Film Review - Blade: House of Chthon
Starring - Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones, Jill Wagner, Nelson Lee, Neil Jackson | Directed by Peter O'Fallon | New Line Home Video DVD WS Not Rated 88 min 2007
Review By Eric Shonborn
Blade helps a young woman - an Iraq War veteran - get revenge on the vampire clan that killed her brother. As she progresses deeper into the world of vampires, things take a disastrous turn, and Blade has to make a decision that will forever change her life.
This made-for-tv movie, the pilot for Blade: The Series which lasted one season on the SPIKE Network is an exercise in how to bring a franchise crashing to it's knees. The show apparently got decent enough ratings but was not picked up for a second season due to cost issues. However expensive this show must have been, House of Chthon does not show a single cent of its budget onscreen. When one generally thinks of the quality of made-for-tv SyFy original movies that regularly are broadcast, House of Chthon is about one step above that. The acting is about par.
Allegedly, before his problems with the studio and producers, Blade the Series was going to be a Showtime series starring Wesley Snipes. After the debacle of Blade Trinity, Snipes is replaced by rapper turned actor Kirk Jones. To call him an ineffective substitute is to put it politely. Jones has none of the charisma or presence of Snipes. The character of Blade is not particularly a deep one, and never really required Snipes to do more than scowl, be intimidating and then occasionally crack a joke or smile to release tension, and Jones can't even pull off a mean face.
It seems the producers were aware of this limitation, and focus the story more on the character of Krista Starr, played by Jill Wagner. Krista stumbles into the vampire conspiracy and forces her way into Blade's war. She goes undercover to infiltrate the vampire clan run by Marcus Van Sciver, the series' villain, played by Neil Jackson. Neither are particularly compelling actors other than being pretty, but fare better than Jones as Blade.
The special effects are adequate, never involving more than a vampire turning into ash, but the action and gore are pretty tame, despite being a late-night cable show. My opinion is that Jones simply couldn't tackle the type of stunt work and action scenes that Snipes could handle, and the producers didn't have the budget for the CG Blade that appeared throughout the movie for the more fantastical scenes.
The biggest crime that House of Chthon commits is how boring it is. The script was once again written by David Goyer, who wrote all the feature films, and directed Trinity. He is also joined by comic book writer Geoff Johns, as the pair had worked together on the DC Comic series, Justice Society of America - a comic that I greatly enjoyed. Whatever chemistry they shared when writing comics certainly didn't translate to television, as HoC is a lifeless thud of a pilot. If the acting was better, perhaps this could have been livelier, but the plot really doesn't have anything going for it.
The DVD extras include a commentary and a documentary.
If you're a Blade fan, you can skip this. While it does a good job of both completely ignoring and picking up exactly where Trinity left off, there's nothing being added to the Blade mythos here. The only reason to watch Blade: House of Chthon is to see an uncredited Randy Quaid set up some exposition and give an in-joke for die hard comic book fans in one of his last roles before losing his mind.