With the first BLADE, I was conflicted… the film was cool, but deeply flawed. However, that film held the base magic necessary to do comic-adaptations, which was to take the material seriously and with a degree of weight. The film had many classic cool moments, but ultimately failed due to not having any balance. Blade and Whistler were cool, but no other character in the film was. The result was a very uneven film.
Then came BLADE II. Now – I’m rather infamous for my BLADE II review, where I compared a bit of pacing through the house of pain to a great practitioner in cunnilingus. I entered into that realm due to the rather ribald humor that Guillermo himself unleashed that night at the screening, the vagina mouthed Reapers and lastly there was the actual pacing of give and pull back of thrills that Guillermo unleashed masterfully in the HOUSE OF PAIN sequence. That aside – Blade worked – the pack that was meant to hunt him works – the key reaper worked – the romance worked – even that slightly annoying sidekick loser kinda worked. It was flawed mainly in that Blade never fully allowed himself to be a fully developed human being – but then – that could in fact be because he sees himself solely as a killer and hunter, and is not allowing himself to care about anyone due to what he believes his sole purpose to exist is. At least that’s one way to look at it.
Now it comes to BLADE: TRINITY – If I have to use a sexual metaphor to compare BLADE: TRINITY to, it would be this. It is as if you decided to live out a fantasy and you hired a dominatrix to tie you up. She comes in covered head to toe in latex. You’re bound firmly. Once helpless and anticipating great pleasure… You see her remove her hood and in place of what you had hoped you see the most hideous creature known to mankind. It smiles at you with a maw filled with chipped broken cavity ridden teeth and pus-y gums. It goes down on you dragging these sharp jagged teeth across the sensitive skin of your horrified organ. Cutting your flesh, infecting you with it’s terribleness… from time to time the tongue gives a second or two of pleasure, but the ill-formed briar patch mouth causes mostly winces and agony, as you’re constantly reminded of the fact… you paid for this shit. FUCK!
Ok… so there’s pus-y infection, jagged teeth cutting into you and just general displeasure at the physical form – as well as the raspy hacking coughing voice. What does that translate to in terms of cinematic story-telling?
1) The Raspy Hacking Coughing Voice: Rather than try anything dramatic with score for this film, they instead decide to overpower every scene with what may very well be cool pounding dance club music – but it renders whole sequences laughably bad. For example – when Ryan & Jessica & Blade are escaping the police station – and we get the introduction of some hip hop duuude in a rundown vehicle bumping into a cop car with ridiculously stereotypical Hip Hop – that is tonally so far out of left field. And the escape so completely half-assed, that I found myself HATING being in the theater. This became further enhanced by Jessica Biel’s character having an iPod that she downloads music to kill by. One, not only is her choice in obnoxiously overpowering thump thump bullshit, but also just the concept that you have a character that goes off into hand to hand combat – taking her ears TOTALLY out of the equation. Yet this character is constantly hitting characters that come up behind her… I suppose psychically detecting them, though that is never mentioned. Any martial artist that takes their ears out of the equation would be retarded. I can’t help but think of James Caan in the original and only ROLLERBALL, “EARS… They’re real important!” The amount of time dedicated to her character creating and using the features of her iPod really does feel ludicrous… I’m focusing on it, because it is the visualization of a crass soundtrack that keeps the audience from ever really emotionally connecting… instead making the film feel more like MORTAL KOMBAT.
2) The Jagged Teeth Cutting Into Your Privates: All the vampire characters. These are just fucking awful. They became self-parody of the prior films vampires. As Goyer has envisioned the vampires of this universe – they are ridiculous Euro-trash-like fops. Then – the concept of basically having a film that takes a steaming dump on ALL PREVIOUS incarnations of Dracula in favor of a fucking stiff necked jar headed domesticated wannabe Fabio with a crew cut Dracula… well that cuts. I mean, the premise of bringing Dracula back… specifically a Euro Trash version… well fuck, go for it then. Cast Udo Kier and have him reprise his Warholian classic role. Oh sure – there’s the action aspect… he’s basically a white Blade that transforms into a Final Fantasy version of the She-Creature. But it just sucks. Then there’s Parker Posey and the vaunted TRIPLE H characters and it just doesn’t work at all. For one, all of their contacts are distractingly bad. Two – their vampire teeth are too big giving one the impression that they’ve got oversize plastic dime store jobs they’re trying to do dialogue through. The big problem is that nearly all the vampire stuff is being played for jokes. Villains that are essentially, “..And we would have gotten away with it too, if not for that pesky Blade and you Kids!” Just terrible.
3) The PUS-Y Infection – was essentially the lack of real character work for Jessica Biel, Patton Oswalt and Natasha Lyonne. There’s just nothing there for them. Sure Jessica looks hot – but my god, a very emotional event occurs for her and there’s just nothing there in the material for her to do anything with. She’s essentially just a cut scene character. Which is so unfair, cuz she is a better actress than that. With Patton Oswalt, you have one of the funniest fuckers around, utterly abandoned as a performer… given next to no time to really cut loose – of course this isn’t his film, and shouldn’t be – but how they deal with the character really short changes what could have been a really fun character. Lastly Natasha Lyonne is seemingly bored as hell in this film. You watch her perform in something like NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE, you realize how wonderful she can be… But here, she’s supposed to be playing a blind mother with child – that is apparently some genetic biochemist type that hates vampires enough to create a terrible biological weapon for the purpose of worldwide genocide. Why? What’s her history? What’s the cause of her blindness? Where’s the father? This film isn’t interested in any real character work… and what we’re left with are flat characters that have traits that don’t add up. It really is a travesty to see talent at this level so utterly abandoned by material.
Ok – I mentioned moments of pleasure via…
THE TONGUE: The only pleasure of this film comes down to mainly the character played by Ryan Reynolds. He’s the only character that seems vaguely alive. He’s funny, has a history and a sense of place in the story. There’s charisma, timing and most importantly it seems as though Goyer gave the film to Ryan as a present. And Ryan is very good at not only accepting the material, but elevating it to being genuinely enjoyable. Other than that… it really comes down to Wesley Snipes. Wesley is a tough cookie with Blade, because he tends to not really take chances with his character – preferring the hardline stoic placement of the character. He has one point in the film where the character just strips down all the clowns he’s surrounded by, and I could sense genuine disdain for these other characters. That they really are a Saturday Morning Cartoon assembly. The problem is, it is dead on true. Everyone around him is a fucking joke, and by osmosis you could feel Blade being a bit of a joke. He has no great fight scene in the film, simply because the action is so chop-chop in terms of quick cut, that you never pull back and see the fight, which is the best way to shoot Wesley – to show off his very real physical talents. Or at least as he exhibited in the first two films.
Ultimately – the main failure of the film lays in a muddled ridiculously bad script that completely renders Blade effectively insignificant – and left every other character with little to no purpose on screen. The actors in place are good actors – but the material is well beneath all of them… as is the design, choreography and surroundings. The lack of attention to detail felt troubling as aspects from the prior films that worked were reduced here to shallow jokes and tongue in cheek humor that more often than naught fell flat, unless delivered as a Blade one-liner or by Ryan Reynolds. In the end, I was left like my beginning metaphor thinking, “People are going to pay for this shit? Fuck!”
With this film falling into self-parody - I begin to worry a tad about Marvel Films. They can't allow their characters to fall prey to the 3rd film self-parody curse of the DC franchises. I'll be furious if they go this route with either X3 or SPIDER-MAN 3. Seeing Nick Cassavetes signed to IRON MAN and Columbus (who based on his scripts of comic book characters) on SUB-MARINER both tend to do straight narrative adaptations with particular attention given to making the characters connect. None of which was exhibited in this film. God, I hope FANTASTIC FOUR works... I'm liable to have a viscious fit if it sucks as bad as this film.