Published Dec 01, 2002With the success of Blade, the recent success of X-men and the impending doom for its box office competition that is Spider Man (all Marvel Comics adaptations no less), it seems movies based on comic books (some popular, some not so much) are once again in vogue. However, this isn't necessarily a good thing, one only has to look at the initial success of Batman and how that led to some horrendous sequels (most notably Batman and Robin) and some incredibly bad adaptations (The Punisher, Captain America) to see the follies that can easily transpire. And it hasn't been since Batman and Batman Returns that there have been two good comic-based movies in an ongoing series, until now.
While the originally Blade, featuring Wesley Snipes as a half-human, half-vampire samurai avenger, took everyone by surprise with its mix of marital arts, crisp looks, vampire horror, relentless pacing and Stephen Dorff's dramatic pauses, bigger and better is expected from the sequel, and unlike many sequels of this ilk, it delivers. Switching directors from Steve Norrington to Guillermo Del Toro, Blade 2 is slicker, more violent, grandiose and relentless than its predecessor. Not wasting time with back story or explanations, besides the occasionally fleeting flashback, Blade 2 operates under the assumption that the viewer has seen the original Blade. Blade (once again played by Snipes) is back, continuing on his crusade to rid the world of all vampires that aren't him, unfortunately there seems to have evolved an even bigger and badder strain of vampires, dubbed Reapers, that feed on vampires and humans alike and multiply at an alarming rate. More terrified by the Reapers than they are of Blade, or his weapon-inventing sidekicks (Kris Kristofferson inexplicably returns as Whistler), the vampires offer Blade a truce to team up and destroy this new threat. Of course Blade accepts, even though the vampires will screw him over the first chance they get, and teams up with an elite pack of vampires (the Blood Pack) to hunt the Reaper's leader Nomak, the key to the Reaper virus, through sewers and techno clubs. Obviously nothing is what it seems, either with Blade, the vampires or the Reapers and numerous betrayals, mysteries and seriously kick-ass fight scenes unfolds.
While Blade 2's offers little that is new in terms of plot (sliding into Aliens territory at times), its fight scenes are often quite stunning and inspired and its dark, foreboding look and Reaper effects (the lower mouths split open while they feed, looking quite like the creatures from Pitch Black) are great. However, its use of CGI-enhanced fighting in an attempt to innovate in the way The Matrix did with "bullet time" simply doesn't blend with the actual fight scenes. However a more developed Blade (less wooden, more cocky), more gore, actual suspense and more fight scenes make Blade 2 a worthy successor, although the vampire obsession with techno music and hip fashion escapes me.