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BLADE: TRINITY (R) (2004)

New Line Cinema

Official Site

Director: David S. Goyer

Producers: David S. Goyer, Lynn Harris, Wesley Snipes

Written by: David S. Goyer; based on Marvel Comics characters created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan

Cast: Wesley Snipes, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Parker Posey, Triple H, Natasha Lyonne, Dominic Purcell, Patton Oswalt, James Remar

Rating:


Blade first came on the scene in 1998, a little over a year after Batman And Robin devastated audiences. Based on a more obscure character who first appeared in the pages of Marvel Comics’ “Tomb Of Dracula,” and whose attempts at his own comic book series have pretty much led to bupkis, Blade became a huge sleeper hit and crowd pleaser of the year leading to the resurgence of “comic book movies.” The interpretation of Blade was actually closer to his presentation in the animated “Spider-man” cartoon series shown on Fox in the 1990s, which show-runner John Semper stated, “that it was my use of the character that inspired Avi [Arad, who runs Marvel Studios] to pursue it as a movie.”

The debut of Blade 2, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, came three and a half years later. Del Toro combined the great action of Blade with a touch of gothic horror, and formidable antagonists in the form of the Reapers. And now, in Blade: Trinity, David S. Goyer, the writer of all the Blade movies, tries to step up as director with his sophomore film. Sadly, Blade: Trinity proves disappointing as a typical third movie in a trilogy and does little to outshine its predecessors.

Wesley Snipes returns as Blade, still a badass who fights an underground war against vampires. After an exciting action sequence over the opening credits, vampires shoot video footage of Blade killing familiars (humans who work for vampires). The FBI has now made Blade a wanted criminal, and they are able to capture Blade and dispatch Whistler, Blade’s surrogate father and mentor (Kristofferson). Whistler does very little in this movie and Kristofferson looked like he didn’t even care, though the end of Whistler is actually one of my favorite scenes in the movie. The subsequent performance by Snipes’ Blade, in which his spirit breaks when he realizes his friend dies, was wonderful and rather appropriate for his character. In a cruel twist of irony, Blade is now held prisoner by the people he is trying to save and protect.

Soon the movie loses focus on the story and Blade. We are introduced to new characters such as Abigail Whistler (Biel), who is Abraham’s daughter, and Hannibal King (Reynolds), both members of the vampire hunter group, the Nightstalkers. Abigail and Hannibal rescue Blade before he’s taken by what seems to be the new vampire higher-ups, Danica Talos (Posey) and Grimwood (WWE world heavyweight champion, Triple H in his debut movie role). Now that the vampires have revived the original vampire, or Dracula/Drake (Purcell), who like Blade possesses no weaknesses, the Nightstalkers and Blade have to figure out how to destroy Dracula and all the vampires with a virus before the vampires create a “final solution”.

Say what you will about the first two Blade movies, but as far as story and plot go, everything made sense. Not so here. Many plot threads are introduced but never again revisited. It’s said the vampires revive Drake to create some sort of plague to kill all the humans as in the first movie, or use Blade’s blood to make them “day-walkers” like Blade which was the plan in the second movie. In this movie, I have no idea why Drake and Blade are fighting. Drake disappeared because he was growing disgusted with vampire evolution and culture, and he is still disgusted when he awakens. It appears that Drake likes Blade more than he likes his own brethren, yet the vampires are able to lock Drake up and he seems to serve every whim of the vampires. If the filmmakers showed that Talos possessed power over Drake, it would have made more sense, but no such implication exists in the film.

The Nightstalkers are rounded out by Hedges (Oswalt), Sommerfield (Lyonne), and Dex (Ron Selmour). They are all fairly useless, boring, flat, annoying characters, not unlike cannon fodder in a horror film. And that’s what the Nightstalkers were—cannon fodder. The Blood Pack was cannon fodder in Blade 2, but at least the Blood Pack characters were much more interesting and better written than the Nightstalkers. And the Blood Pack could fight. Other than Abigail and King, the Nightstalkers are TOTALLY USELESS in a fight and just extraneous characters.

That brings me to Abigail. She’s a badass, she’s hot, and she listens to her Ipod while she fights (How can she fight while she does that? I don’t know). But other than that you learn nothing about Abigail and her relationship with other characters. Her father is now DEAD, but the reaction of Abigail to Whistler’s death is never addressed. There’s a scene with Abigail in the shower with a voiceover from Whistler, but it still doesn’t reveal anything about her, other than serving the movie’s T’n’A quotient I suppose. I really don’t understand why Abigail is fighting vampires. “[She] wanted in.” Okay… but why? Did vampires kill her mother; did she want to help her father get revenge? In the voiceover, Whistler says, “I don’t want this kind of life for you Abby.” The only explanation I could come up with is that Abigail thought it would be cool if she could learn how to fight vamps while listening to Ipods.

Hannibal King. Well, we know why he fights. Hannibal used to be a vampire and wants revenge on Danica Talos. King’s character is the stereotypical, wise-cracking comic relief. Some of his material was funny, some wasn’t. However, plain and simple, he’s a character who really sticks out and does not belong in a Blade film. Whoever said he and the Nightstalkers are like kids on “Buffy” are right. They seem more like characters created for a Joss Whedon show than a Blade movie. There is a scene in the movie where Blade tears down and insults the Nightstalkers, and most everything he says about them is right. I wonder if Snipes was really acting in that scene.

There’s been much made of the tension between Snipes and Goyer on the set. Snipes has openly expressed disappointment in the movie in angry letters to New Line Cinema and on the movie’s message boards. He feels he’s been sidelined and that the Nightstalkers have “stolen” the movie. While the complaint is somewhat exaggerated, I understand his feelings since the movie is disappointing, especially when stacked against its predecessors. And it’s obvious that New Line and Marvel Studios are aiming for a Nightstalkers spin-off franchise, but if they are the same characters we saw here, count me out.

I vaguely remember Blade making a joke about Euro-trash vampires in the first movie. That’s exactly what the main villains were here, typical Euro-trash vampires usually found in direct-to-video garbage. This goes especially for Drake, who portrays a boring, sub-par character and villain, though his demon form is kind of cool. Posey looks great as the vampire uber-bitch, but she doesn’t do much else. Triple H is the coolest villain in the movie as Grimwood, a vampire henchman with metal teeth, which says a lot considering how much Triple H continues to piss me off and annoy me on WWE television. None of the antagonists here are as cool or entertaining as Blade 1’s Deacon Frost and Quinn, or Blade 2’s Nomak and Reinhart.

I don’t want to fool you. The movie is entertaining, the fight scenes are great, and I think Goyer has a strong directorial style. However, now that Goyer is both director and writer he does not have an unbiased filter when constructing his work from the page. The biggest flaw of Goyer’s writing is that he’s madly in love with clichés. But if you go into this movie for some good Snipes action without expecting something superior to the prior two movies, you probably won’t be disappointed.

“Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill.”

—Blade

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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