Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blade Trinity: extended version – review

dvd

Directed By: David S Goyer

Release Date: 2004

Contains spoilers

If you have already read my reviews of Blade and Blade 2 you’ll see that, in my opinion, they did the unusual by making the sequel better than the original. Unfortunately they didn’t continue the trend in this case and the film is the weakest of the trilogy. Perhaps this has much to do with del Toro passing up this film as he had the green light for Hellboy and Goyer (who wrote all three films) taking over the directional reins.

I first saw this at the cinema and left bitterly disappointed. When the DVD release was available with an extended version my hope re-ignited – but the extra footage didn’t help. If anything it just confused the ending – a point we’ll get to later.

The film starts with a voice over by Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) regarding Blade (Wesley Snipes) and then we see helicopters land in the Syrian Desert. The occupants of the helicopters are wearing protective clothing, shielding them from the sun - vampires. If that wasn’t obvious enough one gives the finger to the sun. They enter ruins, lift one slab and reveal stairs (how many archaeologists wish it was that easy!) Drake awakensIn the sub-basement of the ruins (for want of a better description) they detect a body. Cue armoured hand grabbing a vampire and devouring one of them and then a creature emerging. Here we have our main vampire players for the film. The creature is Drake (Dominic Purcell) and I’ll give more background on him later. The others are Danica Talos (Parker Posey), her brother Asher (Callum Keith Rennie) and Jarko Grimwood (wrestler, Triple H).

We see on TV an interview with forensic psychiatrist Dr Edgar Vance (John Michael Higgins) and chief of police Martin Vreede (Mark Berry). They are asked about vampires and dismiss the notion – Vance says that vampires are nothing more than repositories of our most taboo thoughts (I liked that). When asked about Blade they say he is a troubled individual.

Cut to Blade fighting vamps and a car chase. Cutting a long story short Blade stakes the last one and he does not dust. Wesley Snipes as BladeHe is a familiar with fake fangs. The whole thing is a set up, with Danica filming the murder. Blade is to be public enemy number one. It all seemed a little too elaborate. We have already been told in the first film that they control the police, in this film (later) we discover that both Vance and Vreede are familiars. Such a move could have been made at any time without the need for such an elaborate scheme.

the UV arc in actionCut to a train station and a group of vampire kids (one of whom is wearing a Lost Boys T-Shirt) are looking for a meal. They select a woman with a baby in a papoose. They go for her but it is a set-up. The baby is a doll which sprays garlic and the woman is actually Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), Whistler’s daughter from out of wedlock. We see one of the new weapons in the film, a UV arc – essentially a laser saw and a bit over the top, even for a comic book movie.

Jessica Biel as Abigail WhistlerThe FBI raid Blade’s hideout, subsequently killing Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and capturing Blade. He is drugged and about to be delivered, via Vance, to the vampires when he is rescued by Abigail and Hannibal King. They take him to their hideout and explain that they are the Nightstalkers, a cell of vampire slayers.

the bloodfarmWhat we have then are two final solutions. The vampires’ final solution is creating blood farms – I wonder how long it took them to come up with that (in fairness the prototype for them was a deleted scene from the first movie). The Nightstalkers’ final solution is a virus called Daystar, a virus that will kill all vampires. To be fully effective, however, they need Drake’s blood.

Dominic Purcell as DrakeOur new vampire lore comes mainly in the form of Drake. He is the first vampire and has been known as both Dagon and Dracula (!) He is a daywalker (hence him being found by the vampires as they think he can help them become the same) and a shapeshifter. During the film he takes the form of Vance and Whistler. He is also a warrior obsessed with honour – so why shapeshift? Isn’t that a dishonourable way to approach your enemies?

a vampire PomeranianIn his true, demonic, form he has a mouth much like the reapers from the second film. We also get some vampire dogs (the vampires have been experimenting with cross-species infection) including a vampire Pomeranian (!), these also have reaper mouths.

The film falls flat in many areas, the first is in the direction. Like the others this is mainly an action movie but Goyer relies on fast cuts – annoying and telling at the same time. The pacing of the film seems off compared to the other two. This was only the second film that Goyer had directed and it really shows, perhaps even more because he tried to follow one of the world’s great directors (i.e. del Toro).

The next problem is a specific scene when Abigail remembers a talk by her father, giving his background and trying to persuade her not to be a vampire hunter. The footage is lifted straight from Blade, and Whistler giving his background to Karen Jensen, with just a little voiceover added at the end - that was just lazy.

Parker Posey as Danica TalosThe casting and acting is also problematic. Kris Kristofferson must be on screen for five minutes maximum. Wesley Snipes appears bored and disinterested, having only one brilliant line when he catches a baby thrown by Drake and says Koochie-Koo. It is difficult to take Parker Posey seriously given the trouble she seems to have speaking with fangs in. Callum Keith Rennie has a huge amount of on screen presence and, typically, his character is given bugger all to do.

Triple H as Jarko GrimwoodTriple H is okay as vampire heavy Jarko. There is a fight with him and King that is essentially wrestling and, as King gets a submission hold on him and breaks his wrist, I remember thinking it would have been fun if he’d ‘tapped out’.

Nice bite scenePurcell is also okay as Drake, though I never got the feeling of ultimate evil. There is a nice scene when he goes into a Dracula merchandise store and dislikes what he sees, including Dracula vibrators, Dracula cola and Count Chocula cereal. This leads to a nicely done bite sequence on the shop girl.

Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal KingFinally we have Ryan Reynolds as King. Despite coming off as a bit of a Jason Lee rip-off, his is a great performance and character. The unfortunate thing is that they never really gave him an efficient foil for his humour. We get a little background on King, he has a House tattoo and was a vampire who was cured. It would have been nice to get some more background as he was, by far, the most interesting character.

Another problem I had with the film was blatant product placement. Half the time I felt like I was watching an i-pod advert.

The extended version really adds very little to the film and confuses the ending. The DVD actually has three epilogue endings. The theatrical release ending makes a lot more sense (given Drake’s final words) than that of the extended version. There is a deleted ending that has the Nightstalkers fighting werewolves in a casino – cueing up for a Nightstalker film or series, perhaps.

To me this is the weakest link in the Blade chain. It is below average, cynically pushing advertising and potential further films/series and even manages to drop an age rating. 3 out of 10 reflects that there is still action, if poorly directed, Reynolds performance and the occasional nice scene.

The imdb page is here.

14 comments:

phelpster said...

Yet another great review. Wish I had the same writing ability, then maybe I'd have more than 3 reviews on my site. I agree with this one, pretty weak movie, but I really like Ryan Reynolds. I think he has really great comic timing, he can be funny without saying a word even.

One thing that drove me crazy about this one was Jessica Biel and her damn iPod. Not so much because of the blatant product placement, it's a fine product and all, but why on Earth would you want to wear headphones while fighting several armed assailants who would be attacking from several different directions? Wouldn't that be kinda dangerous and distracting? It's a minor thing really, but it really annoyed me.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Phelpster.

The only real reason you'd actually wear one when fighting armed assailants is for product placement reasons because, as you say, it would be distracting and one feels that being able to hear your enemies would be useful!

deadpower1 said...

She could have been listening to the i-pod to show she's "bad ass". Like both of you said, you wouldn't be able to hear anyone coming up from behind you, BUT, she still killed most, if not, all of the vampires she encountered. It's kinda (KINDA!!!) the same thing as Blade's glasses, there is no real purpose, and he is always fighting in the dark, so it would be harder to see when fighting, making him more bad ass, and he does look good in them(WOW!!! Run-on sentence!)So, I hope you see where i was going with that.

Anonymous said...

I,really like Blade Trinity!In fact it is my favorite movie,along with Resident evil:Extinction.The actors are great.Big people like Wesley Snipes,Kriss Kristofersson and Dominic Purcell just cant play in bad movie!And what do you mean about this that Parker Posey cant be taken seriously?She may be not so famous like other but this cant chanje the fact that she is very good actress and Danica is the sexyest "women" that has ever played in a film! So,in my opinion Blade Trinity is VERY GOOD MOVIE !

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Deadpower1

I can see where you are going with that, unfortunaely it still feels like product placement to me - after all Blade is half vampire, he can get away with shades as (one assumes) his eye sight is that much better and designed for night vision, whereas Abigail is human and must rely on her mortal senses. Plus,as you say, he looks damn good in them).

It might have been a device to show her bad-assness (wow, just invented a word) but if it was it was clumsy. Plus the scene with her loading tunes was so much product placement it was untrue.

All that said, many thanks for the comment and please explore the blog.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Anonymous - re Possie Parker. I feel that you cannot take any actor or actress seriously in a vampire movie if they can't speak properly with fangs in - it blows the whole escapist feel to it.

Parker may well be a good actress but she had trouble with the fangs and that was glaring. Not her fault, some actors can do it some can't.

moonface said...

Taliesin, Taliesin,
I am bitterly disappointed.
You have not even mentioned the single BEST thing about Blade Trinity.

Ryan Reynolds with his shirt off.

Please do not make such an atrocious error again.

:-)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

lol Moonface, I apologise... such a sight did nothing to ring my bell, I must admit, but it has been mentioned now by your good self

moonface said...

I am sure it would have been a different story if it had been,say, Monica Belucci with her top off.

Hmmph. (That is an indignant snort, by the way)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Monica, Salma, I think that goes without saying... (as anyone who has looked at the from dusk till dawn review and realised just how mad I went with Salma screenshots will testify to!)

However... whilst I am sure I would have enjoyed the sight, the picture content is designed to be safe for work (if a little gory) and so nary a nipple appears (bar one DVD cover that has a full amount of nudity, but it is the cover)

The T said...

I was ready to enjoy this movie but then they did commit a crime: use the name of the great vampire of them all and cast a whateverish short muscular guy with no character as... the great evil one that has lived for centuries? I liked "drake" when he was in armor and in monster form. Thatw as okay. But when the melrose place-like guy appeared to don the name... the movie died for me. Not even the best movie ever would've received more than 2 over 10 with me if Dracula was played this way. Only the Dracula in Adamson' s masterfully-atrocious Dracula vs Frankenstein could best this guy as the worst Dracula ever.

LoBo said...

Taliesin_ttlg,

I agree with you. I think this film was very poor. I only saw this film once. Blade and Blade 2 are very good in my opinion.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I also rather enjoyed Blade the Series, more than this at any rate

LoBo said...

I haven't watched the series. Wesley Snipes doesn't play Blade, so i don't think i will watch it.