Bomb Rating: 

The key to any superhero film isn't the hero so much as it is thevillain and, I must say, it's just a weensy bit difficult to get worked up over Stephen Dorff. Frankly, when you're a good six inches shorter than Udo Kier and Udo looks like he could open a can of whup-ass on you without giving it a second thought, your career as a villain is likely to be a short one. You might as well have Jonathan Taylor Thomas fight Wesley Snipes to the death.

To make up for Dorff being short and about as frightening as blue corn chips, screenwriter David ("Dark City") Goyer employs the one thing sure to be understood as threatening by the throngs of teenage boys likely to see this film: the repetitive use of the word "fuck." This seems to be the crux of what ostensibly makes Dorff's character, Deacon Frost, threatening. Never mind that he wants to rule the world and suck people's blood -- those things are little more than grist in the mill of bad storytelling -- no, Deacon can use his evil powers to manipulate the word "fuck" into adjective, adverb and noun, sending chills through linguists everywhere.

The whole "ruling the world" thing is but one of the film's dull conventions, which begin with Blade saving a young doctor, Karen (N'Bushe Wright) so that she can follow him around for the rest of the film while he explains the plot to her. That includes his whole medical history, the vampire plan to rule the earth, and his friendship with Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), who looks like most men who've gotten within sniffing distance of Barbra Streisand -- death warmed over.

This film couldn't have been louder had engineers run the sound directly into bullhorns attached to my ears, and it wasn't on account of the music. I can only guess that the sound editor was some homeless guy lured off of Hollywood's skid row in exchange for some free croissant sandwiches. Bullet sounds are muffled, but whenever some woman with a voice like a dying cat decides to scream at the top of her lungs, it has the decibel level of a crashing 747. Presumably, the filmmakers wanted to be sure that if the story didn't cause a migraine, the sound effects would be sure to pick up the slack.

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