Blade: Trinity is the third film in the series, and if things go well this time around it certainly won’t be the last. That’s not to say the film is good, as it is really a pale shadow to the much superior first two films.
As the film opens, the Vampire Nation is out in the Syrian Desert to resurrect long dead Dracula (Dominic Purcell). Their plan? Sick the first and most feared Vampire in history on our half-human-half-vampire hero Blade (Snipes). They have failed twice up to this point, so why not?
Meanwhile, Blade is being tracked by the Feds for his mass murdering ways. The government does not believe in Vampires, so to them Blade is just another whacko mass murderer who has been lucky to escape as long as he has. At his side once again is Whistler (Kristofferson), always full of good advice.
After a raid of Blade’s compound, he’s taken in by the Feds for questioning. But leave it to the Night Stalkers, a renegade group of Vampire hunters to bust him out and want him to join their side. We have Hannibal King (Reynolds), a wisecracking, bulked up Van Wilder. Then there’s Abigail Whistler (Biel), Whistler’s daughter who has clearly learned the ways of her father. Rounding out the Night Stalkers are Sommerfield (Natasha Lyonne), a DNA chemist who can develop a virus to kill all Vampires with a drop of Dracula’s blood, and Hedges, the “Q” of the Blade franchise.
The first two Blade films were successes (and good) because they brought something new to the table. They were nice and bloody, just like a vampire movie should be. The intense action scenes were directed with care and skill (by both directors Stephen Norrington of the first film and Guillermo Del Toro of the sequel), and there was truly a sense of awe in watching Vampires turn into ash. Del Toro even upped the gore and overall gross-out ante in the second film.
None of that is on display here. Sure, there is action aplenty, but most of it looks like it was edited by interns at MTV who’ve been drinking Mountain Dew and eating Sour Patch Kids all day. There’s next to no rhythm, and in the few instances we do get a decent look at the action, it’s clearly actors lightly clanking swords wondering where the lunch buffet is.
The second biggest problem lies in the character of Dracula himself. Where is the awe? We’re dealing with Dracula here, not some schmo off the street. Dracula is introduced as simply a bald guy with big muscles who can morph into a creature that is clearly a ripoff of Predator. He’s the villain among the Vampires, but never once to we feel that he is a real threat.
The performances are serviceable, however. Wesley Snipes has taken Blade one more rung up the monotone ladder, but he is still a great hero to root for. The supporting cast does a good job with their material, with Jessica Biel stealing most of her scenes with her cool weaponry (plus she’s the only female who’s not deathly pale). Ryan Reynolds is the comic relief, and I honestly could have done without a lot of it. It makes for a very uneven film and nullifies some of the action and any remote scares. Think Van Wilder with bigger muscles.
David S. Goyer does a fairly good job of directing his own screenplay (he also wrote the screenplays for the first two films). He sets up some nifty overhead shots and is already a pro at shooting low, menacing shots of Blade, but the convoluted action scenes are partially his doing because there are simply too many closeups of sparks coming off swords and the facial reactions that go with them.
Oh, I forgot one other star: The Apple Ipod. Folks, this is one of the most intrusive and annoying product placements I have ever seen in a film. It should get a credit listing above Kris Kristofferson, as I think it is in more scenes. And I’m sure that in her offtime Abby Whistler is downloading music off iTunes. Please. We get closeups, montages of her playlist, and obvious placement for rapper RZA, who supplies some music for the film.
Diehard Blade enthusiasts will most likely exit the theater amused, but hardly blown away. The heyday for Blade has come and gone, and I sincerely hope that for the integrity of the franchise that this is the last film. The first two are very solid movies. This one, like most films with a “3” associated with its title, is all about the dough.
Studio: New Line Cinema
Length: 105 Minutes
Rating: R for strong pervasive violence and language, and some sexual content.
Theatrical Release: December 8, 2004
Directed by: David S. Goyer
Written by: David S. Goyer. Original Blade character by Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan.
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Parker Posey, Mark Berry