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Dull Blade

Profile: Ongoing saga of vampire hunter who is part human, part bloodsucker—you know, like Rupert Murdoch—who must team with his sworn enemies to hunt a race of mutant supervampires with an unquenchable bloodlust—you know, like the Boy Scouts. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Blacula meets Batman meets Suck! The Enron Story.

Symptoms: The Doctor must confess as to never having read the comic books on which Blade is based—he was busy bathing and having sex with women—but I think I get the basic thrust: cool-looking loner finds new and exciting ways to kill the undead. I liked that straight-ahead premise for the first half hour. The movie looked cool, especially Blade (Wesley Snipes), who is smoldering and decked out in leather. But then, the movie saddles him with a half-dozen fightin' vampires who have names like Priest, Snowman and Lighthammer—because apparently vampires never bite anyone named Doug—and they attempt to out-smolder and out-leather Blade. Suddenly the movie becomes less about kicking ass and more about group dynamics and hidden agendas until the last half hour, when there's a series of those "Let me explain my entire diabolical plan as to give you more time to escape from those poorly knotted ropes" scenes. I'm not exactly sure what the evil plan was, though it had something to do with Blade becoming pussy-whipped by a vampire chick—you know, like Frank Gifford—and resulting fetuses, which didn't sound so much like an evil plan to me as it did my senior year at St. Pius X Catholic High School.
Script Doctor Diagnosis: One guy in leather is cool; half a dozen guys in leather is Thursday at Rip Taylor's. Prescription: Let Blade be Blade. Leave him alone. And I mean alone. You have this great anti-hero, who, by definition, doesn't want the company nor need the approval or help of others, and you stick him with the cast of Les Boys on Bikes. The problem here is when the leather boys do show up, Blade just kind of recedes into the background, practically disappears in the middle of the movie, almost seems disinterested. If you want, you can still have the six fighting vampires, but have them separate, always in deference to Blade. You need Blade. I'm recommending a script far more Blade-centric. When he's not around, your script's action falls to algebraic plans for world domination or the other characters who are not written well enough to carry the movie—most especially the love-interest vampire chick who delivers her lines in a numbingly stilted manner I hadn't seen from an actress since Keanu Reeves in Sweet November.


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