“Witchblade” is the flagship comic series of Top Cow Productions which is a subsidiary of Image Comics. Created by Marc Silvestri, the term “witchblade” refers to a mystical gauntlet that protects its wearer from harm. Designed and honed by women this ancient treasure finds its way into the life of a reluctant cop named Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler).
Stuggling to unlock the power of the gauntlet, Sara butts heads with billionaire Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistano) and his mysterious enforcer Ian Nottingham (Eric ‘Kaos’ Eteban). Irons unlock part of the history behind the gauntlet exclaiming that it Sara’s destiny to wear the gauntlet.
The Witchblade Tele-movie is one of the best comic adaptation television movies in recent memory. The way the film flows and really brings out a lot of panache in its cast reminded me of the magic when I first saw “The Flash” speed across TV screens in the early nineties. It really is too bad the series didn’t live up to the quality of the pilot.
As a fan of the on-going comic series I did love that they made the characters and gauntlet more realistic but didn’t steal from the mystery or energy surrounding the “witchblade”. I liked how the director would give Sara flashes into the history of the witchblade as the mystery slowly unfolded. You would salivate as you saw a glimpse of a Joan of Arc-type warrior wielding the gauntlet as she fought an epic battle. Loved these period flashbacks.
You really have to admire the production team and the casting people. A lot of the characters really don’t envelope the look of the comic characters but instead pave a new direction and look for them I liked this aspect because it didn’t fail like a lot adaptations but instead helped the project. One of these changes was the character of Ian Nottingham played by Eric Esteban.
In the comicbook Ian Nottingham is always dressed in a long flowing oriental coat with long jet black hair. To allow him to blend into the atmosphere of modern day Chicago, actor Esteban sports a black toque and long flowing trenchcoat. The actor’s eyes and presence capture Nottingham’s essence without the infamous wardrobe. Esteban really does a wonderful job fleshing out the tortured Nottingham. He was incredible to watch.
A couple notes that I found annoying was the “boy-toy”/partner David Chokachi who is an ex-surfer who is trying to help Sara while he harbors a secret desire for her. This character was a nuisance and very poorly written. He could have been dropped.
It originally ran on TNT and Witchblade had a great potential to be a good solid sci-fi show. There was a lot of room for a female based hero audience in syndication since it debuted right after Xena died. But really after it went to series the show itself turned into one of the worst written shows on TV right alongside crap like John Woo’s Once a Thief and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Well it also didnt help that star Yancy Butler was also fighting off some demons of her own in her personal life. It wore out it’s welcome as fast as Mutant X did for me with Episode 3.
Tele-movie: 4 out of 5
Series: 2 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer
Note: The Witchblade Complete Series is now available on DVD.