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BLADE 2,2002
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BLADE II,  MOVIE POSTERBLADE II, 2002
Movie Reviews

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ron Pearlman, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matt Schulze, Donnie Yen
Review by Andrew Kosarko


SYNOPSIS:

In Guillermo del Toro's Blade 2, Wesley Snipes reprises his role as the part-human, part-vampire superhero based on the comic book character. Following a trail of blood that leads to Prague, Blade (aka the Daywalker) slays a legion of bloodsuckers in the search for his abducted mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Soon Blade reluctantly joins forces with a band of skilled vampiric warriors called the Bloodpack to hunt down an even deadlier enemy--the monstrous Reapers, who prey on vampires and humans alike, infecting them with an incurable virus. In addition to battling these relentless new foes, Blade must deal with situations brought about by the Bloodpack's tenuous alliance --in particular, his attraction to the lovely Nyssa (Leonor Varela) and his rivalry with the brutish Reinhardt (Ron Perlman).

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REVIEW:

If I asked you what the first film of the superhero boom was Ė youíd most likely say Spider-man. Youíd be wrong. If I asked you to name the first Superhero film to have the hero team up with the villain Ė most people would think of X-Men 2: X-men united. They would be wrong again. The Blade franchise was on the front lines of many of the superhero films of the decade. Did they always hit the mark? Not necessarily. But they did show other film makers what was working and what wasnít. This film, in my opinion, is really stellar. It doesnít take the normal ďeverything goes to hellĒ sequel story. Instead, Blade must fight a different enemy alongside a common one. What works here is that the film makers understand the characters and their emotional spine. Both sides are looking to, as Blade puts it, ďfuck the other one over the first chance they get.Ē And thatís what makes for the great moments in the film. The tension of when it will happen and who will do it. It also opens the door from some great comedic moments that donít break the tone of the established world.

The Story: Is downright creepy. The new ďReapersĒ are some challenging monsters and a step up from Deacon Frost and his sunscreen and boned bats. However, the same plus of the film is also itís negative. The inevitable betrayal. Thereís a notion in television to always have some kind of sexual tension between two characters. That tension is held as long as it can because once they get together, the intrigue is all lost. And thatís what happens here, the double betrayal works to a slight extent. One you see coming, and it still works and the other that you donít see coming and still works. However the implications of both betrayals sling shot us right back to scenario numero uno of the first film. Blade and Whistler VS regular vampires. Itís the same stakes and thatís where the film falls a bit short.

Acting: Snipes and Pearlman steal the show. Their battle of egos is really what makes for some of the great moments of the film. Luke Goss, while is very creepy and delivers a solid performance, doesnít do enough to make himself come off as a match for Blade Ė which is something that amidst the weird plot turns of the first film, Deacon Frost was able to accomplish.

Directing: Itís del Toro. You should know youíre getting into an outlandish and ghoulish adventure story. But it works for these characters and this world. Heís a great story teller and delivers a solid film up until the script fails him at the end.

Cinematography: Fantastic. This is one of those hybrids that I love as an audience member. Itís dark, gritty, and yet covered in neon colors and lights. Itís so visually interesting that you never get bothered by it. This is the kind of look I wish we had gotten with Batman Forever/& Robin if Schumacher wanted neon in the film so bad. This is how you balance comic bookism with realism.

Production Design:Again, matches the cinematography with itís interesting visceral style. There really is a great contrast and look to it all.

Editing: I love the editing. Thereís so much passion and speed to it, but you can tell a lot of effort was put into it to make the emotions rise to the forefront of your attention. In an otherwise plot based film, the editing and pace really draws you into the characters. Itís almost unexplainable.

Score: Same techno-score mix we got last time, but again Ė thatís the original style that we got from the first Blade. While it doesnít improve from the first film, it doesnít hurt it either. Itís just more of the same, but new. So it still works just fine.

Special Effects: The CGI is still garbage at times but I can live with it. The prosthetics howeverÖman oh man does del Toro know how to get the right people in that department. The reapers pre-CGIíd are gruesome and intimidating. Iím glad they had at least some production design going into them to base them slightly more realistic than the zombies of I Am Legend.

In closing: Blade II is a giant step forward in comic book films. The ending doesnít do much to further Bladeís character arc in the franchise, but it does deliver on some levels. This film really does show the ďbigger and betterĒ aspects of a sequel. Iím glad that for 95% of the film we have an original story with great character dynamics. Itís sad that it ends back at square one, but I guess thatís how you maintain a franchise instead of leading one towards itís emotional ending.

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