Genre fans are firmly divided over which of the first two “Blade” movies they prefer. Some like Stephen Norrington’s “Blade”, a gothic thriller which blended action and a serious tone with heavy mythology and an intriguing look at how vampirism works in present day society. Others prefer Guillermo Del Toro’s more visually interesting but slightly dumbed down “Blade II” which dumped the exposition in favour of a more hardcore and dark monster movie popcorn flick.
Each has their own merits and their own supporters (as much as I enjoy the second, I definitely prefer the first myself), but all will probably concede that “Blade: Trinity” is the weakest of the trilogy. Avoiding mythology or horror, this one is much more of a straight forward action feature that relies on laughs and fights more than anything else – including a story.
Goyer, who wrote a superb script for the upcoming “Batman Begins”, sadly seems to have lost interest in the “Blade” franchise from a writing perspective. Instead of capping off the trilogy, ‘Trinity’ serves as a vehicle trying to set-up a spin-off franchise more than anything else and in the end yields little satisfaction. The script serves merely to setup fight scenes and whilst the “Blade” movies aren’t known for their great stories, the previous ones at least had decent narratives that worked toward a strong threat. Here, the plans never truly build toward anything.
There’s also the rather bold attempt to come up with a suitable villain which in this case is Dracula. That character is a hard one to portray at the best of times, here though he’s merely a very gruff looking guy (played by Aussie Dominic Purcell) who’d look more at home in a nightclub spiking girls drinks than actually being the source of all evil. His true form on the other hand is a bad “Alien” rip-off that’s for some reason a bright hot pink.
This lack of a villain with any real bite leaves us with various dull vampire goons whose only real highlight is Parker Posey. The indie film actress plays her part more like a spoiled heiress than anything else – she does it purely for laughs and it proves one of the few real pieces of entertainment the film has. The humour is actually pretty good throughout, most coming from a super-buff schtick-delivering Ryan Reynolds whom we see during one torture scene is bulging in all the right places.
Wesley Snipes does his usual great job as Blade himself. Never breaking the veneer, Snipes has proven at least very consistent as the icy cold reluctant hero and stands way above his brethren including Kristofferson who seems barely alive or interested, and Biel who does a vaguely decent Linda Hamilton rip-off. Smaller roles from Triple H and the likes of Natasha Lyonne are fine for what they are.
Goyer’s second time out directing is ok, but relies far too much on quick MTV style cuts and loud music to get young people’s attention more than anything else. The pacing is erratic, swapping between quick bursts of fast action and interesting exposition that gradually repeats over and over that it all blurs and becomes essentially pointless.
Blade kills some vamps including one big bad guy, his new young sidekicks have a few laughs, and there’s the odd gruesome effect – that’s about it. For one of the more offbeat of comic book franchises, this one has ended with not a roar, but a silent cry into the night.