Blade: The Iron Cross Movie Review

Written by Shane D. Keene

Released by Full Moon Features

blade the iron cross poster large

Directed by John Lechago
Written by Neal Marshall Stevens (as Roger Barron) 
2020, 70 minutes, Rated NR
Released on June 26th, 2020

Tania Fox as Elisa
Vincent Cusimano as Detective Jonas Gray
Griffin Blazi as Barney

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I think it’s safe to say those of us who are fans of the Puppetmaster Universe have longed for a good Blade origin story since the very first movie. I know I did. I have. And I’ll let you know when I find one. A good one, that is. Many critics have said this is the best movie in the franchise. Which it could have been. It starts out feeling like it is going to be. I pretty much enjoyed the hell out of the entire first half, in spite of some flaws common to the B-movie-murderous-puppet genre. It has a lot of promise.

And it lives up to some of the hype. Under the guidance of Director John Lechago, it commences with a nice, gritty feel like an early American noir flick. One box checked for me. Particularly in the acting of Vincent Cusimano as Detective Jonas Gray. He has the persona of a fedora-sporting hardboiled cop down to a science. His is the best performance of the film, which I wish was saying a lot, but really isn’t much. The psychic war-reporter, portrayed by Tania Fox, is intriguing in concept, but sadly quite wooden as performance goes.

Which is not to say I wasn’t enjoying the movie. I liked it pretty much all the way through the first half. Iffy acting is to be expected in B-horror sometimes, and the premise had me engaged at the onset. In Blade: the Iron Cross, a psychic with vengeance in mind awakens the titular and iconic representative of the franchise, and puts him to work as one of the “good guys.” I mean, if good guys spent their workdays running around maniacally stabbing people to death. Set in 1945 during WWII, it has a great retro atmosphere and the perfect dark mood, enhanced by pretty impressive lighting effects.

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But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter one iota if the director is God and the actors are fucking angels if the screenplay sucks. And it really does suck. There’s nothing there to make me give a damn about the characters for good or bad, nor do I think the actors were given the tools in the script to make me care. The dialogue is stilted, uninteresting, and completely ineffective for the most part, and from about the halfway point onward, I was pretty impressively bored by the whole thing. There is nothing remotely scary or even really enough to make your heart rate increase beyond what it would be while you were napping on the couch. Add to all that the practical effects. Not all that stellar in the first place, they seem to get worse and worse until the only thing “practical” about them had to have been the cost.

So yeah, two experiences, one movie, two red stars for semi-watchability. It is a decent film, hardboiled and gritty the way I love them to be, fun and bloody and, as I said, it makes promises in the beginning. And then the second half comes along and breaks every single one of them. I completely lost interest in the film and had to force myself through the rest of it. The only thing I found exceptionally positive about that part of it is it has an ending to it eventually. I think many long-time fans will love it, but if you are like me, one of those looking for that Holy Grail of Puppetmaster flicks, continue your quest, young padawan. You have not found it yet.

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Movie: 2 Star Rating Cover

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Shane D. Keene
Staff Reviewer
Shane Douglas Keene is a reviewer, columnist, and poet living in Portland, Oregon. He spends his spare time drinking scotch and/or beer, playing guitar, and thinking of ways to scare small children and puppies. He pays meticulous attention to beard maintenance, mostly because it freaks people out, and he writes about dark fiction and poetry in various places, including his blog at Shotgun Logic.
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