Written and Directed by David Goyer
The lineage of the current rush of superhero films can be directly traced all the way back to 1998 when Marvel rolled out its action packed vampire film franchise, Blade. Blade was box office gold and reinvented Wesley Snipes as a no-nonsense renegade action hero with attitude. Four years later Blade II added a European flavor and spruced up special effects to the series and took the character in a completely different direction.
At some point, every franchise worth it’s weight needs an added something to reshape it and help entice both die-hard fans and new audiences alike. Writer/Director David Goyer knew this when he embarked on making Blade Trinity. He reached into his bag of tricks (and the actual comics) and gave the series a much needed third wind by adding the snide Ryan Reynolds and the sleek, Jessica Biel.
Although Wesley Snipes has proven that he has the chops for action films, his turn as Blade needed greater dimension to get him over. Thus, because Marvel, Goyer and the fans wanted something fresh to sink their teeth into and keep the series off of life support the writers got smart and did two things; they placed Snipes in an ensemble where he could still do his thing while allowing his character to grow, taking Blade’s vampire hunting out of the caverns and into the streets.
Blade Trinity begins with a team of vampires, led by the ruthless Danica Talos (Parker Posey), venturing into the Syrian dessert to unearth their long lost leader, Dracula whom they believe will end the war with the humans and rid themselves of Blade once and for all. They take him Dracula (now called Drake) back to Los Angeles to prepare themselves for the apocalypse of all mankind.
These vampires are not just fangs and folklore. They are a nasty bunch that has gotten with the times and networked. Together with their human minions they launch a brutal public relations smear campaign against Blade, taking advantage of his aggressiveness and setting him up by causing him to inadvertently kill a human. This backs Blade into a nasty corner with seemingly no way out. Besides his ongoing battle the vampires with whom Blade tussles, he also finds himself up against his mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), the FBI, and an unruly public that sees him as nothing more than a reckless vigilante. These events force Blade to confront who he is and make changes in how he does his job.
Things seem bleak after Blade’s lair is compromised and he is taken into custody, drugged, interrogated and cross-examined by the Feds. Help arrives when the mysterious Night Stalkers stage a daring rescue mission and free their iconic role model. Blade joins forces with the Night Stalkers, a united militia group waging their own war against the vampires. They’re led by the wise cracking ex-vampire Hannibal King (Reynolds) who never wants to home again and Abigail Whistler (Biel) a sexy and strong archer with her own agenda. More importantly, Hannibal and Abigail serve as the synergists for Blade’s personal conflict and change. The Night Stalkers (likely to have their own spinoff film series) have developed a mutated virus that, with Blade’s help, can end the vampire menace and save humanity. Also a Day Walker, Drake is a bad guy who has been bleeding mankind dry for centuries. As the Prince of Darkness immerses himself in his new surroundings he learns all that he can about his arch rival, Blade. Ironically, sleeping for centuries has made Drake unaware of the pop culture status of vampires highlighted with great hilarity when he bleeds the employees of a Hot Topic-ish store dry.
The drama rises to a bloody crescendo when Talos and her posse get it on in true comic book style with the Night Stalkers in an elaborate spectacle of martial arts, skillful swordplay and fast fisticuffs that feature Snipes at the top of his game while mercifully bearing no resemblance to the overused Matrix-style fight scenes currently overused in action films.
Making a vampire movie these days is hard work. Filmmakers have to deal with all of the established lore, traditions and preconceptions of the genre. Studios are making more vampire-themed franchises these days, (Underworld, Van Helsing) raising the stakes of winning over and maintaining both a new and a core audience. These headaches increase when adapting an established comic book character for the silver screen. Fortunately Goyer and Snipes have avoided these pratfalls with the Blade films. Blade Trinity, although spotty on character and plotting, delivers a feast of hip-hop and techno fueled bloodletting that is skillfully augmented by Reynolds’ sardonic comedy and Biel’s sex appeal. This results in the season’s grittiest adventure film that goes all out pulls out all to deliver in a big way.