STARRING: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell

2004, 105 Minutes, Directed by:
David S. Goyer

Blade Trinity, the third movie based on the Marvel Comics character, is a fun crowd-pleaser that will thrill action/vampire movie buffs. Look a little closer and you’ll find that this movie – written and directed by David Goyer (who wrote the first two movies) – may disappoint hardcore fans of either the first two films or the comic itself with inconsistencies galore. But there’s enough happening on the screen to make you forget about nagging details and just enjoy the ride.

Wesley Snipes returns as Blade, a hybrid vampire who’s made it his life’s work to hunt down vampires. The vampires have a major hate-on for Blade because he hunts them and, unlike true-blue (true-red?) bloodsuckers, Blade can exist in daylight – hence his nickname, the Daywalker. Blade Trinity opens with an interesting premise – the vampires set Blade up for murder when he accidentally kills a human instead. This gets the FBI on his case while the vampires busily seek to revive an ancient vampire – the very first vampire known as the Queen of the Damned. Oops, wrong movie. The first vampire of lore is none other than Dracula but you can call him Drake for short.

Injecting fresh blood into the movie franchise are two new sidekicks for Blade. Forget about old Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), the Yoda-like sage and weapons master from the first two movies. We now have eye candy in the forms of Jessica Biel (7th Heaven) as Abigail Whistler and Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder) as Hannibal King. Having two humans as fellow vampire-hunters obviously forced a major change to the Blade storyline. In the first two movies, vampires were super-human and could move with incredible speed practically undetectable to the human eye. Suddenly by Trinity, the vampire nation has dumbed down and slowed down so that Abigail and Hannibal have a fighting chance to show off their own martial arts moves.

"See it, but don’t think too hard or else you’ll fart garlic . . ."

The other interesting shift in character development is that Blade forgoes his droll Schwarzenegger-like lines. Instead, Canadian actor Reynolds, who was previously known as a comedian, gets to steal the movie as the comic foil with his smart-mouth frat boy lines. Reynolds’ verbal sparring with his old vampire-flame, Danica, played to icy bitch perfection by Parker Posey, has an almost Jim Carrey-like snap. By the time he warns that he can “fart garlic” you’re laughing almost hard enough to forgive Goyer and New Line for all the product placements. Almost.

Biel, who was the only bright spot in the otherwise mediocre remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is disappointingly under-used in this movie. She has few lines and, to appeal to the gamer crowd, fights her vampires with her iPod headphones firmly plugged into ears - heaven forbid she needs to hear any vampires sneaking up on her. She also has a blatantly exploitative shower scene in the world’s largest shower stall. There’s equal time for Reynolds who gets chained to a floor shirtless to show off his newly buff body and a tattoo just at the top of his pubes.

The weakest link in the movie is Dracula himself. Aussie actor Dominic Purcell sounds like and is built like a WWF wrestler – he simply lacks the presence to convince us that he was the very first vampire king. The elite Eurotrash vampires (headed by German cult actor, Udo Kier) from the first movie, and the vampire sovereign from the second movie (again led by a German actor – this time, Thomas Kretschmann) had regal airs because they were supposed to be old decadent families with long lineages (double-check with any Anne Rice book). How disappointing then that the villain in Blade Trinity is the vampire equivalent of the Hulk.

Blade Trinity is also screenwriter, Goyer’s, second directing project. Goyer should have worked on a re-write and left directing duties to more experienced hands. Trinity is not as polished as the first two movies. The eye-popping martial arts choreography from the first two movies is missing along with the choreographer, Jeff Ward. For Trinity, there’s a deliberate shift to more of a bar brawl fighting instead of the fly-by-wire stuff.

Since Blade first hit the theatres in 1998, more and more comic book characters have made the move to the big screen. The standard for these kinds of movies keeps getting raised, as Spider-man 2 demonstrated this year. Blade Trinity is fun, but comparisons to its two prequels and other comic book-based movies are unavoidable. Though the addition of two young characters is welcome, the plot holes and discrepancies remind us of how good the first two directors were and that perhaps Goyer was preoccupied writing his other project, Batman Begins.

See it, but don’t think too hard or else you’ll fart garlic.

- Harrison Cheung


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