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Review by Dustin Putman
2 stars out of 4
The third and allegedly final chapter in the Marvel comic-adapted
series, "Blade: Trinity" corrects none of the mistakes made in 2002's
instantly forgettable "Blade II," all the while leaving the fond memory
made by 1998's superior original in the dust. Written and directed
by David S. Goyer (screenwriter, also, of the previous two), this
tepid horror-actioner is unscary and only sporadically diverting,
wasting millions of dollars on a glossy sheen, MTV-inspired quick
edits, and a derivative chain of events that, by this point, are prosaic.
When a clan of vampires, headed by sniveling ball-buster Danica Talos
(Parker Posey), unleash the long-festering Dracula (Dominic Purcell)
from his grave in an Iraqi tomb, the world is instantly threatened
with an untimely apocalypse. To distract half-vampire/half-human creature
hunter Blade (Wesley Snipes) from their plan, they fool him into killing
a human and getting arrested. What the vampires don't count on is
a jail breakout, orchestrated by Whistler's (Kris Kristofferson) vampire-kicking
daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel), and her partner, former bloodsucker
Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds). Now the fight is on, with Blade, Abigail,
and Hannibal King making up the title 'trinity' and, this time, with
a contained virus in hand powerful enough to rid the world of the
fanged population. Because vampire blood still runs through Blade,
however, he may end up sacrificing himself in the process.
As is too often the case with sequels, "Blade: Trinity" is an uninspired
traipse through material that has been rehashed with only one-quarter
of the stimulation the first film offered. By now, writer-director
David S. Goyer has run out of fresh ideas and a new angle for which
to use in telling his story, opting for a lot of situations that will
cause deja vu for even the most casual viewers of action pictures.
There is a lifelessness about "Blade: Trinity" that has nothing to
do with the undead villains and all to do with a lack of invention.
Even the action scenes—a high-octane car chase here, a three-way montage
of good-vs.-bad fighting there—are more plentiful in rapid-fire cuts
than bona fide excitement.
One of Goyer's most disastrous missteps is in forgetting to bring
threat to the proceedings. When Blade and Abigail go against the vampires,
they not only always win, but don't so much as receive a single blow.
Unlike Sarah Michelle Gellar's tough-as-nails character in "Buffy
the Vampire Slayer," who actually got scrapes and bruises and was,
indeed, a mortal human being, there is no risk or danger involved
in these protagonists' fates. The predictability of such does away
with the overall menace of the bad guys, who, in few cases, ever get
their way. When Dracula is finally allowed to successfully be a killer,
the film momentarily jerks to life and actual horror is brought to
the forefront. A deadly stop at a goth store concludes with a sleek,
effective shot reminiscent of the hardcore vampire movies of yesteryear,
while a scene in which the blind Sommerfield (Natasha Lyonne) becomes
trapped in the midst of an evil she can sense, but not see, is the
only moment that elicits r eal dread. Expertly set up, the camera
swinging slowly around Sommerfield and about to pounce a dastardly
surprise at any moment, if all of "Blade: Trinity" were as resourceful
to genre conventions as this three-minute section Goyer might have had something special.
Wesley Snipes, these days relying on the "Blade" franchise for much
of his income, looks cool in leather and sunglasses, but is boring.
He brings nothing new to the part of Blade—in fairness, the script
does him no favors—and understandably doesn't have his heart in the
project. Looking more happy to be there but no less vacant, a toned
Jessica Biel (2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") and a buff Ryan
Reynolds (2002's "National Lampoon's Van Wilder") enter the series
for the first time with zeal. Biel and Reynolds look more than capable
as skilled vampire hunters, but haven't any characters to emote through.
They are blank slates, and any chance for depth is thrown out in favor
of profane one-liners, usually courtesy of Reynolds, and several typical
"getting-ready-to-fight" montages. Leading the forces of darkness
are Dominic Purcell (2000's "Mission: Impossible 2"), a physically
interesting, pumped-up version of what Dracula is usually portrayed
as, and Parker Posey (2004's "Laws of Attraction"), repeating her
humor-filled villainous role from 2001's "Josie and the Pussycats"
with just a little more sexuality and edge.
"Blade: Trinity" is harmless but shallow, cinematic junk food that
goes down with ease but has no nutritional value and will be forgotten
about almost immediately after devouring it. The picture is also curiously
indifferent and not exactly an example of tightly woven plotting.
To prove how sloppy "Blade: Trinity" is, a key character is kidnapped
by the vampires near the end, and is one the catalysts for the climactic
battle taking place. By the time the fighting subsides, this person
in jeopardy has been forgotten about and is never mentioned again.
The main players are given terrible send-offs, as well, with Abigail
and Hannibal King badly missing character arcs, and Blade in virtually
the same place he was at the beginning. There is a suspect immobility—a
resistance to move forward—about "Blade: Trinity" that even the quick
pacing cannot disguise. It is just as well. Blade and the world he
resides in would have been best to end after he defeated the fabulously
wi cked Stephen Dorff in the 1998 precursor. Since then, he and the
series have been treading on the red stuff.
Copyright © 2004 Dustin Putman