I met this amazing trio, Markiss McFadden, James Lee Hawkins and of course Byron Smith at the McFadden Family Film booth at Salt Lake Comiccon 2017, above is my interview with Byron and below is my mini-review of Daywalker: Blade Origins
Daywalker: Blade Origins is a “fan film”? What is a Fan Film?
First, what isn’t it? Well, it’s not an official Marvel film, its a film set in the universe Marvel created and that a lot of fans love.
A “fan film” is something like a mix between “fan fiction” which is a non-licensed unofficial story set in a fandom and a Hollywood-quality production. It’s the natural direction that platforms like YouTube are taking us where passionate people can make amazing things and put it out there for mass audiences to enjoy.
What timeline does the story tell?
Daywalker: Blade Origins tells the story of a young Eric Brooks. Mostly after he’s been trained to kill vampires, but before he’s established himself as a “superhero”. He might be slightly better trained than the average vampire but certainly not much more powerful “physically” and he’s mostly missing any gadgets or technologies that you might have seen in the Blade movies.
You also see quite a few scenes of him as a child after he has been taken in by his mentor, Jamal Afari. This is a big component of the story, Jamal is Blade’s original mentor and someone you never see or hear about in the original Blade movies.
Kal El Smith does a good job of being “feral” and kinda angry, though whether he’s a good actor or just grumpy about having to flip tires in the Las Vegas desert will have to wait until we see him in future films. 😉
What is the tone of the story?
Daywalker is gritty, it could as easily be an 80’s gang action movie as a vampire film. It doesn’t put an exact timeline on what you see in the film but it feels older, dated, almost like a mad max kinda vibe. It’s an interesting feel that the movie gives us as it describes this subculture (vampires) that exist and battles just below what the rest of us know as civilization. You definitely saw some of this in the movies, weird symbols and hidden clubs, but Daywalker hints in this first film that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of whats secretly going on beneath us human’s understanding.
How are the action scenes?
With a character like Blade, combat is of utmost importance, its what the audiences have been trained to expect, and in that regard, Daywalker delivers but perhaps not 100% like you’d expect. Something that is important to keep in mind in this storyline is that we’re going to be seeing Blade get better, stronger, faster, and deadlier, but he isn’t there yet. When you see him fumbling or struggling in fights that the previous Blade would easily step through, its a reflection of the film telling the story of Eric Brooks when he is much weaker than what he becomes later.
I know for myself a couple times I expected him to be more powerful, I had to reset my expectations though and logically I feel like they made the right call on where they set his physical/combat abilities. It reminds me of Daredevil or even the new Spiderman movie where the comic book fans all have an understanding of where the character should “be”, but these stories are intentionally paced earlier and letting the characters develop their abilities over time. Gone are the day of 5 minute training montages leading into fully developed stories and the big boss fight, now we’re going to be growing “with” the characters over a much longer period of time.
Enough of my review, check out the film, Daywalker: Blade Origins!
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