dir: David S. Goyer
[img_assist|nid=976|title=Even dumber than it looks|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=420|height=420]
You have to wonder what the attraction is with this franchise. Wesley Snipes hasn't exactly done any memorable acting work in donkey's years. The Blade character is so two-dimensional that when Blade walks side-on from the camera I always expect the guy to be paper-thin. It hasn't really set the box office alight (none of the three films were big earners in that respect). Marvel, I'm sure, has plenty of other comic book franchises dying to be made (and I'm sure plenty of them are already in development).
As a vampire scenario it's not a particularly intelligent, original, amusing or otherwise worthwhile one. The main character's motivation is solely to kill vampires and try to gruffly protect humanity (which seems secondary). There's not a lot of room for character arcs, thematic development, social significance or transcendent insights into human or vampire nature amidst the averagely choreographed fight scenes and the most ordinary action set pieces.
I am taking the piss, but a film doesn't have to be dumb just to be an action film. Then again there doesn't need to be any of those elements in a full on action film, but a little would be nice. After setting up the franchise credibly in the first Blade film, they squandered it in the second by turning it into a sloppy Aliens clone complete with WWE wrestling moves and completely lowered the bar for fight scene choreography, wasting the talents of numerous decent people (not least of which being Donnie Yen).
Rumours of director / 'star' conflict arose which did nothing to dispel the feeling of crappiness that pervaded everything. A third film didn't really need to be made, but got made anyway. Think of this as a quickie for a few extra bucks. At the very least they admit right from the start that the premise is empty, and they need two other legs to prop up this shaky three-legged coffee table upon.
Killing off Blade's mentor character and sidekick Whistler (Kris Kristofferson, who looks older than Gandalf) they introduce Whistler's daughter Abigail (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) to pick up the slack.
Jessica Biel is in this because she is attractive. She has a pretty good intro into the proceedings with a set-up involving some vamp teenage skaters (and who wouldn't want to kill them?), but the rest is just window dressing. She does look credible in some of the fights, but then again so would I with the right rapid editing. And I can't fight (sober) for shit.
Instead of being a clotheshorse as many female characters generally are in films, she actually plays a product-horse. Her character itself shills for Apple via iPod. There is actually dialogue in the movie where Blade asks a character as to what Abigail is doing, and he is informed that she is making a playlist using iTunes, since she loves dusting vamps whilst listening to her iPod.
Apart from the staggering idiocy this all implies, this kind of product placement is insulting. It's the second worst plug in a film for 2004, the worst being Will Smith shilling Converse Chuck Taylor's in I, Robot, which was the most egregious example for the year, hands down.
Jessica Biel, again, in case anyone missed it, is in this for her looks, not for any acting ability that she may or may not possess. They even give her one of those scenes where a woman seems to be sad for whatever reason, and decides to sit down in the shower. Showing nothing of course, so it's an empty tease. I'm not talking from the point of view of someone who cares whether she gets naked in a film or not, since it is unlikely she has anything I've never seen before. I mean it from the idiotic way in which they lead in to the tease. At the end of an action scene, she's clean. In the next she's magically covered in dried blood, and needs to clean herself up. Your pants are swelling just hearing about it, aren't they?
Ryan Reynolds is in this because he's supposed to be the funny one, and he is okay at delivering some lines. He's got decent timing, but comes across as way too needy. With little if any variation in the character he plays here versus the one he played in the sitcom Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place, the film relies on him too much for its humour. The humour isn't really all that humorous anyway, few of the lines will amuse anyone over fifteen. Still, he's probably one of the only amusing aspects of the film, apart from the idiocy of the script itself.
If you had a friend that resembled any of the characters in this movie, including Hannibal King or Blade, you'd probably be spending a lot of your life fighting the urge to smother them all in their sleep with a pillow.
Parker Posey, strange queen of American indie cinema that she is plays one of the weakest villains a vampire movie has ever had. Her 'vampiric' contact lenses slip in a few scenes, and in a few other scenes she can't say her dialogue properly because of the prosthetic fangs in her mouth. Her abilities are truly wasted. She was far more frightening in Josie and the Pussycats.
As one of the leaders of a vampire clan, her character Danica Talos has decided to dig up Dracula in the hope of making vampires super powerful. Dracula was asleep, you see, in an Iraqi stepped pyramid-like structure, just waiting to be dug up. It might have been that Abu Ghraib prison, I'm not entirely sure. She also wants him to kill Blade because Blade keeps foiling her plans for, I dunno, world domination and the monopoly on pumpkin scones.
The nasty vampires want to also kill off all of humanity for some reason with their Final Solution. Dracula just walks around killing people (including some goths, which is the funniest thing in the film). From beginning to end plenty happens that makes no sense. That in itself isn't a major problem, it's just that it isn't entertaining, funny or worthwhile along the way either. Therefore, it's pointless. Pointless and unsatisfying. Like prawn crackers.
The gang of humans (The Nightstalkers, what a 'cool' name) that tries to help Blade in his fight against the undead also manages to create a magic arrow that can wipe out vampires, including Dracula. I wonder if the vampires win and humanity is destroyed? What do you think, gentle reader?
Plot points, characters, ideas, random thoughts are picked up and discarded with little care. None of it matters to them, so why should it matter to us?
Dracula is a really crappy villain, especially in the manner in which he is portrayed more as a stupid Klingon than anything else. His actions make no sense at any time. One scene where he's being chased by Blade makes no sense. No sense at all, especially considering the way he needs to 'escape' Blade for the story not to fall over in a heap.
All of the acting is terrible, the story lacks any interesting hooks (the one idea with potential about the vampire Final Solution is forgotten as soon as it's brought up) the action is okay but there's no tension, no threat. There's no visceral or any other kinds of emotions that this flick raises. There's no fearful baddies, or scary sequences, or consistent tone. There's nothing really to justify even renting it on DVD, to be honest. When you consider the fact that writer / director David S. Goyer also wrote the script for The Crow: City of Angels, you must now grasp the complete wasteland of the intellect that the man is capable of.
During my many and varied ruminations and cogitations on what I would write about this review, I was actually thinking about saying that I thought it was better than the second Blade film, but not by much. The truth is I may have enjoyed it more, but it's probably worse. It stinks of amateurism and pointlessness, and will add nothing to your life or your repertoire should you not heed my warning and see it anyway. You have been warned, puny humans.
4 vampire Pomeranians out of 10
Hannibal King: We call ourselves the Nightstalkers.
Blade: Sounds like a reject from a Saturday morning cartoon.
Hannibal King: Well, we were going to go with the Carebears, but that was taken - Blade: Trinity