REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN (1994) – SEASON 1-5

 

 

CAST

Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Rodney Saulsberry (The Animatrix)
Jennifer Hale (Wreck-It Ralph)
Gary Imhoff (The Green Mile)
Sara Ballantine (Batman Year One)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Liz Georges (As Told By Ginger)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Joseph Campanella (Ben)
Patrick Labyorteaux (Yes Man)
Maxwell Caulfield (Alien Intruder)
Neil Ross (Rambo)
Roscoe Lee Brown (Babe)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batman: TAS)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Cedric Smith (Earth: Final Conflict)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (Forever Knight)
Alison Sealy-Smith (You Kill Me)
Alyson Court (Beetlejuice TV)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek Generations)
J.D. Hall (Undercover Brother)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday the 13th – Part 8)
George Takei (Star Trek)
John Vernon (Batman: TAS)
Courtney Peldon (Frozen)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Barbara Goodson (Power Rangers)
James Avery (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80s)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jeff Corey (Conan The Destroyer)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
David Hayter (X-Men)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

The set itself is well presented, although the artwork is a little cheap, and clearly done in a way as to mimic the style of the 90s series. Anyone who has the recent X-Men Season releases will be familiar with this. Unlike those, this one also has a slipcase. A booklet with episode synopses is also included.

Spider-Man has season-long arcs, which when viewed in succession make for great television. Christopher Barnes is brilliant as Spider-Man (especially in those fleeting moments of extreme rage), and the guests were memorable too, particularly Rob Paulsen’s oafish Hydro Man and Jennifer Hale as Felicia Hardy/ Black Cat.

The music was great too, but while Spider-Man relied on several repeated  cues,  Another thing about Spider-Man is that even after all these years I find myself being surprised by some of the plot twists, which were even more abundant upon first viewing. Thankfully, John Semper (creative head of the show) was bold enough to change much of the original stories to make them worth animating in the first place. What else? A minor triumph, but the colouring on this cartoon is the best of any I’ve ever seen. A simple praise. While the show lost its way during the muddled fourth year it had some great episodes in the last series, with one of the greatest resolution-with-cliffhanger endings in animation history. A rare treat in that its much, much better than you remember it.

Some of the best episodes were – the three-parter, “The Alien Costume”- a marvellous introduction for the ultimately underused Venom (a deliciously insane Hank Azaria)- and the two-part “Hobgoblin” are among the best in the show’s five-year run. “Night of the Lizard”, a pilot of sorts, is interesting in that there’s an awful lot more effort put into the animation than in later episodes, as is often the case.

Animation from the 1990s doesn’t come much better than this, and Marvel have yet to top it.

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REVIEW: BLADE: THE SERIES

MAIN CAST

Sticky Fingaz (Next Friday)
Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf)
Nelson Lee (Vacancy 2)
Jessica Gower (Winners & Losers)
Neil Jackson (Sleepy Hollow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Bill Mondy (I Spy)
David Palffy (Stargate SG.1)
David Kopp (Freddy Vs Jason)
P. Lynn Johnson (50/50)
Don Thompson (Red Riding Hood)
Randy Quaid (Kingpin)
Adrian Hough (X-Men 3)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
William MacDonald (Slither)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Sonja Bennett (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Sahar Biniaz (Watchmen)
Emily Hirst (Smallville)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Larry Poindexter (Sabrina: TTW)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Richard Roundtree (Alias)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Tom Butler (Painkiller Jane)
Lauren Lee Smith (Mutant X)

Following the conclusion of Blade: Trinity, Blade (Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones) travels to his hometown of Detroit where the vampire nation is planning something big. Led by the wealthy and well-respected Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson), The House of Chthon (one of the ten vampire houses) has begun development of a vaccine (Project: Aurora) that will cure them of all of their afflictions: silver, garlic and sunlight. It’s up to Blade to stop that from happening before it’s too late. Enlisting the help of computer whiz and weapon’s guru, Shen (Nelson Lee), Blade is ready for an all out assault to rid the world of more blood-sucking fiends.Doing her part in all of this is Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), a U.S. military combat medic who has just returned home from the war. Her welcome home celebration soon turns to sadness when she is greeted by the police, who inform her that her brother has died… or maybe he was killed. Convinced of the latter Krista takes it upon herself to investigate his mysterious death, which exposes her to the vampire world and leads to a meeting with Blade, himself. Banding together the two infiltrate Sciver’s inner circle, which results in Krista being taken and then turned into one of the undead. While Krista battles with the thirst and her unwanted transformation, she helps to feed Blade information from the inside. This information will allow the Daywalker to take down the vampire collective once and for all.The first half of this one and only season focuses a lot more on Krista’s character and less on Blade. That’s not a bad thing, actually. After going three films where Blade has been the dominant figure this show enjoys veering off and exploring other characters; giving us the chance to pick the side we like the best. Also, Krista’s character is very tragic. Losing her brother and then losing herself, so-to-speak, really laid the foundation for a woman who is torn between her human side and current vampire persona. Being a part of the sensual and romantic lifestyle that the vampires lead, it’s not easy for Krista to resist temptation. As she falls deeper into darkness, we see her crisscrossing between both of her personalities and watch her struggle to maintain some kind of balance. However, she unwittingly brings more of her family into this mess and that’s when things really begin to spiral out of control for her.The second half of the season gets down to business and shows us more of Blade, including the back-story of his childhood and life as a young Daywalker. In the episode entitled “Sacrifice” (probably the best episode of the season), we are shown Blade as a boy and experience the very first meeting between him and Whistler. You’ll get to see how Blade was treated as a child and even how Whistler got that nasty limp of his. In the episode “Bloodlines”, we are introduced to his former gang, the Bad Bloods, who are suffering from vampirism and are looking to exact revenge on Blade – or “Little Man” as they call him – for he was the one who turned them all into the creatures they have become. The gang hopes to wipe out Blade as a way to finally gain respect from the vampire houses and make their way into the collective, but Blade definitely doesn’t make it easy for them and does a bit of damage in his high-flying, kung fu way. There is also a secondary storyline where Blade meets FBI agent Ray Collins (Larry Poindexter). Prior to this meeting we watch this agent go on a bit of a trek of his own, tracking down cop-turned-vampire Boone (Bill Mondy). Now Boone makes an appearance in the pilot episode (as a “familiar”) and becomes almost the main focus in a few of the subsequent episodes until he’s gone for good. When that happens, the agent and Blade team up to try and take down one of the Purebloods, the very youthful Charlotte (Emily Hirst). This is a show that really knew how to cater to its predominantly male Spike TV audience. Blade hasn’t been toned down one bit and we are treated to tons of bloody kills and gruesome gore effects, along with quite a large helping of sexual content and nudity.Blade: The Series is still very much a Blade experience. Full of violence and gore, sex and f-bombs, this is a no-holds-barred action treat that, sadly, only lasted 13 episodes.

REVIEW: BLADE 1,2 & 3

 

CAST

Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man)
Stephen Dorff (Brake)
Kris Kristofferson (The Jacket)
N’Bushe Wright (Dead Presidents)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Udo Kier (Ace Ventura)
Traci Lords (Zack & Miri Make a Porno)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Sanaa Lathan (The Cleveland Show)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Judson Scott (Star Trek II)
Jenya Lano (Mutant X)

Stephen Norrington’s 1998 release “Blade” (based on the Marvel comic character) is the film that arguably lead to the recent trend of comic-book movies. It’s success (along with that of “X-Men”) caused people to do something they always should have- take comics seriously as an art form and a medium for storytelling. The film is an incredible, Gothic ride with great performances and unique visuals, and should be seen by any fan of action, horror or film in general. Blade (Wesley Snipes) is a half-human, half-vampire. His mother was bitten while pregnant, and his blood was infected by the vampire virus, granting him some vampire-like powers (such as inhuman strength), although he also suffers from “The Thirst”- the vampire’s natural need to feast on human blood, which he combats using treatments and serums, almost like a drug addict. Blade and his mentor Whistler (Krist Kristofferson) spend their nights hunting and killing vampires who feed on the humans.

At the same time, a vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorf) is plotting to overthrow the noble heads of the various vampire clans, and using them as sacrifices to bring about “La Magra” a vampyric blood-god, to destroy humanity and grant himself untold power. Blade and Whistler (along with help from a pathologist played by N’Bushe Wright) must figure out a way to stop Frost’s deadly plans before he wipes out all of humanity. The film is truly dark and Gothic. Norrington’s direction sets an ominous and deadly mood, and the visuals are all well-crafted. The score by Mark Isham is tragic and melancholy, with some nice techno-y action music thrown in for good measure.Acting is generally good (though Dorf does get a little hammy at times) and everything meshes quite well. The action is great, It is the bloodiest of the three movies, and has a lot of gore, which actually almost took me “out” of the movie a few times- some scenes felt campy with the sheer amount of carnage and goo being flung at the screen.

 

CAST

Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man)
Kris Kristofferson (The Jacket)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Leonor Varela (Monsterwolf)
Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Luke Goss (Hellboy II)
Matt Schulze (The Fast and The Furious)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Donnie Yen (Highlander: Endgame)
Karel Roden (Orphan)
Marit Velle Kile (The Girl In The Cafe)

The sequel, also scripted by David S. Goyer, has half-vampire Blade returning to his fight against his vampire foes. Soon after the film opens, he’s reunited with his former mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), who was captured by the vampires. During an early attack, Blade finds out that the vampires actually want a truce in order to have him lead a band of warriors to wipe out a new breed of vampires called “Reapers”, who want to attack both vampires and humans.

Director Norrington approached the original film with a crisp, cold feel that actually aided the drama – the story was more involving because the characters were played with such perfect seriousness. Del Toro goes a different way, but one that’s still equally involving – the sequel doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, but still remains serious enough so that the story has punch and remains engaging. The sequel is a little less dark visually as well as a lot more graphic in terms of the violence, too.

The acting is again quite good in the sequel. Going with the overall tone, Snipes remains serious, but there’s also a few more moments of underplayed humor here. Fine in supporting roles are Ron Perlman (“Alien: Resurrection”), Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) and Lenor Varela(“Stargate:Atlantis”). The film delivers almost continuous action, moves along at a crisp pace, delivers a few surprises and provides the visuals and performances that fans were expecting. Again, I must praise director Del Toro, cast and crew for delivering a sequel that at least partially surpasses an original film.

 

CAST

Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man)
Kris Kristofferson (The Jacket)
Dominic Purcell (Legends of Tomorrow)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Mark Berry (Quiet as Kept)
John Michael Higgins (Still waiting…)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Triple H (Inside Out)
Paul Anthony (American Mary)
Francoise Yip (Smallville)
James Remar (The Shannara Chronicles)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half Men)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)

I must say that going into seeing Blade: Trinity I was not expecting a masterpiece, I merely wanted to be entertained by this movie. With that said, it did a pretty decent job. People can criticize this film with having a thin plot, being corny at point.


Aa group of vampires bring back Dracula to help combat Blade, while they also get Blade to the top of the FBI’s most wanted, now Blade needs help of his own, this comes from a group of new young vampire stalkers. The newest additions, Ryan Renyolds and Jessica Biel, do their jobs pretty well. I must say that Renyolds had me laughing almost any time he was on screen. Biel was very nice to look at, she is just incredibly beautiful, and she does well considering the lines she is given. Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H makes a decent debut, He had some funny parts, but really I can’t see how his job was that hard considering his role was to beat people up, and that’s what he gets paid to do for the WWE so it’s not a real stretch. Well overall the supporting cast did a good job and kept me entertained.

Much of the work was very well done in this film, Snipes is his usual acrobatic self and disposes of vampires in interesting ways while showing off his martial arts skills.  Biel did some nice fight scenes to.  It was a fun movie to watch just for the action, and comedy of Renyolds.

Theres an unrated edition with a new ending

The body retrieved by the FBI is Blade’s, but he’s not really dead. Drake’s body is nowhere to be seen, hinting at his survival. At the morgue, Blade sits up abruptly, attacks the FBI agents, and appears ready to bite a nurse on the neck. The ending is ambiguous as to whether Blade has retained his humanity or given in to his vampire thirst as Drake predicted. This is the ending seen on the director’s cut of the film, and commentary on the DVD indicates it was the ending director Goyer intended.