Blade II

Wesley Snipes is not really a favorite here at HARO Online. His films, most of which are action movies, are not that good, and he is not a great actor. He apparently can act, and does so every once in a while, but those roles are few and far between. Yet, for all the ambivalence for Snipes here, he is the perfect personification of Blade. Blade II is his movie in every way, and he plays the character to a tee. He has the incredibly cut body, the swagger and bravado, the badass persona, and the same love of the spoken word as Rambo. The first Blade, based on the Marvel Comics character, was a surprise hit. Blade II is better (well, relatively) and should ensure a new film franchise for Snipes and New Line Cinema. There are three elements that make Blade II easily transition from the comic book to the screen; Snipes, director Guillermo del Toro, and writer David S. Goyer. This time around, Blade joins forces with the vampires to face a new threat, the Reapers.

Blade (Snipes, The Art of War, Play It to the Bone), the half-human half vampire is back, along with his advisor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson, Planet of the Apes, Limbo). They have a new ally, Scud (Norman Reedus, Gossip, Sand), a young mechanical whiz. The vampires want Blade because they are deathly afraid of the Reapers. They are evolved vampires, who feed on vampires insatiably. If left unchecked, they will destroy all vampires and eventually turn to humans as a new source of food. Blade agrees, partially so he plot to stop the vampires themselves, since he's sure they will turn on him at any moment. They set him up as interim leader of the Blood Pack, a group originally designed to hunt Blade but now retooled to go after Reapers. Members of the mostly disposable Blood Pack include the alluring Nyssa (Leonor Varela, Texas Rangers, The Tailor of Panama) and Reinhardt (Ron Perlman, Enemy at the Gates, Titan A.E.).

Goyer (Blade, Dark City) is a natural for writing this movie. He usually keeps to comic book like movies, and hey, he's a comic book writer. Unlike most other adapters, he understands some of the cinematic limitations of comic books, and uses them to his advantage. Del Toro (The Devil's Backbone, Mimic) is a master at setting creepy moods and dark visuals. Much of Blade II exists in the dark, in subterranean sewers, looming office buildings, or dilapidated warehouses. There is a sinister aura to most of the settings, because of del Toro's masterful horror experience. Even with all the dark undertones, Goyer's dialogue, especially for Snipes, has an amusing, almost campy quality. Blade utters little, and does so in a menacing, husky growl. The main limitation of Blade II is that there really isn't a story. Gory fighting scenes substitute for plot. Its hard to develop characters and to pace a story. It's easy to have people shoot thousands of bullets into vampires and to watch them disintegrate into ashes. Yet still, this is a nice mindless action movie. The fight scenes (real and CGI) are complex with nice choreography, and there are tons of nasty looking weapons used for killing vamps. But this only reinforces the fact the Blade II is little more than a guilty pleasure; enjoyable violent eye candy and nothing more.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
2 hours, 5 minutes, Rated R for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content.

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