Vampire movies seem to have a great deal of allure both in literature and on the big screen. There have been various articles on AC dealing with the mystique of vampirism. The Razor did one entitled “A Little History of Vampires.” Bonnie Anderson penned one entitled “Vampire Showdown: Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula Versus Anne Rice’s Lestat.” Vivian Rhodes wrote one on “Vampire Beginnings.” And those are just a few that I have tread. There are several more to choose from. Therefore, I thought the Blade series, which consists of “Blade,” “Blade II,” and “Blade Trinity,” would make a good subject for my next article regarding movies that spawn sequels.
I had never heard of the comic book “Blade” so the original movie’s concept was unique to me. I mostly went to see the film because I’m a huge Wesley Snipe’s fan and I thought he would be good in the role. I was right about that. He is perfect as the quasi-hero, vampire-hunter Blade.
For those of you who may not have seen the first Blade movie, it introduces the character of Blade (Snipes) who is half-mortal and half-vampire. If you wonder how that might be, the story is that his mother was pregnant with him when she was bitten by a vampire. Blade, who eventually found his way to a safe home with a human vampire expert named Abraham Whistler (played by veteran Kris Kristofferson), has spent his life trying to avenge his mother’s death. Of course, he also wants to rid the world of all bloodsuckers as well. Together, Blade and Whistler work to accomplish both missions.
Whistler provides the brains by way of technological expertise while Blade provides the muscle. However, Blade breaks a cardinal rule. When he finds Dr. Karen Jenson (played by N. Bushe Wright), who has been bitten by one of the vampires that he is chasing, he doesn’t kill her. For some reason, she triggers something in Blade that reminds him of his mother. He brings her back to Whistler and asks him to give her the same serum that he takes to suppress his vampire urges. Although furious that his adopted son has disobeyed a prime directive, Whistler agrees. Still, he warns that the serum might not work or could end of killing the girl. The serum does work, at least partially, and Whistler is pleasantly surprised to find out that the doctor is a hematologist. She wants to work on a formula that might “cure” Blade or, at the very least, work better than his current serum.
Karen and Blade work together to find out what the evil Deacon Frost (played by Stephen Dorff) is up to. He is not only responsible for the doctor being bitten, but for several other events that convince Blade that something ominous is in the works. He is correct. Frost has a plan to rid the world of pure blood vampires so that his kind can take over. He also wants to rid himself of “the daywalker” Blade. The plot, as it turns out, involves not only Blade, but also his dead mother.
I’m not going to tell you anything more about the movie because it will spoil the movie, but the story is intriguing to say the least.
As I said before, Snipes is perfectly cast as Blade. His years of marshal arts training pay off big time in this film.
Kristofferson’s curmudgeon Whistler is also a treat to watch. He takes no guff from the young vampire and has no problem pulling in Blade’s reigns when need be.
Dorff as Frost is evil incarnate. He reaches the limit of over acting and then pulls himself back from the brink just in the nick of time.
Wright is credible as the young doctor; if not just a bit too heavy handed with attitude. She definitely gets across the point that she is strong woman who isn’t likely to give in easily, but there is little other emotion in the character to make you want to pull for her.
This is a very dark and gory action thriller. It is not for the faint of heart. The screenplay written by David S. Goyer is good; not excellent, but strong. And director Stephen Norrington actually did a pretty good job of pulling off this movie. It was a tricky balance between action, gore, darkness, and light. He kept that balance pretty well!
Wesley Snipes produced this New Line Cinema film in conjunction with Amen Ra Films. It is rated R for language and violence.
I give the original film four out of five stars. It would have been five stars had there not been so much obvious gratuitous violence.
In “Blade II”, Snipes is back as the part human, part-vampire superhero based on the comic book character. He is still working his mission to rid the world of all bloodsuckers. To that end, he follows a trail of blood to Prague in search of his kidnapped mentor, Abraham Whistler. But along the way, he discovers a group of vampire warriors called the Bloodpack who tell him about a deadly new breed of vampires called the Reapers.
Reluctantly, Blade joins forces with the Bloodpack in order to eliminate this dangerous new evil that feeds on vampires and humans alike, infecting their victims with a deadly virus. He eventually manages to find Whistler but is uncertain just whom the old man now works with. He is forced to deal with the very tenuous alliance he has formed with the Bloodpack and, in particular, with the brutish Reinhardt (played by Ron Perlman). While he doesn’t trust the pack, he realizes that he needs them in order to accomplish his ultimate goal.
Blade must also deal with his growing attraction to the beautiful and mysterious Nyssa (played by Leonor Varela). And then there is the leader of the Reapers, Nomake (played by Luke Goss) and . . .Well, you don’t think I’m going to tell you everything, do you?
Although it seemed unlikely, Snipes manages to improve upon his role of Blade; bringing a little more depth to the character.
Varela is a much better potential “love” match for Snipes than was Wright in the original film.They actually have pretty good on screen chemistry. However, because of the type of film, romance isn’t in the cards long-term.
Perlman is wonderfully antagonistic in his role and Goss is dutifully terrifying in his. Overall, this movie has a pretty strong cast.
“Blade II,” directed by Guillermo del Toro, is explosive from beginning to end. He certainly knows how to take advantage of every character in the movie. His “style” is totally different which was necessary in order to make the best of this screenplay of David S. Goyer. This is a hyperkinetic motion picture which is visually stunning, albeit even more bloody than its predecessor. It is also darker and even more visceral than the original film; making it both frightening and thrilling at the same time.
This film has some of the most elaborately choreographed marshal arts stunts that I’ve ever seen (outside of “Mortal Kombat” anyway). These were done by Hong King superstar Donnie Yen who also plays a member of the Bloodpack, called Snowman.
“Blade II” iss, once again, produced by New Line Cinema in conjunction with Amen Ra Films. It was rated R for language and violence.
I give this version three and three-quarter stars out of five. I’m still hung up a bit on the gratuitous violence.
The final movie in the Blade series is “Blade Trinity.” Snipes reprises the role of the vampire hero who fights on behalf of mankind in spite of the fact that he, himself, is part vampire. He faces a new challenge. A group of vampires have managed to resurrect the long-slumbering original vampire himself – – Count Dracula (played by Dominic Purcell), called Drake in this film.
Desperate to rid themselves, once and for all, of their enemy Blade – – the daywalker – – this vampire crew believes that Drake can finally accomplish what legions before him could not. Together, they set Blade up to accidentally kill a human being, which he mistakes for a familiar (a vampire want-to-be). Blade gets arrested and psychiatrists try to make him realize that he has concocted an imaginary world.
Blade seems lost and defeated; that is until a group called the Nightstalkers leap in to save him. Abigail Whistler (played by Jessica Biel) leads the group. She, as it turns out, is Whistler’s daughter. Together with her partner and almost vampire Hannibal (played by Ryan Reynolds) and several techno-geeks with an amazing amount of new technology at their fingertips, they join Blace in the final battle. However, Drake’s crew is a little more than hungry themselves and Dracula has never been totally defeated.
As you can imagine, a major battle ensues. But who will win? Can the potion developed by the Nightstalkers really kill all vampires, including the Count himself? What will happen to Blade who is himself half-vampire? I can’t tell you that. You’ll have to see for yourself. But, once again, this movie provides an inguing story well worth watching.
Snipes seems a little less enthusiastic in his role this time around. However, it should be noted that he is still in amazing shape and capable of pulling off spectacular marshal arts for a man of his age.
I personally loved Hannibal. He brought just the right among of comic relief to an otherwise all dark movie
I would have loved to have seen even more of Biel. I felt that she wasn’t given the opportunity to shine in this role; something that she is certainly more than capable of doing.
Parker Posey in her role as one of Blade’s enemies is over the top in my opinion. However, a lot of people seem to like that.
Purcell as Count Dracula is everything you would expect of a modern day version of the Count; dark, handsome, mysterious, and cruel.
Most critics hated this sequel. They felt it the weakest of Goyer’s three screenplays. While I agree that it does not have the “surprise” of the original film or the non-stop action of the second one, I liked how it tied everything together. I’m a sucker for a fully fleshed out story and I feel that Goyer managed to accomplish at least that.
David S. Goyer also directed this film. I’m not sure that he filled that particular role as well as that of writer. There are some spots where the movie feels a little thin and some of the characters are over used while others are underdeveloped.
New Line Cinema produced the final film, again in alliance with Amen Ra Films. It is rated R for sexual situations, language, and violence.
I liked this sequel better than most film critics did so my rating here will be a surprise. I give it three and one-quarter stars. I think it has some originality that deserves to be recognized and let’s face it, this movie has an excellent and well-known cast; something that the first one did not.