It seems to me that a lot of people don't know that Blade is actually a superhero movie on par with X-Men, Daredevil, Punisher and the likes. What all these heroes (and in the case of X-Men hero group) have in common is that they were all conceived in the magical world of Marvel. Blade was originally a normal person (in a blue outfit) who chased vampires because of a personal grudge and eventually facing of with Dracula himself and he was for lack of a better word boring. So boring in fact that the character was shelved and in fact never used in the Marvel universe. At least until he was reinvented.
David Goyer did a stroke of genius when he took the character of Blade and turned him into a leather clad dark knight. He can't take all the credit though and much of this must go to Stephen Norrington as well who with his distinct visual style brings out the best of the character. The Blade character (Wesley Snipes) is pretty amazing in this film and mixes martial arts with Batman like darkness. Snipes is pretty good as the title character and is successful in bringing out the duality and inner demons of the character. He is, however, a pretty rigid actor both in voice and in posture and is only interesting enough for one film (which is clearly seen from the inferior sequels). Kris Kristofferson is good as well and really brings the tormented character of Whistler to life with energy and sense of timing. N'Bushe Wright, however, is fairly weak as a leading lady making her character relatively flat and lifeless. Donal Logue is pretty funny and manages to do a lot with a minor character. German, Udo Kier, should also be mentioned as he brings a lot of finesse and style to the vampire race, probably born of his experiences from playing Dracula. Stephen Dorf provides the best acting in the film and his chilling performance as Deacon Frost stands as one of the best screen villains I have perhaps ever seen.
The story is good and, I feel, renews the vampire genre (something that hasn't been done since Robert Rodrigues' From Dusk Till Dawn) by adding a lot of contemporary elements and maintaining the comic book feel. By saying that the film has a comic book feel does not mean that the film is unrealistic. Far from it. A lot of effort has been put in trying to make the film seem as real as possible. Including the effects which are pretty good for their time. I found the vampire "dustings" to be a very nice touch. In stead of adding a lot of blood when a vampire dies Norrington chose to let the vampires spontaneously com-bust which looks great. The fact that the overall effects were well done adds to the credibility of the film which would otherwise have fallen flat on its face.
As previously stated Norrington has a very distinct visual style that sets him apart from the directors of the following Blade movies. Del Toro is nearly as skilled but I prefer Norrington's style. His style gives the film a very special look and feel but most importantly it gives the film atmosphere. A very tense dark atmosphere which works great in tune with the main character and story. Along with the visual style the music which also works fine and adds a lot to the atmosphere of the movie.
All in all Blade is a very entertaining movie that should probably have had an 8 from me but a few annoying flaws (which cannot be revealed without spoiling the movie, suffice to say, many of them are located near the ending of the film) does that the film must settle with a high 7.