The Blade film is an interesting tale about a young, troubled daywalking vampire who is the product of a woman who was bitten by a vampire while pregnant with him. The film is a gripping action roller coaster that centers around the conflict between “pure-blood” vampires who were born vampire and created vampires, who are seen as inferior. In the center of the conflict lies humanity, which the inferior class vampires want to readily feed upon and subjugate. Blade fights for humanity, and along the way meets a hematologist named Karen who looks to aid Blade and eventually helps him create a cure for vampirism. In the culminating conflict, Blade emerges victorious after first being turned full vampire.
While the cult film Blade is quite dynamic in its action and storytelling, it is definitely a piece of its period, with the only prominent female character being used as a prop to underpin the narrative of male characters. The 90’s were hardly a progressive time period for female roles in major media, with sexual promiscuity being the only weapon most “strong” females character boasted in film and television. Karen, the apparently, genius-level hematologist is subject to these limitations, with even the life-saving act of her feeding Blade her blood being slightly sexualized. If Karen was any rational, self-preserving human being she would have headed straight for the sunniest place she could afford and never look back (Blade even explicitly told her so), but instead she becomes heavily engrossed in Blade’s fight, but why? Other than devising a cure for vampirism, which is no small feat, and saving Blade, Karen has no plot significance and the only reason she’s there to do either of those things is because the plot demands it. Her presence in the plot doesn’t feel natural and her shoehorned presence makes the narrative feel weaker overall. Karen is dangled as a damsel in distress to motivate Blade, which is simply played out and degrading. In a film dominated by strong, moral driven male characters it is disheartening to see the sole female character central to the plot boiled down to features only useful for the advancement of the male characters.