Blade: House of Chthon (TV, 2007)
A review of theBlade TV show pilot from Death Ray 07.
FILM: THREE STARS EXTRAS: THREE STARS
Director: Peter O’Fallon
Writer: David S. Goyer
Starring: Kirk Jones, Jill Wagner, Neil Jackson, Jessica Gower
Rapper Kirk ‘Sticky Fingaz’ Jones takes up the funky sword and natty overcoat of Marvel’s half-human vampire killer for the small screen.
TV shows spun off films work about as well as films based on TV shows, so it’s a pleasant surprise as to how good this pilot of the Blade TV series is. It doesn’t have a Hollywood budget, it’s Canada (again), Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson have gone – all the usual shortcomings you’d expect, but even so it manages to entertain. There’s enough action and special effects to keep you happy, that’s one big plus, but ultimately it’s the involvement of the film series creator, David Goyer, as writer/ producer, that means this is a cut above your usual big screen/ small screen migration. His script perhaps wisely keeps Blade mostly to the background. Focussing firmly on the story’s female lead, Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), the pilot gives us a tight little snapshot of the Blade universe, never pulling back far enough for us to see its frayed TV edges.
Starr is an Iraqi war veteran, newly discharged from the army, who returns home to find her brother has got mixed up in all kinds of vampire bother and is now dead. She herself then becomes involved in similar, and thus crosses paths with Blade. What starts out as a simple case of take down the bad guys gets much more complicated when head baddy Van Sciver (Jackson) takes a shine to her…
Starr kicks ass in a believable way. She’s a properly empowered – not superpowered – woman, far more believable than Buffy. Old “Sticky”, though no Snipes, manages to deliver a decent Blade. All in all, there’s plenty going on – often 90 minute pilots are full of filler – good dialogue, a nice twist, and a cameo from the always ace Randy Quaid as a vampire expert. The Moscow-based introduction is pants, obviously being shot in a Canadian basement, but aside from that, it’s surprisingly watchable.
The only things we’d take issue with here is that the villains are English (again), and that the packaging of this pilot coyly suggests House of Chthon might be a film, only to abandon us to a whopping cliffhanger, and that’s just cheeky, especially seeing as there are as yet no plans to release the rest of the series.
Extras: Another release where we didn’t get to see them, I’m afraid, but they allegedly include a documentary, “Turning Blade” (60 mins), two commentaries – one with director Peter O’Fallon and another with series writers David Goyer and Geoff Johns, and seven minutes of US TV promos.