February 14

Blade | the Love Letter to Black Comic Nerds

Marvel must’ve saw Steel and laughed their asses off. Marvel was in a tough state around this time. Marvel was in financial problems, and it was selling their properties to different (a move they would soon be a blessing and curse for them). Wesley Snipes was hellbent on making a Black Panther film but due to preproduction, he decided to take on Blade instead, and thank you lord for this choice.

Blade IS the film that proved Marvel can create a blockbuster and it set up the future for Comic Book films. Blade started it all and helped right the ship in Comic Book Movies after the Batman films went downhill.  This movie can be summed up by one scene, the intro. The introduction to this is the best 10 minutes to a comic book film to date.  Seriously, the introduction to Blade is one of the best introductions to a Comic book character ever.  Blade in a brief description about Blade killing vampires, Blade is a half breed human and vampire sharing their strengths and weaknesses but also have enhanced abilities like being able to withstand sunlight. Blade being able to walk during the daytime, granted him the nickname Daywalker by his foes. Wesley Snipes was perfect for this role not do you see how much fun he is having in this film but how much he enjoy this character. In addition, the actions scenes were a blast with him whether by sword, shotgun, or hand to hand, Snipes was just kicking ass throughout the film.  For every good hero there has to be a strong villain, but I feel this was a misfire not on the actor’s behalf. Stephen Dorff plays Deacon Frost, a Vampire who strives for power. He was not born a Vampire, which did not give him a seat at the table, but he felt deserved one. Frost’s main objective in this film was to become La Magra, the vampire blood god and rid the world of humans.

Dorff does a good job doing a Modern take on Frost; the comic book portrayal was an elder German scientist. However, the writing team mostly David s Goyer (a guy you will hear brought up a few times in the Blade reviews) failed to really claw on his character and do some really goofy things. Perfect example is wearing a Motorcycle Helmet and gear to avoid the sunlight but in a later scene, he’s able to walk freely in the daylight (did he have on mad sunscreen??). Stuff like that goes against writing not the actors.  Speaking of the rest of the cast all the major players did great.  Kris Kristofferson plays Abraham Whistler, Blade’s mentor and the person who raised him to fight for good.  Whistler is in all 3 films (which really hurts the impact of one scene in this film), and plays a major part in the Franchise.  I enjoy Whistler as the wise cracking asshole who is not afraid to fight anyone and Kris does a great job here playing him as he do for the rest of the franchise.  N’Bushe Wright, who was drop dead gorgeous in this film, plays Karen Jensen, a Doctor hell-bent on finding the cure to end Vampires after a Vampire bit her. The most surprising and most awesome part about her character is the fact she was not the love interest in this film but someone with the same objective as Blade to stopping Vampires (TAKE NOTES ON THIS).  Ms. Wright does well here and it is a shame this was the last big role for her. Sanaa Lathan plays a very important role in this, but I will not further into that. I will say her role was underutilized and it could had played a bigger role here.

As much as I love this film, there are some problems.  The writing sometimes lacks logic in this realm and loses sight of the narrative.  How many times do we have to see Blade allow a Vampire to escape and cause more harm, one Vampire in particular at that.  The CGI is god awful to downright disturbing but those flaws get a pass because of how well the actors did their roles with what they had.  Blade is a blast to watch and a fun time. This felt like a film that could have failed but had people behind it that refuse to see that happen. This film saved Marvel big time and was the 1st to spawn a trilogy. X-Men and Spiderman will get the accolades but Blade opened the door.  The best way to describe to this film, “some motherfuckers always try ice skate uphill” (seriously how can anyone hate that line?)

 

 

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February 7

Meteor Man | The Forgotten Classic

Robert Townsend was well on his way to stardom after betting on himself big time with his satire Hollywood Shuffle, attacking racial stereotypes in Hollywood.  The film controversial issues brought Townsend to the forefront as his music odyssey the Five Heartbeats became a classic in its own rights and still a great film to watch today.  Townsend tackled the music industry and Hollywood, it was only in due time he would try the Superhero genre. In comes 1993 Meteor Man.  Townsend bet big on this film this was one of his biggest budget films at 30 million to make, he went to Marvel comics to help spawn a 6-issue series for his film; more importantly, he wrote, produced, and directed this film.  With a very star-studded cast (Hello Darth Vader/Mufasa and War Machine), Meteor Man had a lot riding on it.  Unfortunately, the critics hated it due to its constant tone switches (oddly enough some films with similar flaws cough ** Guardians of the Galaxy 2 ** cough receive praise by today’s critics).  As a result, Meteor Man flopped in the box office.

Being born in 1993, I never had the privilege of watching this in the theater; I was able to watch years later as a kid and loved it.  Revisiting this film, I still enjoy this film, and I love it more now.  To give a brief summary, Robert Townsend plays Jefferson Reed, a schoolteacher in Washington DC, which is flooded with gang violence most notably by the Golden Lords whose leader played by Roy Fegan as Simon Caine recruits children to become members.  The Golden Lords all dye their heads blonde, are militant and shoot to kill. Did I mention they have a damn pet tiger; yes, the Golden Lords are the shit.  Reed tries to rescues a woman from being assaulted by the Lords. During his flee to escape them; a meteor goes right into him in one of the most disgusting scenes I have seen in a film. Stan Winston could not make something that gross happen.  Despite the serve injuries, Townsend’s character wakes up completely fine the next day. When discovering his powers such as flight, x-ray/laser vision, superhuman strength, speed, and hearing, invulnerability, healing powers, the ability to absorb a book’s content by touch, super breath, telepathy with dog, he begins to help to take back the city from the Golden Lords as Meteor Man.

The very first thing I have to say about this (other James Earl Jones rocking a high-top fade asking women if they’re down with OPP yes, this fucking happened) is the heart in the film. Townsend and his supporting cast really love the city they are in and refuse to keep seeing get destroyed, but they have no hope in restoring their community which getting run down by the Golden Lords. Robert himself does a great job as Reed as someone who is ready to change DC for the better but also make human mistakes and some that cost him in the future of this film.  This film also incorporated musicians in a very fascinating way. Luther Vandross and Big Daddy Kane as villains check, Cypress Hill (who are Bloods) playing Crips interesting, Naughty by Nature as bloods. Interesting choices and something I also have issue with the film. There’s too many characters in this film to keep up. James Earl Jones and Sinbad’s characters were completely pointless in this film, and I haven’t got to Bill Cosby’s character yet. The film tried too hard to putting too many plot points that went nowhere and it hurt the film from a critical standpoint. However, that does not mean that this is a bad film, it is not by any means.  The film is actually solid with crop of actors who had a blast playing their roles.  Even with the issues from a critical standpoint, this a great casual viewing.   It’s honestly a shame this film did so horrible in the box office. This film deserved better and it’s a film worth watching.

November 30

Mastermind Team’s Robcast 210 | Jewish Hoe-down

An episode where eyeballs are shaved and someone goes blind during sex.

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February 11

Mastermind Team’s Robcast 186 | Sorry For The Wait

In this episode, our heroes discuss the Ben Grimm’s tyranny, burnt nipples, New Orleans and weird Japanese things.

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March 19

Geek Stuff | Comics In Review

In honor of season 2’s release, I went out looking for old school Daredevil comics. My local shop had a random assortment but nothing that really stood out at first glance. That’s when I found issue 208. What makes this issue interesting is that it’s written by legendary authors Harlan Ellison and Arthur Byron Cover.

The story sees Daredevil lured into a house of spikes, snakes and other traps designed to block Matt’s heightened senses. After making his way through the elaborate maze, Horn Head reaches a recorded message from low-rent villain Death-Stalker’s mother, blaming him for her son’s death. Daredevil narrowly escapes before the entire estate blows up in a fiery heap. After a quick change at Black Widow’s apartment, it’s off to court where Matt’s last words “… And I’m safe” echo as the explosive distraction that lured DD into danger at the beginning of the story looms in the background of the final panel.

A fun read and a neat collectible if I do say so myself. I’m familiar with Ellison and Cover’s work in science fiction but never knew they had ever written anything for the Big Two. I’d definitely suggest grabbing it if you see it lurking in the back issues bin.

 

… Now back to the binge!

 

– Dann

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