David S. Goyer. What a knob-jockey. Proving that the sun does indeed shine on a dog's ass somedays, the writer of such Oscar-baiting excellence as Demonic Toys, The Puppet Master and the suave, post modern Euro arthouse favourite Demonic Toys Vs. The Puppet Master somehow woke up one day, bumped his head and discovered he had adapted marginal Marvel Comics character Blade into an all-singing, mostly dancing sleeper hit, helmed by Stephen Norrington. With the studio passing the directorial reigns onto Guillermo Del Torro for the sequel Blade 2 (catchy title), Goyer once again penned a mighty fine slice of vampire hokum, improving on the first movie in almost every respect and once again laying the box office open along the edge of a silver-infused blade.
Now, presumably while all this was going on Goyer must have been nagging at the execs for a shot behind the wheel of what was, to be fair, a baby largely of his own creation. Having kept their heads on relatively straight for the previous two movies, these gormless men in suits obviously decided the franchise was strong enough to kick ass regardless of who was holding the reigns, and in a decision I can only assume was made while eyeing up the potential profit margin, finally told Goyer "oh, alright then", handed him a squillionth of the paycheque an established director would have commanded, and left us gaping in awe not at the action-packed third installment we deserved, but at a dead horse surrounded by a cloud of voracious bluebottles being pissed upon by a group of small children who are simultaneously pointing and laughing at it's rapidly decomposing form.
For the most part apeing the structure of Blade 2, Goyer kicks off with what he would no doubt like to think is a break-kneck rollercoaster opening like that of the previous movie. Boooooooooong. While installment two got the heart pounding early, here we sit in isolation from the action on screen, detached and unemotional, while Snipes waves about a bit of wire with a fork or something on the end, ashing a load of gormless kneck-gobblers who are too bored to even be bothered fighting back. Before this there's some vague mention of Dracula and a ruckus inside a pyramid in Syria, but like me you'll probably have all but forgotten that by now. Forging on then to a bit of "plot development" where Blade is set up by some vampires who have him mistakenly kill a human. Presumably having taken a leaf out of Blair and Bush's book on media warfare, the pointy-toothed ones wage a war of spin against our hero, leaving him a wanted man on the lam from the FBI. That he's killed plenty of humans before is a point nobody much cares to mention, but as a precursor to the pot-holed plot that follows it's a minor sin.
It would appear that in their quest to vanquish Blade a number of high-ranking vampires have decided to ressurrect Dracula (Dominic Purcell) himself. As the first ever vampire, "Drake", as everyone annoyingly insists on calling him, is the purest of the pure; able to walk in sunlight like Snipes and sporting a natty (read "stupid") ability to change form and take on the appearance of other people. Why bother with the FBI sub-plot then? Answers on a postcard please. It's not long before Blade is captured and poor old sidekick Whistler (a bored Kristofferson looking as blandly bemused as you will be) blows himself up purely to take as many Fed scum with him as he can. Thank heavens then for he "Nightstalkers"; a splinter group of vampire hunters lead by (Hey! Are you still paying attention?) the improbably good-looking duo of Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel, spending more time advertising iPods than actually acting) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds).
Showcasing an incredibly unweildy range of silly new weapons, the younger generation save Blade's ass (yeah, right) and set about administering some anti-vampire virus which requires the blood of Dracula for some contrived reason or another. Having touted this installment as a handover to a new generation of vampire slayers, it's hard to imagine why Goyer chose to make his leaner, meaner offspring quite so bland. Reynolds is easily Snipes' equal in the one-liner department, spitting out leftfield verbal jabs with applomb (and delivering the year's best insult by a long way; look out for it on our quote bar), but he's less than convincing when it comes to the ass-kicking part. How much of this is down to Goyer's shoddy treatment of the action scenes is unclear, but it's at least reasonably apparent that the young lad is not, unlike Snipes, naturally proficient in the martial arts. As for Biel, her character (Whistler's daughter) is such a non-entity you wouldn't even notice she was there if it weren't for her picture on the poster.
For many though the biggest disappointment will be Snipes. Clearly not enamoured with the direction of the movie (and who can blame him), he can't even bring himself to deliver the usual barrage of oblique payoff lines and semi-camp posturing, pouring even more cold water on the franchise flames already diminishing under the fire blanket of Goyer's ineptitude. And what gross ineptitude it is. Clearly trying to copy Guillermo Del Torro's homework five minutes before Teacher asks for it to be handed in, Goyer has used the old cut and paste routine to lift all the bits he thought were cool in Blade 2 (ie. the wrestling moves), and repeat them ad infinitum. Hence every single fight consists of a couple of dropkicks and a tombstone or two, bypassing any excitement in favour of CG stuntmen falling off a balcony and shattering the floor beneath. Yawn...
The supporting cast all manage similarly drab performances. Purcell, despite his impressive physical presence, manages to make The Nastiest Vampire That Ever Walked The Earth about as threatening as a wet teabag, rather pulling the rug from underneath an already critically ill plot. The remainder of the Nightstalker crew, all "nice fat people", "nice blind people" and other "nice social misfits oh how original", are a complete set of vacuous, simpering fucktards, and ditto for the vampire legions and their human pets (Blade 2's slimy lawyer becomes a slimy psychiatrist instead). Only Parker Posey manages to even vaguely impress as Chief Vampire Bitch Danica Talos, her quasi-reptilian ticks and shifty eye movements at least conveying some sort of sub-human genetic makeup. A shame then that the script affords her character little opportunity other than to be shamelessly (but admittedly hillariously) insulted at every turn by former victim King. As for brawn-before-brains wrestler Triple H and his appearance as the now stadard Stock Muscled Henchman...well, just don't ask.
Ultimately Blade Trinity is as lifeless and limp as one of Dracula's victims, and by the time the (anti?) climactic rumble betwixt daywalkers has reached it's terminus you too may well feel like something has been sucking the very lifeblood from your veins. Certainly this individual entered the theatre with high hopes and a bag of Sea Monsters, but left with only a sore leg, a numb arse and a nagging suspicion that Peter Jackson aside nobody in Hollywood can successfully pull off a dynamite trilogy. It's not even as if Trinity makes the effort to try, for which I would have rightly taken pity upon it, but rather it's so stupidly conceived from the start that the studio executives might as well have written and filmed it themselves.
If there's one thing more upsetting than a drab sequel it's one that makes you wish they just hadn't bothered in the first place. Everybody on the planet loves Blade. Well, almost. Now, thanks once again to pure greed, some pen-pushers and their accountant whores in La La Land have bitch-smacked something we care about deeply into near oblivion, taking the edge right off two exceptional action movies with a third that sullies the brand like a smelly little child puking it's innards out over some nice new dungarees mum bought from Mothercare just the other day. When will these bile-slurping, cack-munching, sheep-penetrating, kiddie-fiddling, ball-lickers learn to leave a good thing the fuck alone? See! I've gone and gotten all angry. Grrr....
Thundering with rage, I award this steaming pile of horse cack 2 out of 5 Disko Units.
Kris Kristofferson (Abraham Whistler)
Ryan Reynolds (Hannibal King)
Jessica Biel (Abigail Whistler)
Parker Posey (Danica Talos)
Dominic Purcell (Dracula/Drake)