Fangs for nothing, Blade

Dec. 15, 2004, midnight | By Dan Greene | 16 years, 6 months ago

Vampires have worked out pretty well in American cinema for the last hundred years or so. Wesley Snipes is a solid action anti-hero-in a gruff, you-wouldn't-want-to-meet-him-in-a-dark-alley kind of way. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit of a Jessica Biel fan, and I even saw that Van Wilder movie with Ryan Reynolds and laughed a couple of times.

But for some reason, all these things coming together in Blade: Trinity doesn't work. In fact, director David Goyer makes the conclusion to the vampire-slaying trilogy convulse in horror like so many stake-ridden corpses. From the confusing opening voiceover to the confusing fast-motion ending-director David Goyer seems to be from the 'if you can't think of a transition, just speed everything up' film school; Trinity loses track of what made the first films such a guilty pleasure and ends up with a boring, confusing mess.

Snipes plays the title character the same way he plays every other: in a growling, angry, take-no-crap-from-anybody way that perfectly fits this furious vampire hunter. But that's too bad, because he's going to have to take crap for most of the movie-a lot of it coming from the ever-wise-cracking Ryan Reynolds, who manages to fill all empty screen time with vampire-related sarcasm. We meet Mr. Reynolds, playing the ex-vampire Hannibal King, as he rescues Blade from the clutches of the evil FBI early in the movie with undead huntress Abigail Whistler (Biel).

The vampires had tricked Blade into killing a human, hence the imprisonment. But he's broken out with such ease, and that plotline is abandoned so quickly, that you think Goyer just got distracted by the other loopy plot device: Dracula. Oh yeah, there's Dracula.

Apparently the vampires-led by the disturbing but non-threatening Posey Parker-have given up on trying to beat Blade on conventional terms and decide to play their trump card: the original vampire himself, played by Dominic Purcell, looking like an angry and depressed cologne model in his human guise and Power Rangers' villain in vampiric form. The only help Blade gets against this monster of a monster is Biel, Reynolds and the rest of the Vampireteers…I mean the Night Stalkers. These kids are high-tech junior vampire hunters that want to be Blade's reinforcements in the war against the ever-growing vampire army and their new über-vampire leader.

But Blade doesn't want any help, and I think he's right. Biel is not much besides emotionally-clumsy eye candy for much of the movie. Sometime in the future (Night Stalkers movie anyone?) Ryan Reynolds will grow into a handy comic/action hero, but for now he's just annoying. His character, King, is endearing in snatches, especially towards the end of the movie when things look especially grim for our cynical friend, but barely sufferable much of the time.

Goyer wrote the first two Blade movies, so in Hollywood logic he's the perfect choice to take the helm for the third. His artistic vision however, has none of the gothic imagery of the first Blade and none of the rush that you got from the orgy of violence that was Blade II. The spotty ending and the plot jumps leave a lot to be desired at film's end. Guillermo del Toro's frenzied touch is sorely missed. Now that man could make an incredibly violent, pulse-pounding vampire movie.

To be fair, there are still touches of the old Blade in a few sequences-particularly the opening vampire hunt and the escape from the authorities, but not enough to keep this franchise from feeling sucked dry.

Blade: Trinity (113 minutes) is Rated 'R' for strong pervasive violence and language, and some sexual content

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Dan Greene. Dan, alright fine, VJ, is proud to be a senior at Blair and a member of the best paper. Ever. He's really funny, trust him. As managing sports editor and ombudsman he enjoys sports and ombudsing. Dan also enjoys literature, soccer and crude humor. One … More »

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