Not even Blade is safe from being Darren’d

PLOT

In the pilot, Krista Starr returns from military service in Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Her investigation reveals Zack had been a “familiar” – a kind of indentured servant of vampires, who agrees to do their bidding in the hopes his “master” will eventually reward him with eternal life. Krista’s search for her brother’s killer leads her to face Blade, as well as Marcus Van Sciver; Zack’s killer. Marcus is a powerful vampire and high-ranking member of the House of Chthon. Smitten with Krista, Marcus decides to turn her into a vampire by injecting her with his blood. Krista is then approached by Blade, who injects her with the same serum he uses to control his own vampire instincts, and offers her a chance to help him avenge her brother’s death and bring down Marcus and the House of Chthon, and revealed that Zack was trying to do a sting operation with Blade. The two form a reluctant partnership.

The remainder of the season follows Krista’s attempts to maintain her cover in the House of Chthon, all the while struggling with her growing predatory nature, and Marcus’s (supposed) efforts to develop a “vaccine” that will render vampires immune to all their traditional weaknesses; sunlight, silver, garlic, etc. It is later revealed that Marcus’s true purpose is to create a virus called the Aurora Project that will specifically target “purebloods”, the ruling vampire class, and leave the turnbloods (normal vampires like Chase and Marcus, who were once human) unscathed. He eventually unleashes his weapon in the series finale, surprisingly enough with Blade’s help.

REVIEW

When the show first came out I avoided it like the plague, due to my experiences with Blade Trinity, and I regret making that decision, as this was a pretty good show. While I prefer Wesley Snipes (he was even offered to reprise the role, but declined), Kirk Jones a pretty good replacement for Snipes in the role. So was Jill Wagner, as Krista. I would’ve loved to have seen what would’ve happened if the show kept going, there was a shout-out to Moon Knight, so we could’ve seen him at some point, I’d even like to see them tackle the Deathstalkers, but gradually build up to them, not throw them at us all at once like in Blade Trinity.

Overall, I wished I could’ve seen this when this was on TV, this is a good show, and I’d love to have seen this go somewhere if it wasn’t canceled.

The series was released on DVD, and it’s available for streaming. However, since the show is owned by both Disney and Warner Bros. (via New Line) it can be viewed on both Marvel’s website and the CW Seed.

RANK: 4 out of 5

And that was this year’s longer-than-usual Marvel Month, come back soon for an explanation, and a surprise later.

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Remember when movies never tried to cash-in on there characters by putting them in spin-off movies? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

PLOT

Vampires investigate an ancient tomb in the Syrian Desert, which they believe belongs to Dracula, the first vampire. To keep Blade from interfering, they frame him for the murder of a human familiar. FBI agents subsequently locate Blade’s hideout and kill his mentor and friend, Abraham Whistler. Demoralized, Blade surrenders and is arrested.

The vampires’ familiars have arranged for the authorities to turn Blade over to them. He is rescued by Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler, Abraham’s daughter, who invite Blade to join their band of vampire hunters, the Nightstalkers. From them, Blade learns that Danica Talos, an old enemy of King’s, has revived Dracula, or “Drake”, with the goal of using his powers to cure vampires of their weaknesses. As the first of the vampires, Drake’s DNA is untainted and he is able to survive in sunlight. Along with newly-innovative ultraviolet “Sun dog” ammunition, the Nightstalkers have created an experimental bioweapon known as Daystar, capable of killing vampires at the genetic level. However, they need a purer blood source to make it effective. As Drake is too powerful to kill via normal means, they hope that the virus will kill him and, with his blood in the mix, ensure the rest of the species is wiped out, but also fear that this will include Blade, too.

Eager to test Blade, Drake isolates him from the Nightstalkers, as he considers them unworthy of challenging him. He explains that all humans and vampires are inferior in his eyes and that he intends to wipe them from the Earth. Abigail finds evidence of the vampires “Final solution”: a network of ‘farms’ where comatose humans are drained of their blood for vampire consumption. Told the humans are all brain dead, Blade deactivates the farm’s life support systems.

Returning to the Nightstalkers’s hideout, Abigail and Blade find all of them dead except for King and Sommerfield’s daughter Zoe, both of whom have been taken captive. A recording left by Sommerfield, Daystar’s creator, reveals that Drake’s blood is all that is needed to make it complete and effective. King is tortured by the vampires for information, but refuses to talk, even when they threaten to turn him and feed him Zoe’s blood.

Blade and Abigail arrive and free the captives. Drake eventually bests Blade in single combat and prepares to kill him with his own sword. Abigail fires the Daystar arrow, but Drake catches it before it strikes him. He drops it to the floor by Blade, not realising the danger it poses to him. At the last second, Blade stabs him with it, triggering a chemical reaction that completes the “Daystar” virus, releasing it into the air, the virus becomes airborne, killing Danica and the rest of the vampires. As Drake slowly succumbs to his wounds and the virus, he praises Blade for fighting honorably, but warns him that he will eventually succumb to his need for blood, thus proving that Blade already is the new type of vampire.

Using the last of his power, Drake disguises himself as Blade. The FBI recover the body and declare Blade legally dead but when they go to examine the body they realise that Blade isn’t dead after all. Hannibal narrates that the virus didn’t kill Blade as the human half of his heart didn’t stop beating it only slowed down so he entered Into a comatose state until his body was ready to fight again, he awakens several months later ready to continue his fight against the vampires.

REVIEW

As the header and plot recap gives away, this was an attempt to make a spin-off for the Deathstalkers. Unfortunately, no one learned from Die Another Day (another movie, that tried to spin-off a character), and realized it was a bad idea. Once again, Wesley Snipes was great once again as Blade, though the only real downside of his performance is that he was basically carrying the movie for Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, speaking of Ryan Reynolds, was actually pretty enjoyable as Hannibal, Jessica Biel, should really stop doing action movies, she was in The A-Team and that sucked, she was in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Macross (Stealth) and that sucked, here she’s not only terrible as Abigail, Dominic Purcell played the villain Dracula, and he was pretty forgettable, unlike Triple H, who had a pretty decent fight scene with Wesley Snipes. Overall, Dominic Purcell said it best in Legends of Tomorrow: “Who writes this crap anyway? Just stick with the first two movies.

RANK: 2 out of 5

Finally we close the Tomb on Marvel Month with the TV adventures of Blade, and see how it stacks up with the movies.

Guillermo del Toro unintentionally inspired the Smoke Monster in Lost.

PLOT

Two years after the events of Blade, a pandemic known as the “Reaper virus” has spread through the vampire community. Infected vampires are turned into what are referred to as ‘Reapers’, by the vampire nation. Reapers are a mutation of vampires – immune to all vampire weaknesses with the exception of bright light, who kill humans and turn any vampires they feed on into more Reapers. Unable to contain the Reapers, Vampire Lord Eli Damaskinos sends two emissaries, Asad and his daughter Nyssa, to seek the aid of vampire hunter Blade and his team, consisting of weaponsmith Abraham Whistler and Blade’s new assistant Scud. Blade has since recovered Whistler, who had been held captive and tortured by the group of vampires, for 2 years (since the end of the previous film). Whistler had been turned into a vampire by them, and after returning to their headquarters, Blade gives Whistler an anti-virus vampire serum to revert him back to human. After meeting with Damaskinos and his human familiar, lawyer Karel Kounen, they cautiously agree to help due to the danger of the Reapers’ uncontrollable hunger and rapid mutation. Asad then introduces Blade and his group to The Bloodpack; a group of vampires trained for the sole purpose of killing Blade. In addition to Asad and Nyssa, The Bloodpack consists of Reinhardt, Chupa, Snowman, Verlaine, her lover Lighthammer, and Priest. To keep them in line and after Reinhardt’s racially-charged remark, Blade humiliates Reinhardt and plants an explosive charge on the back of Reinhardt’s head.

On Blade’s advice, the team starts by investigating a local nightclub frequented by vampires. When they do encounter Reapers, they soon discover their weapons and powers are completely ineffective. Blade is forced to kill Priest after he becomes infected, Lighthammer is wounded (and infected but he keeps this to himself), Whistler deserts his post, and Scud barely survives a Reaper attack by using UV lights to scare them off. Jared Nomak, ‘Patient Zero’ of the Reaper strain, attacks and nearly kills Blade before a burst of sunlight forces him to retreat. Whistler appears, and says he has been tracking the Reapers to a central nest in the sewers.

The dissection of a Reaper corpse which was trapped by an electronic hatch reveals that most Reapers tend to burn out within twelve hours if they do not feed, as well as having an additonal layer of bone, which surrounds and protects their heart. Having learned of this ‘Achilles heel’, prime weakness, he and Scud create UV projectors for the team.

While searching for the nest, Lighthammer succumbs to the infection, killing Snowman and chasing Verlaine up a manhole ladder before both die of light exposure when Verlaine removes the manhole cover. Chupa turns on Whistler and attacks him, only to die when a group of Reapers attracted to his scent tear him apart. Whistler survives an encounter with Nomak only because he reveals the truth of his condition and situation to Whistler so he can inform Blade. Asad is ambushed, dragged underwater, and killed. Using a special UV emitter bomb pack, Blade kills all of the Reapers with the exception of Nomak and rescues Reinhardt and Nyssa, but is betrayed by Damaskinos and his people, who stun Blade unconscious.

After Damaskinos’ betrayal, he reveals that he created The Reaper virus in order to create a new race of vampires based on Blade and that Nomak is in fact his son. Scud turns out to be a familiar loyal to Damaskinos, who also works with Reinhardt. Blade turns the table on Scud, saying he always knew of Scud’s true allegiance, and kills him with the bomb he had placed on Reinhardt, earlier. Damaskinos then orders his scientists to dissect Blade so they can learn how to replicate his abilities. After escaping his captors, Whistler brings Blade to a blood pool, where he regains enough strength to kill Reinhardt and his men.

Seeking revenge, Nomak tracks Damaskinos to his private heliport and kills him. He then bites Nyssa, infecting her with the virus while drinking her blood. Blade confronts Nomak, and after a ferocious battle, defeats him. With his now-broken sword, Blade stabs it through the side of Nomak’s chest and into his bone-protected heart, slipping it through the bone plates on the side. Nomak then commits suicide to end his suffering by shoving the sword all the way into his wounded heart. Fulfilling Nyssa’s dying wish, Blade takes her outside, where she dies while watching the sun rise before she can fully change. The movie ends with Blade in London, where he kills Rush, a vampire he encountered earlier in the movie.

REVIEW

This was pretty decent, I remember when I first saw this I thought it was great, and I can still say it’s pretty enjoyable to watch now. Guillermo del Toro did a fantastic job directing, and the creature effects and design, of course with things like that I wouldn’t have expected anything less from him. Wesley Snipes, as usual has yet to give a bad performance as Blade, Ron Perlman was awesome as Reinhardt, and something I didn’t notice until recent years, Norman Reedus, Donnie Yen, and Danny John-Jules was in this movie, I thought that was pretty neat. Overall, it was pretty enjoyable, and the best film of Blade Trilogy.

RANK 3 out of 5

Next time we look at the worst the Blade Trilogy has to offer, and the beginning of Ryan Reynolds’ career in superhero movies.

We also obsessed with vampires in the 90s. So it made sense Marvel wanted this to be a hit.

PLOT

In 1967, a pregnant woman is attacked by a vampire while giving birth. Doctors are able to save her baby, but the woman dies of infection.

Thirty years later, the child has become the vampire hunter Blade. He raids a rave club owned by the vampire Deacon Frost. Police take one of the vampires to the hospital, where he feeds on hematologist Karen Jenson and escapes. Blade takes Karen to a safe house where she is treated by his old friend Abraham Whistler. Whistler explains that he and Blade have been waging a secret war against vampires using weapons based on their elemental weaknesses, such as sunlight and silver. As Karen is now “marked” by the bite of a vampire, both he and Blade tell her to leave the city.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of vampire elders, Frost, the leader of a faction of younger vampires, is rebuked for trying to incite war between vampires and humans. As Frost and his kind were not born as vampires and are therefore not pure-bloods, they are considered socially inferior. In response, Frost has one of the elders executed and strips the others of their authority.

Upon returning to her apartment, Karen is attacked by a policeman, who is a “familiar”, a human slave controlled by a vampire. Blade subdues the familiar and uses information from him to locate an archive of vampire history. Later, at the hideout, Blade injects himself with a special serum that prevents him from succumbing to his desire to drink blood, which would ultimately turn him into a vampire. However, the serum is beginning to lose its effectiveness due to overuse.

While experimenting with the anticoagulant EDTA as a possible replacement, Karen discovers that it explodes when combined with vampire blood. She manages to synthesize a vaccine that can cure the infected, but learns that it will not work on a human-vampire hybrid like Blade. Frost and his men attack the hideout, infect Whistler, and abduct Karen. When Blade returns, he helps Whistler commit suicide and arms himself with special syringes filled with EDTA.

When Blade attempts to rescue Karen from Frost’s penthouse, he is subdued and taken to the Temple of Eternal Night, where Frost plans to perform the summoning ritual for La Magra, the vampire blood god. Blade is drained of his blood, but Karen allows him to drink from her, triggering his vampirism. Frost completes the ritual and obtains the powers of La Magra. Blade confronts Frost after killing all of his minions, including Blade’s mother. During their fight, Blade injects Frost with all of the syringes, causing his body to explode.

Karen offers to help Blade cure himself, but he asks her to create a new serum instead. In a brief epilogue, Blade confronts a vampire in Moscow.

REVIEW

The film wasn’t too bad, while the effects haven’t aged well, it’s not near the same level of bad as New Line’s other big superhero movie, Spawn. Wesley Snipes was awesome as Blade, he was clearly born to play the guy, and his big one-liner at the end of the movie was hilarious. The fight scenes were great, very Hong Kong movie inspired, and the editing was great as well. Aside from the effects, the actors playing Deacon’s minions  weren’t that entertaining,and even came off as a bit annoying (that sadly includes Donal Logue), the worst contender being  Arly Jover, though that’s forgivable since it was her first movie. Overall, While it has its flaws, and it may not be my favorite superhero movie, it’s still very enjoyable.

RANK: 3 out of 5

Tomb of Marvel Month continues with my introduction to Guillermo del Toro, with Blade II.

Not a big fan of guys who try to ice skate uphill.

It’s that time again, where we journey to the world of Marvel Comics adaptations, but this time instead of looking at various adaptations of Marvel properties, were just focusing on one series of movies and one TV show featuring Marvel’s resident vampire hunter, the daywalker himself, Eric Bishop, AKA Blade.

Everyone likes to talk about how Deadpool was the greatest R-rated comic book movie, but they seem to forget that Blade was the first R-rated comic book movie, if it wasn’t for Blade, we wouldn’t have had a certain series of movies that would be the subject for next year, people wouldn’t have been as interested in comic book movies as they are now, and we wouldn’t have the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But, one question remains, does any of the movies, or the TV show still hold up after all these years?

Find out next week as we look at Blade.

SHIFT IN-TO TUR-BO!

PLOT

On a distant planet, a wizard named Lerigot is being hunted by Divatox; an intergalactic space pirate, who seeks his golden key in order to traverse an inter-dimensional gateway and enter into matrimony with Maligore, a demon who promises to grant her great riches and power. Lerigot escapes Divatox’s forces and travels to Earth in search of Zordon and his friend Alpha 5, but lands in Africa instead. Weakened by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, Lerigot meets a pack of common chimpanzees and wanders off with them. Meanwhile, Divatox sets off for Earth in pursuit.

In Angel Grove, Rocky, Adam, and Tommy are training for a charity fighting competition to save the Youth Shelter, when Rocky accidentally injures his back. Kat and Tanya arrive with Justin, a kid who admires Rocky and frequents the shelter. As Rocky is rushed to the hospital, Justin follows the group and learns that they are Power Rangers. Zordon sends Tommy and Kat to search for Lerigot. They manage to find him and return to the Power Chamber.

Divatox’s nephew, Elgar searches for two human sacrifices to revive Maligore. He abducts Bulk and Skull, but Divatox rejects them for not being pure of heart. Divatox finds two perfect specimens who are scuba diving nearby and captures them. While recovering, Lerigot is contacted by Divatox, who has captured his family and demands that he surrender himself. Divatox also uses the two hostages, revealed to be Kimberly and Jason, to pressure the Rangers. At the exchange site, Elgar tricks the Rangers and takes Lerigot without releasing their friends.

Zordon and Alpha create new powers for the Rangers to defeat Divatox. With the new Turbo powers and their new vehicular Turbo Zords, the Rangers drive across the desert to a ship called the Ghost Galleon. They are joined by Justin, who has received Rocky’s Blue Ranger powers as the new Blue Turbo Ranger as Rocky is unable to rejoin his friends. On Divatox’s submarine, Jason and Kim work on a plan to escape. When the Ghost Galleon and Divatox’s submarine arrive at the inter-dimensional gateway known as the Nemesis Triangle, Divatox forces Lerigot to allow them to cross while the Rangers do the same with the keys to their Ranger powers.

Once they reach the island where Maligore is imprisoned, Divatox torpedoes the ship and Rangers narrowly escape. Bulk, Skull and Kimberly escape the sub, but Jason is trapped and left behind. Kimberly has been captured by the Malicians; inhabitants of the island, and Divatox forces Lerigot to make the Malicians join her with Kimberly. At the temple in the volcano, the Rangers fight Divatox’s forces, but are unable to free Jason and Kimberly before the two are possessed by Maligore and attack the Rangers mercilessly. The Rangers free Lerigot and his wife Yara, who undo the possession.

Angered, Divatox sacrifices her nephew and successfully revives Maligore. The Rangers summon their Turbo Megazord to fight Maligore. They defeat him as Divatox and Rygog flee, vowing vengeance. The Rangers pick up Jason, Kimberly, Lerigot, Yara, Bulk and Skull and return to Angel Grove. At the competition, Jason takes Rocky’s place, and they win the tournament, earning the money in order to save the shelter.

REVIEW

This wasn’t as good as the first movie, and wasn’t as entertaining either. While it wasn’t as entertaining, it still had some redeeming qualities, like the fact that they actually made an original zord fight sequence, I know they did this already in Seasons 2 and 3 of Mighty Morphin, and a few episodes of Zeo, but I like to think this was done as a test to see if they can pull it off. It was also great to see Amy Jo Johnson again, despite the “Dear John” incident, and I thought the cameo from Rita and Zedd was funny. Everything else was terrible. The villains were terrible, Rocky’s removal from the main plot was dumb, and transition from Zeo to Turbo was laughably lazy. And no, I’m not going to complain about Justin, because its been done to death. Overall, I’d rather they just aired this on TV as a special, rather than release this in theaters. I can;t really recommend this as a movie.

RANK: 2 out of 5

So, thank you all for your patience and for helping the blog reach 200 post. Hopefully the 300th post won’t take as long. Next up, Marvel Month 5.0!

They should ditch the visors and mouthplates. Really show us their emotions, you know?

PLOT

The Power Rangers participate with Bulk and Skull in a charity skydive for the Angel Grove observatory, in anticipation of Ryan’s Comet which is scheduled to pass by in two days.

Bulk and Skull miss the target landing zone and accidentally land on a construction site where a giant egg has been unearthed. Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa, Goldar, and Mordant arrive at the construction site and crack open the egg, releasing Ivan Ooze after 6,000 years, a morphological being who ruled Earth with an iron fist before he was overthrown by Zordon and a group of young warriors. Ivan lays siege to the Rangers’ Command Center and incapacitates Zordon, robbing the Rangers of their powers. As the Rangers return to the Command Center, they find it destroyed and Zordon dying.

Zordon’s assistant Alpha 5 sends the Rangers to the distant planet Phaedos to obtain the Great Power and save Zordon. On Earth, Ivan usurps Rita and Zedd, trapping them in a snow globe. Ivan sends his Tengu warriors to Phaedos and begins building an army. He uses his ooze to hypnotize the adults, forcing them to be his workforce to dig up his Ecto-Morphicon Titans, twin war machines built during his reign. When Fred Kelman, a friend of the Rangers’, discovers his father missing, he finds him working at the construction site and discovers Ivan’s plans.

On Phaedos, the Rangers are almost killed by the Tengu, but are rescued by Dulcea, Phaedos’ Master Warrior. After hearing of Zordon’s plight, she agrees to help them and takes them to an ancient ruined temple where the Rangers will have to overcome obstacles to acquire the power of the Ninjetti. Dulcea awakens each Rangers’ animal spirit: Aisha is the bear, Billy is the wolf, Rocky is the ape, Kimberly is the crane, Tommy is the falcon, and Adam is the frog. The Rangers make their way to the Monolith housing the Great Power, defeat its four guardians, and retrieve the Great Power.

On Earth, Ivan’s Ecto-Morphicons are completely unearthed, and he unleashes them on Angel Grove, ordering the parents to commit suicide at the construction site. Fred, Bulk, Skull and other students head to the construction site to save their parents. The Rangers return with their new animal-themed Ninja Zords and destroy one of Ivan’s Ecto-Morphicons. Ivan takes control of the other and battles the Rangers himself. The Rangers lead Ivan into space right into the path of Ryan’s Comet, which destroys him. His destruction breaks the hypnosis and the parents are reunited with their children. The Rangers then use the Great Power to restore the Command Center and resurrect Zordon.

In a mid-credits scene, Goldar briefly lounges in Zedd’s throne being served by Mordant only to panic when Zedd and Rita appear having been released after Ivan was destroyed.

REVIEW

So after all these years, this movie doesn’t really hold as well as it use to, but I still enjoyed watching it. The effects are obviously dated especially when you take into account that this was out six months before Toy Story, the dialog is corny as all get out, the plot holes, and then there’s all the behind-the-scenes issues that plagued the movie. I’m not sure if the video still exists, but try and find Linkara’s Introduction to The History of Power Rangers, which briefly touches upon the issues about the movie, or see his review of the comic adaptation which goes in better detail behind the movie. Problems aside, I still enjoy watching this movie, and I especially enjoy the villain Ivan Ooze. He’s corny and quotable as all hell. Overall, while it’s not a great movie, it’s still very fun to watch from time to time, if you have the time I recommend seeing it for yourself.

RANK: 3 out of 5

Next is their canonical trip to the big screen with Turbo’s glorified pilot episode.