Close as a "Blade" or your money back. (eh, why not?)9/10
Now here is a movie that does something that hasn't been done in a long time. It take ten or so different elements that we're already familiar with (Vampires, martial arts, a techno beat, top-o-the-line special effects, etc.), and turns it into something that feels brand new. In what could have easily been merely a combination of "Mortal Kombat" and "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer," Wesley Snipes (no favorite of mine since and mostly because of "Passenger 57") gives a really good turn as the half human/ half bloodsucker. He acknowledges the internal conflict, but doesn't dwell on it more than necessary. He makes Blade as deep a character as Michael Keaton made Batman.
I'll say that the only part of the movie that got me a little miffed was the always present horror movie cliche of that one person that the hero happens to know who happens to know exactly how to stop the evil guy. On the other hand, you sort of have to have that in a movie like this, so it's easily excusable.
Well, Snipes is good. And Steven Dorff, hyped in the previews, makes a more than bad enough bad guy to Snipes' hero. He's got class, presence, and enough control in his little pinky to teach Al Pacino how to tone it down a bit. Who would ever think that a comic book movie would be a launching pad for an actor? I sincerely hope this is. And whoa! where the heck did Kris Kristofferson get acting talent? Don't get me wrong, but the prolific actor hasn't done anything memorable since "Millennium," and how many of us watched that just 'cause of the cool video box? Well, here he is, folks, in a very Obi-wanish turn, as Blade's mentor and father figure. And good job, too.
The quality of the acting is matched by the quality of the choreography and special effects. Accompanied by a pulsing techno beat, the fight scenes brings back and quickly banish memories of Mortal Kombat. Hey! It had a script, too! I was wondering what had happened to all the good writers out there.
The two major indications to me that I saw a quality flick were these; I had no feeling of remorse about paying full price to get in, a la any Schumacher "Batman," "The Avengers," "MK: Annihilation," "Godzilla," or "Armageddon." (wow, how many of those came out this year? Ugh) Also, I look forward to the inevitable sequel, as per the film's ending. Let's just hope they do as good a job with it as with the first one.