When Guillermo Del Toro passed on the opportunity of helming the third Blademovie to direct his dream project, Hellboy, the baton went to writer and occasional director David S. Goyer.
In Goyer’s Blade: Trinity we find Blade (Wesley Snipes), the half vampire killing machine, in his trademark sunglasses taking out dozens of bloodsuckers, reducing them to sparks and ash. But the Police are on his trail, who want him for the vast amount of carnage he leaves in his wake and track him down to his lair where they manage to take him into custody after a violent, explosive battle.
Meanwhile, the vampires, led by Danica Talos (a virtually unrecognisable Parker Posey), have managed to find Dracula in an ancient Iraqi Pyramid, hoping he can help them with their “Final Solution” for the Human Race (which has obvious Nazi overtones). Dracula (Dominic Purcell), or Drake, as he likes to called these days, is no Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi but a shape-shifting beast resembling a cross between the Witch King from Lord of the Rings and the Reapers from the second Blade film. Conveniently, he assumes human form so he can stroll the city streets, and during daylight, too.
Blade is sprung from his police cell by a bunch of vampire hunters called the Nightstalkers, consisting mainly of Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds, who seems to have to got his face from the same store as James Van Der Beek). Abigail is Abraham Whistler’s daughter, who obviously wants to keep the vampire killing thing in the family, while Hannibal King is an ex vampire who went through the cure to become human again and now enjoys mixing carnage with wisecracks.
The movie clips along at a fair pace, but the plot just feels like a way of linking one messy battle to another. Video games are becoming more like movies, but this film moves in the opposite direction and feels like a first person shooter. That’s fine if you’re just expecting to root for Blade and his new team of ass-kickers, but compared to Blade II, there’s no depth at all, and it’s not as if Blade II was a particularly deep movie.
Drake is also a fairly uninteresting adversary, especially compared to Blade II‘s Nomak (Luke Goss), but luckily Danica and Jarko Grimwood (Paul Michael Levesque – the World Heavyweight Champion wrestler Triple H) make for more charismatic foes and prevented me from drifting off to sleep. (Just to make a curious observation: Drake, considering he’d been out of the picture for several thousand years, seemed to get used to modern civilisation pretty quickly, not even batting an eyelid at things like cars and machine guns. Perhaps his pyramid was equipped with satellite TV.)
Hannibal’s snappy dialogue aside, the writing feels lazy, the direction pedestrian and Snipes looks like he’s just going through the motions, no doubt thinking about the paycheck at the end. And you have to wonder about the intelligence of the vampires: rather than just shoot Snipes and his heavily armed human team, they insist on rushing them, fangs bared for a bit of hand to hand combat only to be cut down in increasingly imaginative ways with a variety of UV bullets, arrows and swords. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!
There’s also the strangest product placement perhaps in the history of cinema: Abigail likes to download MP3s to her iPod so she can listen to custom playlists while she turns vampires to cinders with her high powered bow and arrow! Excuse me?
The introduction of Hannibal and Abigail seem like an effort to move the franchise in a more “youth” direction (and I for one would rather see Jessica Biel in the shower washing blood off her than Kris Kristofferson) but it seems a little forced and cynical.
I was hoping for a more imaginative plot, taking the story further, but I was sadly disappointed, and ironically Goyer appears to have painted the franchise into a corner with a new weapon that the humans have at their disposal.
Blade: Trinity is mindless fun and nothing more.