Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2011-02-01 Entry: "Blade: The Series - "Pilot""

A thankfully short-lived entry from 2006, next up is the tv-version of the Wesley Snipes starring film series...

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: Dobly Digital 5.1

Blade - Sticky Fingaz
Krista Starr - Jill Wagner
Marcus Van Sciver - Neil Jackson

So, does this pick up after one of the movies? We open in Moscow, so maybe it follows on from the very end of the first film? Anyway, there's a guy on a motorcycle in a utility tunnel, chasing a guy in a Russian military uniform. Clearly it's supposed to be Blade on the bike. Wasn't Blade taller than this in the film? There's some fairly average martial arts between the military guy (who's a vampire) and Blade... and Blade gets his lead to Detroit and a name, Marcus Van Sciver. Oh, and there's a ridiculous amount of blood when Blade slits the vamp's throat.

Okay, creepy cop picking up a prostitute and taking her to a meat-packing warehouse... where vampires in the rafters drag her off and eat her. Marcus gets introduced killing a guy called Zack for trying to pry into the secrets of the "House of Cthon" where all of Marcus' secrets are kept. Then we get introduced to Krista, a veteran of some war, and Zack's twin sister. Unfortunately, her "welcome home" party is the time when the police come to the house to tell them that Zack's dead.

Creepy cop is there when Krista identifies the body. Krista notices that Zack has a strange tattoo on his neck, that creepy cop brushes off as a gang sign. Blade's got a new headquarters set up (well, his currently unnamed tech-guy has set the HQ up). The sun's down and Blade's gone hunting... well, either that or he just wants to go to a really rubbish underground club. His magic sunglasses tell him who's human body temperature and who isn't, but he gets into a fistfight with the tattooist in the back room who's got pictures of the vampire glyphs amongst his available art.

Krista goes to Zack's apartment and happens to be there at the same time Blade is searching the place. Chasing him with a knife when he can clearly jump out of a third floor window doesn't seem like the best idea. Blade has trouble controlling himself when Krista cuts her arm during the chase, but he slips away. The creepy detective doesn't want to help her with the investigation of Zack's death... so she pulls the fire alarm and steals the file from his desk.

Blade doesn't have inhalers for his serum any more (was that the third film? I think that's where Doctor Summerfield showed up, but I'm not certain) and his tech guy isn't having much luck recreating the technology. Krista tracks down a guy Zack was arrested with... who has the same tatto as her brother... and who drops a small vial of powder. Between the tattoo and the powder, she tracks down a mysterious author, Professor Melvin Kaylow, who's got garlic hanging by his door and deliberately doesn't invite her in. The vial has "ash" in it, a drug that gives someone the abilities of Hominus Nocturnii for a few hours... and the "ash" is actually the ash from a vampire. Was the Mark Specter reference with werewolves a deliberate reference to something, or just a throwaway.

She gets a lead on the House of Cthon from the author... and then gets her jeep rear-ended by someone who then steals it. Mysterious whispers lead Krista into an adjacent building (with a handy "renovated by Van Sciver" sign on it just in case the audience need a reminder of the villain although to be fair, most will have fallen asleep by this point) where she gets jumped by a couple of vampires.

Okay, shooting vampires doesn't work - blowing big holes in their faces doesn't really appear to faze them very much. But fortunately Blade's there with his magic vampire-killing zap gun. Krista continues to try and shoot them even though she can clearly see her gun doesn't work. At least she accepts that vampires exist after the fight. Okay, vampires don't like garlic. Good to know. Blade does his disappearing act, so Krista has to go back to the Professor to get some answers.

I'd narrate the rest of this... Krista does some investigating, gets in over her head, yada, yada, yada, but I'd have to care, and this is just painfully bad. The script is bad, the acting's bad, Van Sciver gets to chew the scenery but is so bland it's frightening. Krista gets herself turned but we don't really care about her, so it's not as if it matters... I mean, this is a girl so stupid she monologues with the evil vampire rather than just blowing his head off.

Vampire checklist: Crosses and holy water don't work, but garlic, sunlight and ultra-violet light, and silver, are all perfectly good methods of dealing with them. Transmission of vampirism just requires an injection of vampire blood and then a death, so there's very little sucking (well, other than the show itself).

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