Stephen Norrington made a great film in Blade (1998); action, mood, horror and special effects. There is more to Blade than just the sum of its parts, but a vision in the use of the camera, which shakes and spins when Blade is fighting (very exciting) and also enters into hyperfast montage.  There's a shower of blood, and there are vampiric hoardes, councils and politics, and at the heart of it, a plain tale of good versus evil, dressed up in leather, swordplay and the occasional wisecrack.

In Blade, a thinned down Udo Kier plays Gitano Dragonetti, the convener of the vampire Shadow Council that controls things. They are not very impressive, this council of pure blooded vampires, and they do very little to stop the vampire Frost, played by Stephen Dorff, from putting his world-ending plans into motion. In fact, the council and Udo Kier let the young vampire walk all over them, right up until Udo’s death. (Spolier Alert, there I go again.)

Even at this stage, Udo Kier does nothing in his own defence other than warn Frost that he has no chance of succeeding in his plans. I know that this is a cliché, but for the record, Frost succeeds in his plans with little effort. In The Last Minute, two years later, Udo proved that he could really move, so I was sorry that he didn’t get a fight in Blade; but he did his creepy bit, and then lined up for a rather undignified death.  Why couldn't he have used some vampiric powers to at least challenge the young upstart?  There is no easy answer from Stephen Norrington.  Udo just doesn't seem bothered.

Stephen Dorff and Udo Kier

Stephen Norrington’s next two films were The Last Minute (2001) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). The first of these is a wonder and a very clever work, and reprises a lot of the photography from Blade, particularly in its night club scene; but no one ever hears about or sees The Last Minute.

Udo Kier in Blade: Kill me if you can be bothered

Having a massive success is never a good idea — everybody will want you to do the same thing again — and that might have happened here. If I could have had a little more than Udo melting I would have been happy, and he really should have got a fight scene with Stephen Dorff.  As it is, Udo kier is employed for that essential German creepiness that Hollywood loves so much.  He turns up, speaks in an accent that probably isn't even his own (he adds a slight hiss) and of course, looks malevolently beautiful.