Blade

Film
LOOK SHARP Jones gets ready to bare his fangs.
Photo: Diyah Pera/Spike TV LOOK SHARP Jones gets ready to bare his fangs.

Time Out says

Although David S. Goyer’s scripts for the Blade movies bristled with imagination, Wesley Snipes’s humorless roboticism prevented the action-horror franchise from ever being much fun. On TV, with rapper Kirk “Sticky” Jones replacing Snipes as the half-undead monster hunter, Goyer’s whacked-out vampire mythos finally reveals its full potential for lurid fun.

The titular Marvel Comics D-lister is almost a supporting character in the two-hour pilot, which is largely devoted to introducing a female counterpart to the hero (Jill Wagner as a tough but sultry veteran just home from Iraq) and a cheerfully decadent archnemesis (a millionaire industrialist/undercover bloodsucker played by Neil Jackson). Randy Quaid’s hilariously poker-faced cameo as an exposition-spouting professor sets the perfect tone for Goyer’s cybergoth world, which blends time-honored vampire tropes (warring clans and whatnot) with off-the-wall wrinkles (the ashes of staked vamps are a prized recreational drug among humans). All-testosterone network Spike TV clearly broke open the piggy bank for the pilot, which doesn’t stint on action and has sleek production values that make it easier to buy into everything. It seems reasonable to expect a little less flash on a week-to-week basis, but the sharp character dynamics should help make up the difference. The interplay between Jones and Nelson Lee (as Blade’s gadget-guru sidekick, Shen) provides dry comic relief, and covillain Jessica Gower’s sapphic vamping more than fills the camp quota. Gore and spandex have always gone together like maple syrup and bacon, and a series that lets viewers pig out without treating them like idiots is never a bad thing.—Andrew Johnston

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