is the first movie in the Blade Trilogy
. It was released in 1998.
Blade, aka the "Daywalker", is a Dhampyr
who was born as a result of his pregnant mother being fed on by a vampire and dying in the process. He has most of their strengths and none of their weaknesses, but has to fight the increasing bloodlust and urge to kill people. Hunting down the omnipresent vampires in the present day along with his mentor Whistler and a woman he recently saved, he has to stop the renegade vampire Deacon Frost from completing a ritual to resurrect the ancient blood god La Magra and turn the whole world into a slaughterhouse.
This film provides examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Deacon Frost is made into a Generation X hipster played by Stephen Dorff. In the comics, he was an old white haired guy with a German accent from the 1860s.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: Inverted. Deacon Frost, the Big Bad of the film is the vampire who bit Blade's mother while she was pregnant, causing Blade to become what he is. Turns out he fully turned her and she's now on his side. While Deacon did turn Blade's mother in the comics, him being the Big Bad is new to the movie.
- An Arm and a Leg: Quinn has a bad habit of losing limbs, but he can just grow them back.
- Artistic License – Biology: The hematologist remarks that Quinn's red blood cells are "biconvex." Meanwhile the microscope's monitor displays regular biconcave red blood cells, so we can recognize them.
- Backstory: Plenty of it, be it for Blade or La Magra.
- Bad Boss: Deacon Frost makes a sport of killing off his familiars when they displease him. Subverted when he prepares to test Blade's sword on Quinn's arm, stops and reveals that he's just kidding. Notably, Quinn probably deserves the punishment, as he had proven himself incompetent at basically every opportunity and had already lost and grown back two arms by this point.
Frost: (holding Blade's sword) Hold out your arm, Quinn. Now.
Quinn: Deac, I... (obeys)
Frost: (winds up) Just kidding. (bro-punch to the chest)
Quinn: (Beat, laughs) He was just fuckin' with me, man! He was just fucking with me.
- Big Bad: Deacon Frost
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The opening hospital scene with Blade's mother dying from her vampire-inflicted wound while giving birth to him.
- Blood Bath: Blood is showered on vampires at a vampire rave with the punny name "Blood Bath".
- Blood Magic: It's of little surprise that the ancient vampire artifact runs off of blood. Blade is strapped into a huge bloodletting device that causes his blood to fill up all the magical symbols below him.
- Blown Across the Room: Played straight (and ludicrously so) during the shootout in the night club in the beginning of the movie.
- Book Ends: The present-day section of the movie begins with a vampire luring her victim to his doom, before Blade interrupts. The film ends with a vampire in a different city luring his victim to her doom, with exactly the same dialogue, before Blade interrupts.
- Braggart Boss: Quinn, The Dragon vampire.
- The Cavalry: Blade is pinned to a wall and surrounded by bad guys, when Whistler bursts through the wall holding two machine guns and delivers the Pre Ass Kicking One Liner; "Catch you fuckers at a bad time?!"
- Car Fu: Blade did it, using a bike to smash through the window of the Big Bad's office-building, instead of entering through the door as the waiting goons had expected.
- Chekhov's Boomerang:
- The "vampire mace" Blade gives Karen is seemingly paid off in a joke where Karen tries to use it on a guy who turns out not to be a vampire. Then it's not mentioned again until the end of the movie when she gets to use it properly at a key moment in the final fight.
- The anti-theft mechanism on Blade's sword keeps, as it were, popping up after Karen learns about it: first there's a straight use where it gets one of Frost's mooks, then a subverted use when Frost himself demonstrates how much he knows about Blade by circumventing it, then one last use during the final fight when Blade uses it in a manner for which it was not intended.
- The Chosen One: Invoked by name, though decidedly negative in context.
You're the key. He needs your blood. The blood of the Daywalker. You're The Chosen One
- Conspicuous CG: Actually pretty good for the late 1990s/early 2000s, but severely dated nowadays. Frost's death actually looks like a cartoon animation, and the one Dragon Lady whose head explodes looks like a balloon just popped.
- Creator Cameo: The vampire who looks up as the car chase goes past is director Stephen Norrington.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : Being a vampire turns you into an Always Chaotic Evil bloodthirsty psychopath, but you will look good forever, join a secret society that secretly rules the world, and live and be encouraged to live an eternal un-life of absolutely debauched sex, violence, partying and hedonism. Basically one of the reasons the film works; it both captures the sheer utter bastardy of the nosferatu race and yet perfectly illustrates why people would want to be such evil bastards in the first place.
- Deadly Hug: How Blade brings rest to his mother.
- Dead Star Walking: Traci Lords, killed off in the very first action scene.
- Designated Girl Fight: While Blade and Frost have their final showdown, Karen faces off against Frost's henchwoman.
- Evil Overlooker: The poster of the film show the vampire antagonist Deacon Frost ominously watching over the Daywalker Blade in a blood-red background.
- Fantastic Slur
Blade: You give Frost a message from me. You tell him it's open season on all suckheads.
- Fast-Forward Gag: The Car Chase, unintentionally, presumably because Los Angeles didn't want to have an actual car chase for some reason.
- Follow the Leader: In a sense, the movie led to the boom of Marvel movies. Though later overshadowed by 2000's more successful X-Men, Blade was the first Marvel movie to be a bonafide financial and critical success (Men In Black came out first but technically, it was more a property bought by Marvel than made by Marvel. And granted, some productions such as Spider-Man had long been gestating, but the movie's success proved that Marvel characters could headline their own movies.) Additionally, Blade himself was not as well-known prior to the movie's release, but still made for a successful property. In addition to their A-list stars, Marvel and DC have subsequently looked at other lesser-known characters for possible movies.
- And despite Batman & Robin being basically a Genre-Killer the year before, Blade proved comic book movies still had it.
- Of course, the general public probably wasn't really aware that Blade was a comic book character, and thought it was just a cool "Vampire Killer" idea (especially since Buffy had premiered a year before.
- God of Evil: La Magra, the vampire Blood God. Frost's evil scheme is to complete a ritual to summon him into a vampire avatar so he can walk the earth. If he fights humanity, he will turn everyone into vampires by his mere presence. Deacon Frost summons La Magra into himself and becomes much more powerful, being made entirely of blood and showing insane regenerative powers. Blade kills Frost by loading him with anti-coagulents, but it's unknown if this killed La Magra too.
- Groin Attack: In the opening action scene, pornstar Traci Lords received a rifle butt to the groin, and then a stake to the face when she doubles over. One can't help but wonder if the crotch shot was a reference to the actress's career.
- Guns Akimbo: Blade wields a pair of machine pistols as one of his primary weapons.
- I Am Your Father: Blade discovers that his mother is still "alive."
- Immortality Hurts: In the opening, Blade dispatches Deacon Frost's Dragon Quinn, a vampire who can heal from most injuries. Blade notes that he's run into the guy so many times by that point that he's getting bored with hacking him up all the time, and tries burning him to a crisp instead—which still doesn't hold. Later, Frost himself messes with Quinn as well by pretending that he's gonna chop off his arms again, then stops at the last second.
- Incest Subtext: Blade's mother, as a vampire, shows a more than motherly interest in her own son to indicate how depraved she's become since Frost turned her.
- Infant Immortality: The girl Frost throws through a hot dog stand is none worse for wear when Blade saves her from the bus a moment later.
- Informed Ability: Frost's transformation into La Magra was supposed to make him a One-Winged Angel in the form of a giant blood cloud. Test audiences were all "Where'd Stephen Dorff go?" so they redid the ending to leave Frost his "human" form. Frost also took the powers of all 12 pureblood vampires such as pyrokinesis and mind control but neither he nor the purebloods (or even Drake-ula the granddaddy of all the pureblood vampires) displayed any of these powers at any other time.
- Kill It with Fire: Blade uses fire on one of his enemies. This doesn't kill Quinn (who is a vampire) but it probably makes him wish it had, at least for a while. Funnily enough, Blade probably only set him on fire as a new form of bullying Quinn.
Blade: Quinn, I'm getting a little tired of chopping you up. I thought I might try fire, for a change.
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: SPF 1,000 sunscreen, though they also have black leather outfits with UV-blocking visored helmets.
- Lock and Load Montage: Blade is seen loading guns, sheathing his sword and knives, and strapping on other weapons before the final assault on Frost's skyscraper.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Vampires explode upon being injected with anticoagulant.
- Ditto for ingesting concentrated garlic. Mercury learns this the hard way.
- Monstrosity Equals Weakness: This trope was the reason the Final Battle was changed. Test audiences didn't care for Frost transforming into a giant Blob Monster made of blood, so the theatrical version ended with a Sword Fight instead.
- Mr. Fanservice: Deacon Frost spends a lot of time with the his chest exposed.
- Naïve Newcomer: After being rescued by Blade, Karen gets the situation explained to her and thereby to the audience.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Karen Jensen nearly becomes a vampire (and her ex-boyfriend is killed) because Blade chose to set Quinn on fire rather than staking him, even though he knew it wouldn't kill him.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mercury, as detailed in the Informed Ability entry above.
- Now It's My Turn: Deacon Frost.
- Offhand Backhand: Blade does one the butt of his shotgun during the nightclub fight.
- Physical God: Deacon Frost after turning into La Magra, becoming the physical manifestation of the evil Blood God. As strong as he is, he's still vulnerable to anti-coagulants.
- Punch Clock Villain: As Blade is about to kill a henchman, said mook replies "No... please! I just work for them!"
- Present Day: After the first scene set in the 1960s, it flashes to "Now". The "Now" when the movie was released was 1998.
- Rasputinian Death: Blade abuses Quinn in every way possible (impaling, burns, beatings, pushing his head against a passing train) before decapitating him.
- Retirony: Whistler is doomed from the moment he pauses during his big damn rescue scene and complains that he's getting too old for this sort of thing.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: The vampire who was once Blade's mother tries the "You couldn't kill your own mother" guilt trip when he gets free near the end. (Which might have worked better if they hadn't already had the That Man Is Dead conversation last time they talked.) Blade's response is that if there's any of his mother left in the vampire, killing the vampie and setting her free would be doing her a favor.
- Silver Bullet: Blade uses them against the vampires (as well as other silver weapons, including stakes and a silver-edged throwing star). Some of the bullets have hollow points filled with garlic essence, just to be doubly sure.
- That Man Is Dead: "Try to understand, Eric. Your mother died a long time ago."
- This Is Reality: Blade tells Karen that crucifixes and holy water are ineffective against vampires, and advises her to "forget what you've seen in the movies."
- Too Dumb to Live: Officer Krieger, after leading Blade to Pearl, really shouldn't have said "Shut up, bitch!" to Frost's girlfriend when called out on it.
- The Tooth Hurts: Deacon Frost rips a vampire elder's fangs out of his mouth with pliers before executing him.
- Train Escape: Blade grabs the end of a train with one arm while holding the love interest in the other. The train pulls them to safety while dislocating his arm.
- Trap Door: Dr. Karen Jensen falls down into a trap chute near the end of the film, where she's attacked by her former research partner (who has turned into a ghoulish, zombie-like vampire), but climbs back out of the chute using an old bone for leverage.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Played for drama. Karen Jensen gets into a lift with two sinister-looking types. When she averts the protocol, turning to look directly at one of the two, his response is a chilling but polite "How ya doin'."
- Vampire Dance: The vampire rave that opens the movie, complete with Blood Bath.
- Vegetarian Vampire: Inverted. Deacon Frost is exceptionally evil because he wants to industrialize blood production.
- Vehicle Vanish: Inverted when we see Blade latch onto a train as it passes by, and he dislocates his shoulder in the process.
- Verb This!:
Badguy Mook: Go fuck yourself.
Blade: (producing gun) Fuck me? No, you fuck this!
- Villain Ball: When Frost throws Karen into the zombie pit, then doesn't stick around to make sure she's dead.
- Villainous Glutton: Pearl
- Vampire Refugee: Karen is bitten by Quinn early on. She uses her medical training to devise a cure for herself, but Blade refuses to be cured of his vampirism so he can remain super-powerful and continue to wipe out the race.
- Video Will: Deacon Frost leaves a tape for Blade that starts off with "By the time you watch this Whistler is dead..."
- Villain Opening Scene: The film opens with vampires having a rave (with a helpless human dude), which is crashed by the title hero.
- Villainous Friendship: Frost's relationships with Quinn and Mercury seem to be a mild, but genuine version.
- Waif-Fu: The teen/tween in the archive. She looks about 12 or 14 and she kicks Blade so hard he falls back. She even plays helpless, scared and cute when he first sees her, then kicks him through some Soft Glass.
- Waking Up at the Morgue: The vampire Quinn wakes up in the middle of his own autopsy after being set on fire.
- You Killed My Father: Frost was the one who bit Blade's mother while she was pregnant. Unbeknownst to Blade, she became a vampire.
- Younger and Hipper: Deacon Frost is reimagined as a more Generation X type of character. His comic book counterpart was an older, German accented, white haired gentleman that hailed from circa 1868.
- Your Head A Splode: Mercury, after Karen "maces" her with garlic.