fake than they already did. It might be worth watching if your bored and it comes on late one night, but there are better movies out there, ones that didn’t get the opportunity to hit the big screen, which are much more entertaining.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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