Snipes turns 53 today. Happy Birthday, Wesley Snipes.
A prolific action movie star, Snipes is best known to comic book fans as Blade from Marvel Comics’ Blade films. As the lethal vampire hunter, Snipes starred in Blade, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity. In fact, Snipes is so linked to the live-action version of Blade, that rumors have broken that he could reprise the role in an upcoming Marvel Studios production.
Snipes’ other memorable roles include The Expendables 3, Demolition Man, and White Men Can’t Jump.
Ever since his release from the federal prison in Pennsylvania where he served a three-year sentence after being convicted of tax charges, he is yet to surface the big screens. However here is a collection of his best work before the tax invasion saga.
Shadow Handerson in ‘Mo’ Better Blues’
Shortly he featured as Mini Max in Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ video, Spike Lee was clamoring to get Snipes in one of his movies. While he initially turned down a role in Do The Right Thing, Snipes showed face in Mo’ Better Blues as a saxophone player constantly butting heads with his friend/bandleader Bleek (Denzel Washington). He’s also the paranoid cheating type.
Nino Brown in ‘New Jack City’
Mobster supreme Nino Brown had one-liners and charisma to spare in New Jack City. Nino pleasantly confirmed Snipes’ rise in popularity.
Flip Purify in Jungle Fever
The second linking between Spike Lee and Snipes, Jungle Fever is the story of Flip (Snipes) and Angie (Annabella Sciorra), an interracial couple attempting to love each other while dealing with the segregated fallout from their respective families and society at large. This would be a tough role for any actor, but Snipes brought a determination that shined through.
Simon Phoenix in ‘Demolition Man’
As psychopathic criminal Simon Phoenix, Demolition Man was Snipes’s first foray into the worlds of science fiction and action; and proved to New Line Cinemas and Marvel Comics that he might just be the right man for…
Blade! Chances are, if you’re a film buff of a certain age, Snipes and this vampire exterminator are practically synonymous. This 1998 masterpiece directed by Guillermo del Toro (yes that one) not only cemented Snipes’ status as a bonafide superstar, it was also the film that kicked off Hollywood’s obsession with superhero movies. This, 2000’s X-Men, and 2002’s Spider-Man being huge successes at the box office proved that heroes could mean big bucks and no more flops like Batman and Robin or Howard the Duck.