Wesley Snipes’ Most Iconic Movie Is Leaving Netflix

By Nathan Kamal | 1 month ago

wesley snipes

Wesley Snipes has unfortunately become as known for his personal life as his movies, with his income tax issues and incarceration in 2010 being well-publicized. But it is a pity, as Snipes is one of our greatest action stars. On-screen, he is a dynamic physical presence, with his real-life martial art skills giving a sense of real authenticity to his cinematic butt-kicking. Those skills have never been put to better use than in his 1998 superhero horror film Blade, which instantly turned Wesley Snipes into an A-lister and a formerly obscure Marvel comics character into a household name. Unfortunately, Blade is leaving Netflix at the end of May, so you only have a few more days to see the Daywalker in action. 

Wesley Snipes Blade

Blade opens without a Wesley Snipes in sight, instead focusing on a woman dying during pregancy. We find out later that she was attacked by a vampire while in childbirth, and that child ends up being Blade. As a result, he is cursed with the supernatural abilities of vampires and their need to drink human blood but can withstand daylight, hence his nickname of The Daywalker. He also has pesky human morality that compels him to hunt and kill vampires en masse (perhaps only being outdone by Will Smith in I Am Legend), becoming a fearsome figure to the underworld of bloodsuckers that secretly control the world. Blade posits a world in which vampires lurk around every corner and only Wesley Snipes is there to hold them back from completely enslaving the human race. 

wesley snipes blade

Well, Wesley Snipes and the fact that vampire society appears to be organized by caste, with “pure blood” vampires who are born that way (like a perfectly cast Udo Kier) holding a higher station than those who are turned, like the main antagonist Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff). The main plot of Blade involves Frost overthrowing the old vampire order and trying to summon the “blood god” to conquer the entire world. Meanwhile Wesley Snipes and Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright), a blood researcher who is attacked by a vampire and drawn into this shadowy world, both fight him and look for a cure for vampirism. 

In the film adaptation, Wesley Snipes plays Blade as a stoic, near-silent vampire murder machine. At least initially, his portrayal of the character comes as nearly as wooden as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian, all vampire death and katanas. However, Snipes brings a surprising sensitivity to part; it becomes clear that however blank Blade may appear to be on the surface, he is constantly tormented by self-loathing for his thirst for blood and by his never-ending quest to find his mother’s killer. 


On the other hand, Stephen Dorff never comes off as a really convincing physical threat to Wesley Snipes. He does have a charmingly smarmy attitude that works well as someone who sees himself as literally higher on the food chain than the humans he is surrounded by, and it is a bit hard not to see his point about maybe vampire culture could use some meritocracy. 

But Blade became a hit (and launched Wesley Snipes to new heights of stardom) not just due to the action, which is well choreographed and about as gory as you’d expect a movie about blood-drinking monsters to be, but because of its pre-Matrix style. Although the Wachowskis’ science fiction breakthrough is lauded for its portrayal of a secret world of leather and vinyl clad superbeings who like raves and techno beats, it is undeniable that Blade did it first. There’s even a bullet time-style dodge midway through the movie. 

wesley snipes blade

Blade was a financial success, grossing over $130 million at the box office and rejuvenating the mordant comic book adaptation film genre. There had not been a significantly successful comic book movie in theaters since Tim Burton’s Batman Returns in 1992 and never a hit Marvel Comics movie. Wesley Snipes brought a realness and new attitude to what comic book movies could be. It also significantly raised the stock of Marvel Comics itself; the company had been near bankruptcy and Blade did a lot to inspire new interest (as well as inspire two sequels and TV show). So if your interest in Blade and Wesley Snipes is piqued, check out the movie. Just don’t wait too long.