Come on now: Did anyone really think I was going to endure Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell dressed as Elvis in some sort of anti-hero crapfest? Kurt Russell has done the Elvis thing before, if I remember correctly. It was some sort of made-for-TV mini-series based on the life of "The King" back in the late 70's, when there were still a few sane people around who gave a crap about his death. For all I know 3000 Miles To Graceland may be the 21st Century's Gone With The Wind but I'm more inclined to think that seeing Costner doing Elvis would be more painful that filing my lower lip with a cheese grater for an equivalent period of time. Is Costner ever going to make another good movie?
Monkeybone: Now there is a movie title that just screams, "Stay home, pop open a beer, lay on the couch and watch anything that comes on." Doesn't matter what it is...even the crappy Saturday afternoon UPN movie: I think this week it was The Laverne and Shirley 25th Anniversary Reunion. Yeah, when that starts sounding good, you gotta know Monkeybone sucks...I don't even like beer. What I do know is that I've been torched by Brendan Frazier movies so many times now that I probably couldn't even go to a theater where one was showing without slurry bombers circling overhead in preparation.
So once again, it was a weekend for visiting the videostore, and I came home with Blade. There is nothing that old Kex loves more than a good vampire flick, and this movie definitley left me wishing I had rented one. Movies like this are the primary reason I opened this review page to chisel a few notches in the ego-driven, over inflated, crap factory that has become Hollywood.
It never ceases to astonish me that there are still a few folks out there that can look me in the eye, with a straight face, and claim that there is no correlation between movie violence and the rising tide of social disorder. After seeing Blade, I was left with a nearly overpowering impulse to attempt to hack into the American missle defense system and launch everything we had in the direction of Southern California. I'd have to call that a violent reaction to a violent movie. Geeze Louise, was this a violent movie. Hey Hollywood,does anyone out there remember the definition of the word "plot?"
I've spent most of a fitful night attempting to come up with words to summarize the storyline of Blade only to realize that there is so little story to summarize that it was a waste of what might have been a good night's sleep. Here is what Blade is about: Wesley Snipes kicks some ass. Wesley snipes struts around looking like a bad ass. Reset to the start.
Okay, I exaggerate slightly. There is a tiny grain of a story here. Snipes plays a sort of vampire-human hybrid, because his mom was bitten just before she gave birth to him. Thus with the aid of his vampire-hunter friend (Kris Kristofferson)he has made it his personal mission to rid the world of vampire kind. Kristofferson made every effort to stealth his appearance sufficiently in this film that no one would recognize him; or maybe he just looks like that these days, and someone fished him out of an alley and obliged him with a paycheck. Its kind of hard to say, but I have some doubts that he would have stooped to this kind of project two decades ago, when he actually had a career worth building and saving.
Snipes nemesis is vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who apparently needs Blade's blood to transform himself into some sort of legendary super vampire. You see, the vampires of the world exist in a kind of loose confederation, that is apparently run by a board of Directors that could have been lifted out of one of the Godfather movies. They seem more interested in just going about their vampire business, which curiously involves running corporate ventures and maintaining sort of a loose peaceful coexistance with humans, whom they prey on anyway. That part of the movie seemed a little vague, but except for the scenes of graphic violence, almost everything in this movie is pretty vague.
In reality, this movie lifted things out of a lot of other films...the Godfather style vampire Board of Directors wasn't the only pilfered image. A lot of martial arts films were borrowed against here, not that if you haven't seen one, you've seen them all anyway. The entire tone and atmosphere of the movie was lifted from a film with a similar but slightly longer title: Blade Runner. The latter was also something of a festival of graphic violence, the principle differences being that 1. There was actually more plot than pounding, and 2. it was a reasonably good film.
In Blade Runner, you had the inner turmoils of a man struggling against questions of justice and appropriateness of his own enterprise. Ultimately, that was intersperced with his own uncertainty of the nature of his existance: Harrison Ford began to wonder if he wasn't, in fact, one of the droids he made a living by hunting down. By contrast, Snipes had no uncertainties about his status in Blade. He was a bad ass half-human, half-vampire and he hated it, so he took it out on all the vampires he could catch. I guess we were supposed to be glad he wasn't on the other side.
Then again, maybe Snipes wasn't all that upset about his misbegotten life. Maybe we just watched a portion of his existance in the throws of being pissed off about a really bad trip to the barber. He'd have had some justification there, because that haircut was a crime against humanity. I'd would have hated to have seen the guy that gave it to him when he got done, although there would have been a guy who had it coming. If you pull a guy with a rifle off a tower and see a haircut like that, you sort of feel an empathy for where the man is coming from. On the other hand, hair DOES grow back.
I guess next time I get a yen for a vampire flick, I hunt around until I can find a safer era from which to enjoy the tale...the younger crop these days has turned the entire legend into kind of an icky blend of rave and rap pop culture. The vampires of my taste were the distinguised, genteel types as portrayed by Lugosi, Lee and Palance; the well groomed spiders luring the unsuspecting into their web of terror. My vampires don't look like Jay and Silent Bob. The very thought of Christopher Lee or Jack Palance battling Abraham Van Helsing with martial arts manuvers is so absurd that I can only wonder how the genre got morphed into this pathetic state. And I don't even want to consider pulling up a mental image of Bela Lugosi donning a bad-ass scowl.