Blade Trintiy

Blade Trintiy

Blade Trintiy

directed by David Goyer

starring Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Triple H, Parker Posey, Kris Kristofferson

New Line Cinema

The lineage of the current rush of superhero films can be directly traced all the way back to 1998 when Marvel rolled out its action packed vampire film Blade. Blade was box office gold and reinvented Wesley Snipes, not only as a viable action hero. His Blade was a brooding, dark no-nonsense renegade that was perfect for the new century. Four years later he returned with Blade II. Blade II added a lot to the series. It had meaner vampires, a definitive European flavor and spruced-up special effects.

At some point, every franchise worth its weight needs an added something to help reshape it and provide enough oomph to entice both die-hard fans and new audiences alike. Writer/Director David Goyer knew this when he embarked on making Blade Trinity. He reached into his bag of tricks (and the actual comics themselves) and gave the series a much needed third wind by adding the snide Ryan Reynolds and the sleek Jessica Biel.

Although Wesley Snipes has proven that he has the chops for action films, his turn as Blade needed a little something extra to help get him over. Marvel, Goyer and the fans wanted something fresh to keep the series off life support. The writers got smart and did two things. They placed Snipes in an ensemble where he could still do his thing, while growing as a character and they took Blade’s vampire hunting out of the caverns and into the streets.

Blade Trinity begins with a team of vampires, led by the ruthless Danica Talos (played with perfect over-the-top bitchiness by Parker Posey), venturing into the Syrian dessert to unearth their long lost leader, Dracula, whom they believe will end the war with the humans and rid them of Blade once and for all. They take him (now called Drake) back to Los Angeles and prepare themselves for the apocalypse of all mankind.

These vampires are not just fangs and folklore. They are a nasty bunch that has gotten with the times and networked. Together with their human minions they launch a nasty public relations smear campaign against Blade, taking advantage of his aggressiveness and setting him up by causing him to inadvertently kill a human. This backs Blade into a corner with seemingly no way out. He has a full plate. Besides his ongoing battle with the vampires, Blade now tussles with his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), the FBI, the LAPD, and an unruly public that sees him as nothing more than a reckless vigilante. These events force Blade to confront who he is and make changes in how he does his job.

Things seem bleak after Blade’s lair is compromised and he is taken into custody, drugged, interrogated and cross-examined by the Feds. Help arrives when the mysterious Night Stalkers stage a daring rescue mission and free their iconic role model. Out of necessity Blade join forces with the Night Stalkers, a united militia group waging their own war against the vampires. They’re led by the wise cracking ex-vampire Hannibal King (Reynolds) who never wants to go home again and Abigail Whistler (Biel) a sexy and strong archer with her own agenda. More importantly, Hannibal and Abigail serve as the synergists for Blade’s personal conflict and change. The Night Stalkers (likely to have their own spinoff film series) have developed a mutated virus that, with Blade’s help, can end the vampire menace and save humanity.

Just like Blade. Drake is a Day Walker and all-around bad dude. His evil is legendary as he has has been bleeding mankind dry for centuries. After awakening, the Prince of Darkness immerses himself in his new surroundings and learns all that he can about Blade. Ironically, sleeping for centuries has made Drake unaware of the pop culture status of vampires, highlighted with great hilarity when he bleeds the employees of a Hot Topic-ish store dry.

The drama rises to a bloody crescendo when Talos and her posse get it on in true comic book style with the Night Stalkers. The final battle between Blade and Drake is an elaborate spectacle of martial arts, skillful swordplay and fast fisticuffs that shows Snipes is still on top of his game while mercifully bearing no resemblance to the Matrix-style fight scenes currently overused in action films.

Making a vampire movie these days is hard work. First you have to deal with all of the established lore, traditions and perceived truths of the genre. Then there is the competition. Studios are making more vampire themed franchises these days, (Underworld, Van Helsing) raising the stakes on winning over and maintaining both a new and a core audience. Things get dicier when you compound these headaches by adapting an established comic book character for the big screen.

Fortunately Goyer and Snipes have avoided these pratfalls with the Blade films. Blade Trinity, although spotty on character and plotting, delivers a feast of hip-hop and techno fueled bloodletting that is skillfully augmented by Reynolds’ comedy and Biel’s sex appeal. This results in the season’s grittiest adventure film, one which pulls out all the stops to deliver in a big way.

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