Blade 2: March 22, 2002
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro Writing credits (WGA): Marv Wolfman (character) & Gene Colan (character)
Cast: Wesley Snipes...Blade (Eric Brooks) / Kris Kristofferson .... Abraham Whistler / Norman Reedus .... Scud (Josh) / Leonor Varela .... Nyssa Damaskinos / Ron Perlman .... Reinhardt (Bloodpack leader) / Luke Goss .... Jared Nomak / Daz Crawford .... Lighthammer (Bloodpack) / Matt Schulze .... Chupa (Bloodpack) / Donnie Yen .... Snowman (Bloodpack) / Danny John-Jules .... Asad / Rey-Phillip Santos .... Red Eye/ Reaper / Pete Lee-Wilson .... Blood Bank Doctor / Thomas Kretschmann .... Overlord Eli Damaskinos
If you can count on nothing else, you know you're in for a a rock infused high energy noir ninja flick, when vampire hunter and prey join forces to meet the newest challenge from the underworld: the Reapers. Reapers are a vampire mutation that preys on living and undead alike and they're really, really thirsty..
Wesley Snipes returns as the dynamic vampire hunter and Kris Kristofferson as "Wheeler", his not-as-dead-as-we-thought sidekick and armorer. Kris got killed off in the last film, so they have to do some fancy talking to bring him back, but they squeak by with about as reasonable an explanation as Spock's return...and in taking care of that piece of business provide all the backstory that first time Blade watchers could need. While Wheeler was off being dead, Blade picked up a new mechanic to keep his 1960s Blade Musclecar in tune and his edges sharp. "Scud" the new kid on the block, is some form of euro-punk with a post soviet passion for taking abandoned tech junk and making cool toys out of it.
So this is the new future. Mining junk for gadgets.
But this is a sequel, so recycling is the order of the day. With Blade's abandoned industrial lair, trademark black car, coat, and outlook, he comes of as sort of a Batman/James Bond fusion, and possibly Blade/Snipes is the only character and actor that could make that work. Which, he does.
From the first bar of the opening score you can sense the Bond-like intent of the second Blade movie. The opening also makes a serious effort to work in enough back-story so newbies won't be left wondering what's going on, a good idea, though it slows things down a bit. Of course, slowing things down in this hypervelocity thriller merely means that the audience has a few seconds to let it all sink in...before the nosfaratu start some sinking in of their own.
The original Blade movie is flashbacked for us so we don't have to puzzle things out, and Blade does some voice over so folks can catch up as well. All the cool Blade toys; throwing blade, katana, body armor, cape, black muscle car and industrial hideout among them, are back as is Blade himself, a little older, a little more solid, a little more purposeful.
It's rare that a sequel lives up to the original movie, though the additional money a successful first film should generate makes me wonder why. Blade II should be held up to anyone who wants to make a sequel to prove that some things can get better, even if they started out good to begin with.
The music in Blade II keeps the energy level high and sucking the audience in with every beat. The title track has the feel of a good superhero or spy flick title, the incidental music isn't incidental at all, and for the first time in my life in or out of a theater...the rap used in the movie really grabbed me. It works well with the scenes it's used in, the lyrics are smart and angry rather than merely abusive and angry, and like everything else in the film, kicks things up.
Ironically, the fantasy elements of Blades world make it easier for us to deal with, allowing the characters to bounce, roll, jump, dissolve, and pummel, stab, immolate, and otherwise ignore the laws of physics and physiology to make the most of the special effects they're offered. Kris Kristopherson and Scud stand in for the audience, Kris to feel our pain, Scud to evince our confusion, and both to champion our tool making monkey cleverness. Blade and his relatives may be stronger, faster and cooler than we are...but where would they all be without all those cool toys?
Guess who's coming to dinner? The Vampire empire has a head, an aged, blood bathing, ghoul played by Thomas Kretschmann, and though he may have wanted a son, he got a daughter...a full vampire blood (as opposed to the nouveau-undead of the recently converted) played by Leonor Varela and Blade, man of steel that he may be, can't help but being attracted to her. In fact, her vampire princess bit plays a whole lot better than the disbelieving Dr. character they paired him with last time.
I'm not sure why they brought Wheeler back. Not that there's anything wrong with his character, but on the other hand, there's not that much right with him. Kris is getting too damn old to play in an action thriller, and a sidekick upgrade is in order. Scud might be the man for the job...or might not. Snipes himself is showing a bit of aging, changing from lithe to solid, but he is still one of the most compelling heroes on the screen.
Blade II is a kick-ass action horror flick, with a lot of the grossness moderated by the fact that vampires turn quickly from gore to dust. I love the energy and the sound track and though Snipes is getting older, he's still the hottest action hero in the pack.