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Ghost Canyon

'Blade' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / (1998) 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Wesley Snipes stars as Marvel’s iconic half-vampire, half-human vampire hunter, Blade.

With all the strengths of a vampire, and none of their weaknesses, the Day Walker uses his incredible gifts to hunt his enemies in his search for the one that killed his mother and turned him into the monster he is.

Blade’s fight leads him to Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a rising force in the vampire world, set on raising a vampire God bent on destroying mankind.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the breathtakingly frenetic 'Blade’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 1st, 2020.

For my money, this 'Blade: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Blade' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the truly excellent meat locker warehouse dance rave scene (yes, you red all that correctly!) where Blade takes on a slew of manchette-wielding, and colorfully-dressed vampires, blowing them away and into ashes with his shotgun, one after the other!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the one-on-one inner sanctum fight scene with the brilliant Stephen Dorff; although the CGI for when Dorff's hand "morphs" back into being is a little old school now, in truth!), which is now interestingly different, and allows their contorted facial expressions to become much more detailed and alive within this incredible 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps).

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, in the mid-1990s, Marvel Comics film adaptations where in the midst of some serious doldrums. The previous released Marvel adaptation had been a film version of Captain America that was produced for a extremely low budget and ended up going straight to video; which was appropriate considering how terrible it was!

There had also been an abortive attempt to produce a Fantastic Four film, but after the completion of the film, it was shelved when producer Bern Eichenger made a deal with director/producer Chris Columbus to produce a big-budget version (which would take more than a decade to actually make it to screen).

It was into this environment of calamity that emerged a film centered around a little-known Marvel character named Blade. Blade, a half-human, half-vampire who has devoted his life to destroying other vampires, didn't seem like a likely choice to bring some light to the Marvel universe, but it did and managed, in many ways to breathe life back into Marvel film adaptations.

Written by comics aficionado David Goyer (whose personal collection of comics reportedly stretched into the thousands), Blade was a vehicle for Wesley Snipes, directed by a former make-up effects artist turned director named Stephen Norrington.

The results, while not perfect, are rather entertaining for a action-driven comic adaptation. Blade starts off with guns blazing, featuring a high-energy action sequence in an impromptu vampire nightclub where vampires gather to feast on unlucky victims.

The sequence is full of energy, some rather tense suspense at the appropriate moments and well-staged fight sequences.

It is from here that the film's plot begins to unfold: the world is secretly ruled by an ancient race of vampires who control much of the financial empire throughout the globe, manipulating humans and using some as their pawns.

Blade, assisted by his mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), a man whose family was killed by a vampire, hunts down vampires from city to city, desperately attempting to rid the world of this scourge.

It is after a vampire bites a doctor involved in blood research, Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright), whom Blade attempts to save from becoming a vampire, that he finds himself drawn closer to his arch-nemesis, Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), who is attempting to translate ancient vampire text to discover the secrets of a all-powerful deity who will transform the world into vampires.

Blade is not high-art, that is for sure. The film is not designed to change your life or make you think deeply about important issues. It is, however, designed to provide some entertainment for it's running time, and pulls it off fairly well.

As with other films of it's type, when a complicated culture has to be introduced to the audience, an outsider is the perfect opportunity, and Karen Jenson provides that entrance into the world of the vampires, allowing for exposition that is not unrealistically placed.

We learn a fair amount about the film's vampire world, and it proves interesting at times. However, this is first and foremost an action film, and Blade services that aspect well. Beyond the opening scene, there are several major fight sequences in Blade, all well choreographed and destined to get the adrenaline pumping.

Director Norrington uses some stylization during the course of the film, including time-lapse photography, but doesn't overdo it like other films heavy on action in recent years.

Wesley Snipes is strong in the role of Blade, making an indelible impression, even with limited dialogue. He looks the part of hardened vampire killer and wears the role well.

Kris Kristofferson is good as his mentor Whistler, providing some necessary levity at moments and giving us a more human hero to latch onto when Blade proves a bit less than talkative. N'Bushe Wright is serviceable in her role, but proves to be a somewhat bland companion for Blade.

Oh and yes, for those wondering, Stephen Dorff gives a good performance as the villain, without going over the top.

Blade is not quite as good as other Marvel adaptations that followed it in short order, such as X-Men and Spider-Man, but it is a decent piece of action film-making that does it's job well.

Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

'Blade' will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Blade in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on December 1st, 2020.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of 'Blade' will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of 'Blade' will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

• Commentary with Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, David S. Goyer, Theo Van De Sande, Kirk M. Petruccelli & Peter Frankfurt
• Isolated score with commentary by composer Mark Isham

Original 1998 'Blade' Trailer

'Blade: 4K Ultra HD' Blu-ray Amazon Purchase Link