Blade: House of Chthon DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by New Line Home Entertainment
Directed by Peter O'Fallon
Written by David Goyer & Geoff Johns
2007, Region 1, 88 minutes, Unrated
Kirk Jones as Blade
Jill Wagner as Krista Starr
Jessica Goweras Chase
Neil Jackson as Marcus Van Sciver
Nelson Lee as Shen
The Blade movies arguably re-ignited the vampire genre and made a high-kick to the face as essential as a bottle of holy water and a wooden stake in a vampire hunter’s arsenal. Carried by Wesley Snipes as the title character, the franchise grossed millions and collected an army of fans, myself included.
But because New Line’s release of Spike TV's Blade: House of Chthon is essentially a feature length pilot fleshed out with the parts that were, as the packaging screams at me, “...too gruesome for TV!”, I approached it with certain amount of trepidation.
Gone is Wesley Snipes in the role of the half-human/half-vampire daywalker and in his place we have the diminutive Kirk Jones (or the artist formerly known as Sticky Fingaz of rap group Onyx). What is immediately obvious from the opening scene is far from being the real thing, Jones lacks the screen impact of Snipes and gives us a sort of ‘Blade-Lite’. While Snipes has an impressive screen presence, Jones looks a good foot shorter than most of the vampires he fights, and just didn’t cut it.
The movie opens, for some reason, in Moscow, where Blade-Lite (on his shiny motorbike, naturally) chases down a vampire and gives him an arse-kicking. Contrary to the rest of the movie, when this vamp gets staked, he bleeds showers of blood instead of disintegrating into fiery ash like the rest. Maybe the cold weather makes them more hardy beasts?
The rest of the movie is pretty uneventful. Blade-Lite is up against The House of Chthon, a sect of vampires that is growing more powerful and developing a serum to remove their weaknesses, making them equals to Blade. There’s a side-story about ex-soldier Krista Starr (Jill Wagner) who is investigating her brother’s murder. Turns out he was murdered by the sect, and as her path crosses with Blade-Lite, she decides to help him out, and find some answers to her brother’s death, by going under cover in the sect.
Intersperse the fairly solid story with several vampire chop-socky sequences and there you pretty much have Blade:House of Chthon. Which brings me to another point; over the course of the three movies, Blade smacked up vampires no problem, sometimes not even bothering to look in their direction as he staked them. Only the boss vampires ever laid a finger on him. In contrast, everybody lays their hands on Blade-Lite, he gets bitchslapped like a crack whore who held out on her pimp. Sure he always wins, but he’s nowhere near as badass as the real Blade.
As a standalone release, House of Chthon just doesn’t work. It looks and feels like a TV episode and not the movie it’s presented as. The ending doesn’t wrap it up particularly well and you’re left feeling that something is missing. If you want to watch the TV series, watch the whole series. If you want Real Blade, go back to the movie trilogy. This Blade got dull.
Video and Audio:
The 1.78:1 video presentation is clear and without problems.
A choice of 5.1 surround, or 2.0 Stereo is available. The 5.1 track is adequate for the movie, although it's never really going to be something to test your system.
Features on the disc are the Turning Blade featurette, which is a collection of short features about the making of almost every part of the TV pilot. Combined, they run over an hour and give the movie a run for its money in terms of entertainment value. In addition there are two separate Audio Commentaries by the Director and writing team respectively.