Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Moments In... Villain-Henchman Interplay

Blade was a fine movie, really. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I think that it was very well-acted and -directed. While I may already sound like a brown-noser - until you read me trashing the sequels - I'm willing to admit that I also ate up the script.

I can go 50/50 with how I respond to Stephen Dorff, but I am all about Donal Logue. I like that he has a prominent part as Quinn, the friend and main henchman for Dorff's Deacon Frost. Logue does a good job as the ever-outmatched antagonist who mixes it up with Blade a lot.

Yet his semi-comic role works much better in light of the sincere amity he shares with his boss. Not only are both actors fine in all their scenes together, they really manage to come off as friends.

Lots of bad guys are simply dull and underwritten, especially as many pictures expend all their effort or creativity on the main antagonist. But the "buddy, not flunky" vibe goes a long way to make Blade into a distinct and fun movie. I get the feeling Deacon and Quinn were bffs and flatmates and they got turned at the same time.

Maybe they were in the same vamp frat (oh, s--t that's a great tv show idea)...

The clip below may be the shortest one I've ever featured on the site, but it's quite entertaining.


  1. Wow, your comments on Blade highlight the confluence of a couple of controversial artists for me. David Goyer has had his hand in the screenplays some of my favorite movies of the last 20 years (Dark City, the Nolan Batman films) as well as some utterly abysmal stuff (The Crow: City of Angels, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance--dude needs to stay away from things with subtitles). I actually have no idea if this guy is any good at his job.

    On the other hand, I'm less ambiguous about Stephen Dorff's talents, but on the rare occasion that someone creates a role that's squarely in his wheelhouse, as with Deacon Frost in this movie, he can just crush it. Given Donal Logue's comic chops, I wonder if the bit in this clip wasn't an ad-lib (or at least a bit that started off as an ad-lib)--a quick search of the version of the script I found online didn't turn up that exchange between Quinn and Frost.

    1. Foyer is as hit and miss as Alex Proyas himself, actually. And Dorff has had an odd series of roles, so I can't say I've seen his range yet, yknow?

      To be honest, this Blade film is excellent in its treatment of its villains. They're clever and powerful without being too much so (tho the mama vamp twist was an unwise idea), and they have real personalities.

      You get that Deacon and Quinn are buddies. You get that this totally evil d--k really cares for his friend and his weird European girlfriend, but he won't fall apart without them. And the two henchpersons are given enough time to display competence and personality so that you can see why Deacon would have them as pals who follow his lead in a massive criminal plan that will put them all on top.

    2. As hit and miss as Proyas's films might be, even the bad ones contain reminders that Proyas is a really talented guy who can create amazing visuals. Knowing is just full of awesome images that wish they had a better script attached to them. I, Robot contains some good visual storytelling wrapped around all the Will Smith Branding Moments (tm). It's harder to spot

      Great point about vampire buddies. It's something that bugs me about a lot of vampire movies: you have these immortal creatures who've been part of a clan or coven, and have been together for decades, sometimes centuries. Those characters should know each other really well. They should have history with each other, and the kind of chemistry that springs longterm familiarity.

      Films rarely seize the opportunity to make us feel that familiarity. Aside from Blade, Near Dark does a really good job of it, but I can't think of too many other films where that dynamic is really felt (it's been too long since I last saw the Lost Boys).

    3. Ugh. My kingdom for the ability to edit comments. (At least it's not DISCUS, which simply eats my comments about 50% of the time now.)

      To complete the thought at the end of the first paragraph: It's harder to spot Goyer's talent in his failed projects. There's no great turn of phrase or storytelling moment in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance that makes me say: "Oh, that's what Goyer was going for!"


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