He Makes The Weapons, I Use Them – Blade

27 08 2014

Blade 1998 2

Since about 2007 when I watched Blade: The Series on the now defunct UK channel Bravo, I have had a long and fascinated interest in the Marvel Comics character Blade, however it is the kind of interest that doesn’t involve reading the comics as I would have no idea where to start. My interest though has always been on-going. I like the idea of him; I like the badass actions and look of him as well as his more lone wolf nature. He is all round a fantastic character. The kind of guy who would go into a situation without any planning and armed to the teeth with weapons and would make his presence known either silently or more likely by punching the first guy he sees. Despite this interest though, the one thing that has eluded me are the films. I have not had much opportunity to watch them as they are not shown on television all that often and for several years the only one I had been able to see was Blade Trinity, until very recently.

B10

Released in 1998 and directed by Stephen Norrington, the film follows the on-going battle between Humans and Vampires from the perspective of the title character. The film begins in a flashback dating 1967 where a pregnant woman who is bleeding from the neck dies as her son is delivered by C-Section. Flash-forward to a modern underground day party scene where a seemingly ordinary young man is taken to, but gets treated very differently before being drenched in blood and attacked by the party goers who turn out to be Vampires. When trying to escape he encounters a man dressed head to toe in leather and covered in a lot of shiny things, all the vampires begin to separate upon realising who it is and call him Blade (Wesley Snipes). They attack him, but are quickly dispatched by this strange new man who possess a strong array of weapons as well as athleticism and strength fighting another vampire named Quinn (Donal Logue) before setting him on fire. Blade leaves the area as the police arrive and the charred remains of Quinn arrive at a city morgue. At the morgue Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) is shown a blood sample from the body, goes down to inspect it and is then attacked by the seemingly dead person who bites her throat. Blade arrives to finish him off but is attacked by the hospital Guards. He takes Karen away from the building and takes her to his hideout where his mentor and weapon smith Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) states that Blade should have killed her and injects her with Garlic.

B7

In a board room, a group of vampires are discussing the problems that Blade is giving them before calling upon a vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who is stirring up trouble within the ranks. Karen wakes up and discovers Whistler injecting Blade with a Serum. She tries to escape but is confronted by Whistler and Blade. They let her go but she is told to get out of the city as soon as possible. On her way back to her apartment, she is attacked by a Cop but is rescued by Blade. She stays with Blade wanting to know what is going on and crash a Vampire Club. Blade and Karen discover some articles and documents which show that Frost is looking for something. They are then both attacked by a healing Quinn and his men. With some help from Whistler, they manage to escape. Karen is informed by Whistler that Blade is a Vampire, but not like the rest. He is a Daywalker, a vampire hybrid who can walk around in sunlight. He shares all their strengths, and none of their weaknesses except the thirst. He therefore uses a serum to survive, but his body has begun to reject it and needs a new one. Out on a beach somewhere, Frost, Quinn and Frost’s supposed lover Mercury (Arly Jover) kill vampire elder Gitano Dragonetti (Udo Kier) by exposing him to sunlight.

B1

Back at the hideout Blade shows Whistler a segment of ancient Vampire Texts which Frost was looking for which says something by an ancient Bloodgod called La Magra. Karen discovers she is slowly turning into a vampire and creates a cure for herself. She also discovers that the anticoagulant EDTA causes Vampire Blood to explode. Blade encounters Frost during the day that has covered his skin in Sun Cream to avoid the exposure to sunlight. He offers Blade a truce but Blade refuses it. Frost’s men then invade the hideout injuring Whistler and taking Karen prisoner. Blade finds Whistler and gives him his gun so Whistler can kill himself. Blade attacks Frost’s men before discovering Vanessa (Sanaa Lathan), his mother. She says that Frost was the one who bit her. Blade is then captured.

B9

Blade and Karen are taken to an underground temple called the Temple of Eternal Night. There, Frost plans to turn himself into the Bloodgod. They trap Blade who is now weak after thirteen hours without his serum into a sarcophagus which drains him of his blood. Karen is put down a hole where her ex-colleague (Tim Guinee) has become an animalistic Vampire, and Mercury sets out the other Vampire Leaders in a circle formation underneath the room the sarcophagus is in. Karen escapes from the pit and rescues Blade who is dying, she feeds him her blood which give Blade the animalistic strength to fight the Vampires. Frost, through the sacrifice becomes La Magra. Bade kills Vanessa before wiping out Frost’s Men. Karen manages to get a shotgun and kills Mercury with a vampire spray Whistler gave her earlier. Blade encounters Frost who has seemingly become invincible thanks to his new powers, but Blade uses the EDTA to cause Frost to explode. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Blade asks her to create him a new Serum. The film then finishes with Blade dealing with a vampire in Moscow.

B3

Blade is unlike other Superhero or Comic Book films as in the character is more of a vigilante possibly on par with anti-hero, sort of like Snake Plissken. But because it’s not your ordinary run of the mill comic book movie and more of a realistic action movie (all be it with vampires), it makes the film more appealing to other audiences instead of just the comic book goers and as a result is able to reach a more widespread audience but does not contradict or contravene the main character. Blade is still Blade but the setting is made out to be more in times with the modern world and as such connects more with the audience instead of a setting that would need more explaining for the audience to understand.

B6

The films main cast is sort of made of on and off characters; hit and misses, some which could have had more time on-screen and others who are just that little bit annoying. Quinn plays the part of a henchman who thinks of himself as being quite cool but is actually the modern fool (tongue twister) and find his constant appearances rather annoying and find it rather pleasing that he is the first to be killed by Blade in the Final Fight. I don’t think Udo Kier gets enough time on-screen as his character needs more initial explaining along with his actual place in both the world and film. Racquel (Traci Lords) is supposedly given a main role but only really appears in the first act and is hardly seen again, if at all, Pearl (Eric Edwards) the librarian is very grotesque but the identity of the creature is not shown and you are at a loss trying to understand what it is, Officer Krieger (Kevin Patrick Walls); the cop familiar that attacks Karen, is a rotter at best, but his place in the film is not really needed other than for Karen to begin working with Blade, It is sort of bit coincidental and predictable that Karen runs into her ex-colleague, and Vanessa; Blade’s Mother now vampire has no real proper on-screen time for the shock to Blade become really apparent nor the mystery of where she has been all these years and her character is all round pointless except for maybe Frost having a tool to capture Blade with.

Donal Logue, Udo Kier, Traci Lords, Tim Guinee, Eric Edwards and Sanaa Lathan

Despite this though the film has some really good cast. Stephen Dorff is a real rotten character. He is obviously the main film’s villain but instead of being the over the top Dracula or Darth Vader type, he is the casual party goer who enjoys women and drinking. His persona as a right rotter and an egotistical maniac is played well (even if his accent makes him sound like Denis Leary in Demolition Man) and thinks very much about himself and his plans and has that want to be the top dog despite his position in the vampire world. He is however a very clever person also and obviously knows what he is doing and it’s only through those who work for him and the threat of Blade that they fail to work out. I do feel that N’Bushe Wright is somewhat out-of-place in this film. She plays the part of the unsuspecting public and as such the audience connection and introduction to the film, but I partly feel that she was chosen more to be in a glamour role or a possible love interest to Blade instead of the unbelieving witness and doctor role that her character is seemingly supposed to be. However despite that though, she is a very good character. The way she looks, acts and dresses is enough for Blade not to feel out-of-place with him covered in leather, and she wearing a trench coat like leather jacket. She is also very no-nonsense much like Blade and the way her character changes from unsuspecting witness to the films secondary hero makes her fit right into place especially with Blade showing a level of respect and trust in her at the very end of the film. Kris Kristofferson is the perfect associate/partner for Blade as in he is a lot like him and they both talk to each other in the same manner and form. He is also a lot like a father figure for Blade and shows a lot of care for him, treating him and giving him his serum as a result, but he is also very much a teacher and while he is as badass as Blade, his outer exterior and persona is that of a more calming position with everyone and is less likely to start a fight as a result and is more the talking kind.

Stephen Dorff, N'Bushe Wright and Kris Kristofferson

I am really drawn to the character of Mercury. I don’t think she gets the on-screen time that she deserves. She is in some respects the female version of Blade towards the end wielding his sword, but she is also a lot like Frost in character but gives a high level of blood lust in her role and as such is more of a warrior and animal in her nature, but her main exterior and persona works in tandem well with Frost which allows the two to have a real connection that is also realistic. While it is almost half-way into the film before she makes a proper appearance and becomes part of the main cast, her part is very enjoyable throughout and while Blade has Karen as his sort of assistant, Mercury is the opposite to this, but starts of bad and remains that way.

Arly Jover

The real star though is of course Wesley Snipes in the title role. Wesley Snipes in many respects is Blade; he is not playing it rather than actually being him. He shows no real emotion and is single-minded on the main task. Even when Whistler dies he just walks away and keeps his mind on the main task in hand. He does show some redeeming feature of this though when talking about his mother and the life he could have had, but he represents this through anger possibly showing that he has moved on from this, but it still plays on his mind. Blade’s athleticism and martial Arts skill and strength work very much in tandem with Snipes own personal Martial Arts training in Shotokan Karate and Hapkido. His use of his weapons is very much in the up close and personal style with him preferring to use his own body and weapons such as his sword which need him to be more close to the target. He still however still uses his firearms in a big way but also uses more traditional methods of armed combat with such tools as his Glaive and Sword more frequently instead of firearms. His connection to the vampire world is of course explored for the benefit of the audience but the film does not waffle on these points and instead explains these points in relatively short terms.

B5

The film’s soundtrack mostly comprises of hip hop, and electro music but has parts in it where the soundtrack is more mysterious to allow some tension for the scene exploring Blade as well as moments of fighting and explanation so that the right feel of tension and thrills can be given.

Blade though is at essence an Action Film, and with action comes violence, and Blade is a very Violent Film. The film though I wouldn’t consider as blood thirsty. There is a lot of blood in the film with scenes of body popping and explosions which in turn creates blood splatter, but generally it is not a film that thrives on it and uses Blood more for the showing of how violent the film is. I like to think of it more in relation to The Raid. It is very action packed and graphical in its violence (but not as much as how detailed The Raid was) but the violence is necessary for the action to work as the action comes from the characters, not the world around them. The film though is rather grotesque with moments of really disgusting things happening and disgusting creatures with the most disgusting scene happening at the end with the death of Frost. And on top of that you have more unnerving scenes such as the moment when Quinn arrives burned in the morgue.

B4

Blade is all together an extremely enjoyable action movie which while being a comic book/super hero movie, does more than that and instead of being goofy or silly in its design (like Batman Forever) does a really terrific job of setting itself in the real world allowing the audience to connect and understand it more without large pieces of explanation required. The film’s cast is a mixed bunch, but those who play their parts well are thoroughly enjoyable and while there is a lot of blood and unnerving/disgusting scenes, this does not stop the film from being enjoyable and in respects gives it the supernatural look the film is trying to represent. Altogether, thoroughly brilliant and it will make you thirst for more, much like it has for me.

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Deadliest Catch Vessels/Boats

20 08 2014

Deadliest Catch Logo

I love Deadliest Catch. I like the idea of being at the helm of a boat and driving/sailing it across both rough and calm seas day and night. Deadliest Catch for those who have not seen it is this ace series on Discovery Channel about a bunch of crab fishermen who put their lives on the line to fish both Red (Alaskan) King Crab and Opilio Crab (and sometimes Bairdi Crab). Why, because it is worth a lot of money and within the space of a few weeks could make more than the average pay than in a year. But there are rough seas out there and every year, lives are lost and boats sink. But despite all this they continue to do it. Deadliest Catch unlike other shows like it also has great people in it as well as an actual sense of jeopardy where say other shows, like Gold Rush have some moments of possible false jeopardy by putting in the odd sound here and there before a break. There is nothing fake (as far as I can see) in Deadliest Catch. But the things I like the most are the boats that the fishing takes place on. Each one has a unique look, name and almost a personality by itself. So here are my Top 5 Favourite Deadliest Catch boats/vessels.

Saga

5. Saga – Elliott Neese: While quite a young boat as it has so far made very few appearances in the show, The Saga is quite a good-looking boat. While potentially a lot smaller than most of the big trawlers, its design and shape gives it the look of more of a proper ship than just a floating platform as do most of the vessels in the show. The colours of the boat are in particular one of the best parts as while the ship has a dark tone in colour, it is also got bright bits of yellow and together makes it quite colourful.

Cornelia Marie

4. Cornelia MariePhil Harris: A great boat for a great captain. The Cornelia Marie does look like an outcast amongst the other vessels as most do go for a dark look or just completely jet black. In comparison The Cornelia Marie is very bright and colourful, but is also very big, as in long. Surprisingly though the boat has not appeared to have been updated during its career as most of its on-board appliances for dealing and sorting crabs come down to plastic tubs and almost rust prone facilities meaning that most forms of sorting come down to use of handwork rather than other facilities for getting rid of rejected crabs as well as offloading them from the pots themselves. Other vessels include mobile sorting tables and trenches of water acting like conveyor belts to remove unwanted crab. This however gives the Cornelia Marie its own as well as historic personality, and if it looks like an outcast to most boats from its exterior, maybe it should continue that on-board as well.

Time Bandit

3. Time Bandit – Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand: Possibly the largest by eyesight (but is probably the same size as the Kodiak and Wizard) but also one of the coolest boats in the show. The Time Bandit may look like any ordinary crab fishing vessel with its platform like deck and may at first-hand look a bit dreary all in black, the Time Bandit is a boat with personality and most of it comes from the Skull and Crossbones logo then spreads out. I don’t know exactly what it is but this boat gives off a great aura when it’s on-screen and I think because the look of the vessel is quite casual and un-extraordinary it gives off great personality too and I think that if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned logo, it probably won’t look as good, but seriously, when this boat is on-screen, it looks fabulous.

Kodiak

2. Kodiak – Bill “Wild Bill” Wichrowski: The Kodiak is an impressive boat by all counts. It’s nice royal blue exterior as well as it’s on deck look and just its general size all come together well. The Kodiak’s deck looks very different to all the others seen in the show as it appears to have more of a wall around it and the only open access to the sea is the area where the pots are launched and picked up. This could be added to be a lot safer and perhaps more modern in design but as most of these ships have this platform like look, it makes the Kodiak look like more of a tanker vessel than say a factory ship and is aesthetically more pleasing to the eye. In essence, the Kodiak is more like those giant Japanese fishing tankers than a fishing vessel and for that reason along with its other features (including the previously mentioned choice of colour and size) the Kodiak is one amazing vessel, it’s just a shame that it’s no longer in the show.

Northwestern

1. NorthwesternSig Hansen: To me, the Northwestern is the star of the show. The Northwestern actually looks like a proper vessel/boat/ship with the cabin at the front and the platform end for all the fishing at the back instead of the other way round. Because of this, the inside cabin shots show more of the actual ocean and sea as the boat ploughs along and it also gives the idea that it may be more secure and safer for its crew. I think it’s because of the way it’s designed that I like it so much, but add-on to that the snow-white exterior, the rustic and basic design and even the great sounding name (plus the crew actually seem to get along with each other and the fact that Sig Hansen is great as a ship’s captain) all together make a great boat.

Northwestern 2

GENEPOOL (Apologies if I didn’t go not into too much detail, but how else do I talk about how great the boats in the show look while not really being a fan of boats in general. I prefer big ships like the Queen Mary 2 and Oasis of the Seas, along with the boats in Deadliest Catch).





REUS

13 08 2014

REUS Logo

Have you played Godus yet? I haven’t. Why? Because it’s still in early access and I don’t quite fancy playing a buggy game until it is supposedly finished to a point that it isn’t so buggy. It’s also why I have not played Folk Tale, MAIA, Prison Architect and War for the Overworld. All these are games I am eagerly anticipating to play, just not yet. But why am I talking about said games if the title suggests a 2D game with Giant Monsters in it. Well it sort of looks like games like Godus and Populous.

REUS World

REUS is a game about a world, a world that currently nothing exists, except for a group of Elemental Giants who each have the power over a certain type of land and abilities. One makes mountains and can create deserts and mines to mine (obviously) minerals. One can create oceans and sea life while another can create grass lands and fruit. Then finally there is a swamp giant who can create swamps and technology and sciences. What is basically a God Game where the giants are such entities and can create life and resources for the humans down below and provided the humans stay loyal to them, and not get to greedy, the giants and humans will stay in happiness together and some humans may join the giants unlocking new abilities for them. Although, the player has no direct control of the humans (a lot like Evil Genius) and if the humans get too greedy, they may declare war on each other, or even on the giants themselves which are not invincible. But if a race of man gets too powerful you can just destroy them, provided that you still have a giant that can?

REUS End

REUS is nicely designed and has a nice cartoony look about it and is also very colourful which is always a bonus. So even if the humans decide to go to war with each other, or sometimes you, at least it’s not all gloomy and horrible. The games mechanics are in the ability to give the peaceful/war like humans the things they need in order to survive/kill. So each giant while having maybe some similar abilities, each one does something different, and on top of that different types of region and the people that live on them require different kinds of resources. Grasslands initially require food, desert initially requires wealth and swamp initially requires Technology/Science. What do they require these resources for? Projects. As soon as a town is settled they begin building something which usually starts off quite basic and if accomplished thanks to the help of your giants, they grow in prestige (I think, it’s been a while since I last played it) and then may decide to upgrade that building into something better. By that point though, they require more resources and of different types. It is through this that they can get greedy and if you give them too much, equally so. But in order to achieve even these potential accomplishments the game introduces a system of multipliers. These are basically points in the resource system where combining certain things together will cause more abundance in those resources, and seemingly the strongest way of doing this is through the buildings themselves as they cause larger multipliers than the actions of the giants.

Reus Water Giant

The game while fun, colourful and perhaps playing in a more arcade style game than the standard RTS is also quite difficult as you need to inspire and provide for the humans, but also need to control them in some respects. But the game is very addictive and on your part you want to see the projects completed and do things to see them completed, but the multipliers aren’t as easy to complete as you think they are and can get quite frustrating as you try to use them to provide, but there is a real sense of accomplishment though when the projects are completed. And it is through such things that make me think of Godus as in that the humans create their own villages and building, and the same goes for this. And even when the humans decide to go to war, it is interesting to watch them do so. The world is beautifully animated, from the giants, to the humans, to even the plants and animals that live in the world and it is great to see so much diversity in the game, particularly from the animals themselves to the projects and if you are able to accomplish bigger ones, they lead onto even bigger ones. And if you are a game who likes accomplishments, there is an in-game accomplishment/trophy like system where in the lifespan of a single game you are able to accomplish a group of tasks you chose at the beginning of the game, that sense of accomplishment returns.

Reus Mountain Giant

REUS is an extraordinarily fun game. Addictive with a lot of replay value in a beautifully crafted, animated, colourful and even sounding world with lots to do and achieve while also trying to survive and do all of that within a predetermined amount of time with lots to unlock too, it is seriously good fun. Give it a try, I highly recommend this game (it’s both available on Steam and GOG.com, I have the GOG.com version).

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Murkum Show Episodes (Season 1)

6 08 2014

Murkum Show Titles

Some of you may be aware (thanks to some of my past posts) of my good friend Matt and his great talent for animation. I have spoken about this in the past particularly when he did an episode of Arbitrary Stopframe which was written by me entitled Monster Movie. About a year ago he did a small spin-off series around one of his characters called Dr. Murkum for which I also wrote a couple of episodes for and as the second series has just gone I thought I would look back at the first series and pick my Top 5 Favourite Episodes of The Murkum Show (for those of you who may have questions as to who or what a Murkum is and other pieces of essential information that may help you to understand what anyone in the following sketches are saying, please refer to the blogs from Matt and Tim).

Murkum Show 2

5. Drinkies – What is quite a quick episode has a real sense of slapstick that works really well. Murkum needs oil, someone goes to get it. Some one is getting drinks and Murkum orders a coffee. Original person comes back but Murkum forgets about the oil and drinks it thinking it is tea. It is quite interesting to note though that Murkum is supposedly a robot scientist yet oil is poisonous to him but this adds a sense of suspicion about his character and makes you want to find out more, even if it is just to see if robots like coffee.

4. Cough Sweets – The second of two episodes I wrote. This one about people wanting something badly to get rid of a cough and will settle for anything hoping that it will cure them but not asking if said item will do more harm than good. This is the case here with supposed cough sweet delivery actually being the arrival of cyanide capsules, but it is all too late as Murkum is more interested in people getting better than safely reading the ingredients label, even if someone else has. This episode also works on the opposite side of most episodes of the show as most of them involve Murkum getting hurt in someway, while this one takes the approach of his actions causing harm to somebody else. In addition I really do like the use of sound effects in this one and Tim’s voice as Mephnar Senior.

3. Headlong Dash – Another great piece of voice acting from Tim here pointing amount the most obvious of things. This episode actually does show some of Murkum’s military might but Murkum has forgotten to open the door. His speech is also a bit lacklustre but this could be a way of showing how un-intelligent he actually is. When he finally get’s in his car and crashes, it’s the additional voice who points out Murkum’s mistake, which in turn is what is so good about this episode.

2. Shiny New Toy – Another one from me now. I like this one a lot (and not just because I wrote it) because instead of Murkum getting injured in some ridiculous way, here is just getting robbed/mugged. I also like the little jokes I made towards Apple and the iPad brand too by using the names Pomegranate and X-Brick as well as the reference to Angry Birds by saying Happy Pigeons. Murkum’s cluelessness as well to the format shows just how difficult such devices can be to people as well as people’s general ideas and names to such things/devices. Also one thing to point out is the idea as stated in Chris Martin‘s Book Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area: Driven Crazy by the Modern World? that people don’t really know what the point of an iPad is, with Murkum stating that it might “help”.

1. Boss Machine – This one I think is the absolute funniest of the bunch. Murkum has a machine that he thinks will help him brainwash people into doing what he says, however it is not quite ready yet and Murkum constantly asks the same person over and over again to do things for him bordering on the ridiculousness including trying to steal all of the man’s money to making him  sing while setting his trousers on fire. This eventually accumulates to the point that the thing that Murkum asks for finally is the one thing the man has been wanting to do to Murkum all along, that is to punch him in the face. From the moment that he demands money, this becomes such a funny episode and does not stop until the very end, and that is why it is my favourite (of series 1).

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: