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Film / Blade Trilogy
aka: Blade

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Blade: There are worse things out tonight than vampires.
Karen: Like what?
Blade: Like me.

Blade is a vampire hunter comic book character from Marvel Comics created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan who debuted in The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July, 1973). New Line Cinema acquired the film rights to the character in the mid-1990s, and released several films from 1998 to 2004, comprising the Blade Trilogy, starring Wesley Snipes in the eponymous role.

In the movies, Blade's Super Hero Origin is that vampires attacked his mother during childbirth, which had a bizarre side-effect in making him part-vampire. He remained mostly human but gained all the strengths of a vampire and (almost) none of their weaknesses. He can walk in sunlight, is not allergic to garlic or silver, heals quickly and has all their enhanced senses. There is a slight catch, however: Blade still gets the "hunger" for blood and is never quite satisfied with an artificial substitution. While vastly outnumbered, Blade makes do working with his mentor, a grizzled veteran vampire hunter named Abraham Whistler, who manages to devise all sorts of vampire hunting gear.

The vampires are insanely rich, powerful and secretly in control of the world from behind the scenes with their own research labs and army. But Blade is still a legend among them, called by them "The Daywalker."

The movies in the trilogy are, in order:

All three movies star Wesley Snipes as Blade and Kris Kristofferson as Whistler. In addition to the movies there was a spinoff TV show titled, creatively, Blade: The Series. The first film helped usher in the current era of consistently well-done, serious comic book films, coming earlier than X-Men or Spider-Man. As part of a four series deal between Marvel and Madhouse (the others being Marvel Anime: X-Men, Marvel Anime: Wolverine, and Marvel Anime: Iron Man), he stars in his own anime, which premiered on July 1st, 2011.

That same year, Marvel announced that New Line's film rights to Blade had expired and reverted to them, and that they had no plans to introduce him to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nonetheless, rumors of a revival persisted years later, with Snipes himself saying he had been approached to reprise the role. Eventually, a Blade Continuity Reboot set in the MCU was announced, alongside the reveal that Mahershala Ali would be portraying the character going forward. The film is planned to arrive on September 6, 2024 as part of Marvel's Phase 5 slate.

These films provide examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: All of Blade's hide-outs.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Nomak's death in Blade II. "Strange. It hurts, it hurts no more."
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Happens in every movie.
    • In the first, vampires invade Blade's Abandoned Warehouse.
    • In the second, vampires invade again but in order to form an uneasy truce to defeat a common enemy.
    • The third movie has two instances in two different bases by different antagonists: a SWAT team infiltrates Blade's lair at the beginning and Drake later sneaks into Night Stalker HQ.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The movies tended to end in this manner. Like in the first one, after the defeat of La Magra, Blade is offered a cure for vampirism. "There's still job to be done. You want to help? Make me a better serum." The original planned ending for the third one was going to be this as well. The idea was that they had wiped out the vampires...and now were going to deal with werewolves instead.
  • Anti-Hero (Type III): Blade and Whistler. Fridge Logic makes them seem more like sociopaths in some respects.
  • Arc Words: "Sooner or later, the Thirst always wins."
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Esperanto is used for the street signs and posters in "foreign" cities to make the locale seem "generically European". Kris Kristofferson seriously studied speaking Esperanto for his brief scene buying a newspaper. In another scene, Hannibal King rests in a hospital watching Incubus, starring William Shatner, one of only two Esperanto feature films in existence.
  • Audible Sharpness: The sound heard whenever a character unsheathes their sword is almost as sharp as the weapon itself.
  • Badass Biker: Blade is often seen riding a motorcycle and wearing leather.
  • Badass Longcoat: It has a hole for his blade to poke out of and everything.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: The main conflict of the third film involves the use of a virus that will kill all vampires everywhere, seemingly instantaneously.
  • Badass Normal: Whistler and the Nightstalkers, who take out vampires without the benefit of superpowers.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: The opening scene with Vanessa dying from her vampire inflicted wound while giving birth to Blade.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Few characters in the Blade universe ever need to reload their firearms.
  • Building Is Welding:
    • In Blade, Whistler is welding in his first appearance.
    • Similarly in Blade II, Scud is shown welding in his workshop - on both instances, they're making weapons and equipment for Blade.
  • Bullet Time: On one of the directors commentaries they jokingly mention the fact they did it before The Matrix.
  • Canon Foreigner: Everyone outside of Blade himself, Deacon Frost, Dracula, and Hannibal King.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The vampires' various human "familiars", who knowingly aid the vampires against their own kind.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Notably averted in this film. The eponymous hero goes solely by that name, even when we learn his real name: Eric.
  • Cool Garage: All the movies have a form of this. The first two are in an Abandoned Warehouse occupied by Whister/Scud, while the third is attached to the shipping warehouse by the docks.
  • Cool Old Guy: Whistler sports a white beard and a gatling gun.
  • Cool Shades:
    • In a DVD commentary, the filmmakers state that Blade is effectively invincible while wearing his shades.
    • Also Priest and Reinhardt from the second movie.
  • Cool Sword: An acid etched titanium, impossibly sharp blade and a clockwork anti-theft mechanism built into the handle to prevent it from being used against him. Amazingly, it has a straight blade and is not a katana.
  • Cool Car: 68' Dodge Charger in all 3 movies. According to Guillermo del Toro, the car was practically nonfunctional and had to be pushed into the set.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Blade and Whistler.
    • Deacon Frost, although its justified in that he admits he's been studying Blade for years so of course he knows everything about him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film was this for the entire comic-book movie slate up to that point, save for The Punisher (2004).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Don't worry, Karen. The leather-clad biker shooting up the hospital as he runs from the cops is here to help.
  • Daywalking Vampire: As the term 'Daywalker' would imply, Blade is not affected by sunlight, even though it kills regular vampires rather quickly, due a quirk in how he was infected with the vampire virus. Drake in the third film is likewise a Daywalker, being the progenitor of the species. Understandably, regular vampires really want this ability.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Whistler gets a few good ones in the first two installments.
      Blade: Still heavy [referring to UV Flashlight].
      Whistler: But you're so big.
    • Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity. He's played by Ryan Reynolds, after all.
  • Deathless and Debauched: Zig-zagged between the older and younger vampire generations. The elders seem mostly concerned with business and keeping up The Masquerade. The young vamps prefer loud nightclubs (with full-on blood showers), sensuous dancing, and openly slaughtering and draining victims... which makes them a very easy target for the Daywalker to dispatch.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Both Frost and Drake do this.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Vampirism and drinking blood are often compared to drug addiction in the films. In the second film, Whistler being cured is described as a "retroviral detox" and "going cold turkey."
  • Dual Wield: While Blade usually fights Guns Akimbo or using his sword, he sometimes fights with paired stakes or dual EDT Injectors. Various other characters sometimes fight with paired melee weapons as well, including Reinhardt with his gunblades and some unnamed mooks with fighting batons.
  • Everything Fades: Vampires explode into embers upon death.
  • Fantastic Drug: Vampires are seen sniffing red powder, presumably blood cocaine. The TV series introduces vampire ashes.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Purebloods", or born vampires, regard infected vampires ("turned") as second-class citizens of the vampire world.
  • Final Battle: Three times, in fact.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Big Bad of the first film had a UV-blocking sunscreen which allowed him to walk in the sun for a significant amount of time (hours at least). It's never seen again, even though it presents a feasible if not necessarily practical solution to the daylight problem. Even if engineering daywalkers is a permanent solution, there is no reason the sunblock couldn't have been employed on an as-needed basis.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Blade isn't particularly nice, but hey, he'll help you out if you're in trouble.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Blade is a hard-ass dick, but he's also a hero.
  • Guns Akimbo: Throughout the films, this practice is shown by Blade, Hannibal King, Abigail Whistler, various members of the Blood Pack, Whistler, and even Scud.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Toyed with. Normal guns will hurt a vampire, maybe even knock it off its feet, but then it'll be back up, complaining about the pain and biting your throat out. Now, if your gun happens to fire silver bullets or stakes, you'll have a pile of ashes that used to be a vampire.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Natural-born vampires despise vampires who were "turned", seeing them either as upstarts who don't respect their traditions or outright Vampire Vannabes. There's also a bit of elitism to this, since infected vampires outnumber the natural ones by a fair margin.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Blade is a Dhampyr, which is called a "daywalker" in the film's world. He has all the strengths of a vampire with none of their weaknesses except their thirst. Hardly seems fair.
  • Handicapped Badass: Whistler has a pronounced limp and wears a leg brace due to a bad leg injury that never quite healed up right. Despite this, he's more than capable of kicking ass.
  • Happiness in Slavery: A variation. Vampire familiars are happy to be the property of their evil masters, either for protection, power or in the hopes of being turned themselves. For example, a hidden Mole in Blade II is actually working for the enemy the entire time, stating that their victory is inevitable, and when the time comes, "I'd rather be a pet than cattle."
  • Hemo Erotic: The various vampire-club scenes in the movies often involve the vampires being aroused while feeding. In fact, the first movie begins with a vampire-rave in which vamps are sprayed with blood, then start getting hot and heavy.
  • Hybrid Power: Blade, a classic dhampyr, has all the strengths of vampires, but none of the weaknesses, barring a much weaker desire for blood which he treats with a serum. He also ages like a human.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Blade's origin story involved his mother being attacked by a vampire when she was heavily pregnant, causing her to die on an operating table and the boy turning into a human-vampire hybrid. Blade swore to find the vampire who killed her to avenge her death. Near the end, Blade discovers that his mother is still alive after the vampire in question turned her, and it was actually Deacon Frost, the bad guy he had been pursuing the entire film.
  • Knuckle Cracking: In the movies, it seems not even the Daywalker is immune to the ravages of arthritis.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: All three films feature one these, with Blade loading guns and sheathing blades. In the second film, Whistler and the Blood Pack prep weapons and load guns and put on armor alongside Blade. In the third film, Abigail Whistler preps assorted weapons alongside Blade.
  • Lost in Imitation: Blade being half-vampire (vampire powers minus the weaknesses except for the bloodlust he needs a serum to control) and his companion Whistler came from his guest appearance in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The comic book Blade was just a Badass Normal immune to vampire bites until a bite from Morbius put him in line with the movie counterpart.
  • Masquerade: Vampires hide from humanity. In the first film, Deacon Frost wants to break the Masquerade and rule humans in the open. In the second film, the vampires have beefed up their Masquerade a bit just to hide from Blade. They still visibly brand their minions with glyph tattoos, though, since it's a necessary evil to keep them alive (they're walking meals without it).
  • Mentor Archetype: Whistler has every part of this trope down to a T. Up to and including the Mentor Occupational Hazard on two different occasions.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Blade rarely tries to hunt down vampires during the day - while they sleep.
  • Monster Lord: Each film has a different one:
    • Blade: Dragonetti appears to run the vampire government (though the scope of his particular operation is never specified) until Deacon kills him.
    • Blade II: Damaskinos runs the vampire clan that has taken over the power vacuum left by Deacon's rampage.
    • Blade: Trinity: Drake/Dracula. As soon as he arrives, every vampire he encounters bows to his will.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Even though vampire tech is just as advanced as humans, they still keep up the masquerade because the humans would make their lives very difficult otherwise. Blade's just one guy and he's a handful. An entire army making similar toys would be a big damn problem.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Blade" is actually a real name, but here it's obviously being milked for sounding scary.
  • The Necrocracy: In the movies, ruling vampire aristocracies are seen who control the rest of vampirekind. The first movie had the society divided by House, while the second movie shows vampire lords residing in Europe. They also have human servants, so-called "Familiars" who are more or less property of their vampire master/second-class citizens of their society.
  • No Badass to His Valet: Whistler treats Blade like a normal person.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the ways to kill a vampire.
  • One-Liner: Blade and Whistler constantly let one out both before and after an asskicking.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Vampirism is a genetic condition caused by a retrovirus which is transmitted via vampire saliva contacting human blood, e.g. through a bite. Vampires are not "undead", and the victim has to survive the bite to turn; the ones sucked dry just die.
    • Vampirism causes volatile sensitivity to UV direct radiation (like in sunlight), severe allergies to silver and garlic, and the inability to produce hemoglobin. As a result of the latter, they need to drink blood to survive. Human blood is best as it is closest to their own, but animal blood is sufficient.
    • Vampires who fail to feed (or are prevented from doing so) are reduced to a pale, ghoul-like creature as their body starts to consume itself.
    • At the same time, it grants enhanced strength, agility, retractable sharpened fingernails and canine teeth, a healing factor that scarlessly repairs any injury that doesn't disable the brain or the heart in a matter of days (including the complete regrowth of limbs and other body parts), and slows down the aging process to a negligible rate after the subject reaches maturity.
    • Vampires have no weakness to crucifixes, crosses or holy water and do not need to be invited into a dwelling to enter it.
    • A vampire can be killed by destroying or separating its brain from its body, destroying its heart, completely incinerating it, or overwhelming it with a dose of garlic or silver. When a vampire dies, a volatile chain reaction occurs which incinerates its entire body except for remnants of its skeleton.
    • During the first film, a hematologist looking for a cure for the virus discovers that vampire blood explodes like nitroglycerin when mixed with blood thinners (EDTA is named). Injecting vampires with them is obviously violently fatal.
    • Unlike in the comics, Blade is the result of a vampire attacking and infecting his mother as she went into labor with him. The result was him developing the characteristic super-strength, agility, enhanced healing and the thirst for blood but not the weaknesses to sunlight, garlic or silver.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Blade has a few in true action hero quality.
      Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill. (a quip made by Snipes off-camera that the director decided to write into the script)
      "Go. You've got twenty seconds. [3 seconds later] TWENTY."
    • Whistler gets a pretty cool one in a Big Damn Heroes moment in the first film.
      "Catch you fuckers at a bad time!?" (proceeds to cut down half the room with a minigun)
  • Present Day: Albeit not so concurrently (while Blade II came out four years after the original, the film's story states only two years have passed).
  • Scannable Man: Humans who serve the Vampires as "Familiars" are tattooed with their master's clan glyph. It's not laser-scannable, but it does serve to identify them to other Vampires. Like slaves in ancient times, killing them will mean that the offending vampire will have to answer to the human's master.
  • Scary Black Man: A rare heroic example. Blade was notable for being an early black comic book hero, though he still spouted Jive Turkey.
  • Storming the Castle: At some point during each movie.
  • Sunglasses at Night: A major part of the aesthetic. One wonders why Blade needs those sunglasses during all of his night-time vampire hunting missions. Many vampires are also seen sporting shades.
  • Supervillain Lair: Every Big Bad has one.
    • Deacon Frost: A penthouse apartment in downtown LA, complete with a pool and parties.
    • Damaskinos: A research facility conducting secret research on the vampire genes.
    • Drake: The top floors of a high rise corporation's office.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Pretty much every vampire in the trilogy, whether five minutes or five centuries old, is invariably fine with messily killing humans. Vampirism comes with a nearly insatiable thirst for human blood. The handful of exceptions were all cured with an anti-vampire drug, and of course Blade himself (being a Daywalker) is the big exception. Blade did feed on humans at one point, mostly homeless people, but that was before meeting Whistler and developing the thirst-suppressing serum.
  • Undercrank: Used to make vampires look fast and unnatural at the same time.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • No one bats an eyelash at Blade's appearance while he walks around in broad daylight with a leather duster and sword, nor when he does things like beat up cops on the street. Especially in the third film when he's being hunted by the FBI. This was averted several times in the series, however.
    • In Blade, two people beating up a uniformed police offer in broad daylight doesn't attract any attention. Neither does Frost holding the young girl hostage, nor Blade saving said girl from being hit by a bus.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: The vampires are all savage and vicious, and usually rip their victims' throats open.
  • Vampire Hunter: Blade is another Dhampyr example. In the second movie he also hunts vampire mutants that feed on other vampires.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Most of the humans who work for the vampires, their "Familiars", are doing so for the promise of being turned. The lawyer in Blade II simply seems to be indifferent about his choice of client.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: Younger vampires (i.e. modern generation) tend to immediately relish in their superhuman nature, enjoying the activity of hunting humans and seeking pleasurable gratification. They operate most of the nightlife and street criminal operations. Deacon Frost owns several of them.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Older vampires typically present themselves like aristocracy. They prefer to uphold The Masquerade, purse endeavors that have long term returns, and amass wealth or collect knowledge. Corporate business and political influence consumes their attention.
  • Wall of Weapons: On more than one occasion Blade's hideout is displayed with a prominent wall mounted arsenal.
  • Weakened by the Light:
    • In Blade, the vampires have some kind of realism - no religious material is involved, but they're allergic to garlic and silver, and take damage to sunlight. So Blade burns/tortures a vampire with an UV lamp, eventually burning him to death.
    • In Blade II, Blade's new sidekick builds UV grenades.
    • In Blade: Trinity, Abigal Whistler uses a bat'leth-like weapon that has a UV beam instead of a blade.
  • Weaponized Weakness: Blade's weapons are all made of silver and garlic. His gun scopes have UV lights. He's a walking anti-vampire arsenal.

Alternative Title(s): Blade