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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2002!
BLADE II, 2002
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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If I asked you what the first film of the superhero boom was – you’d most likely say Spider-man. You’d be wrong. If I asked you to name the first Superhero film to have the hero team up with the villain – 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 wasn’t. This film, in my opinion, is really stellar. It doesn’t take the normal “everything goes to hell” 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, “fuck the other one over the first chance they get.” And that’s 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 don’t break the tone of the established world.
The Story: Is downright creepy. The new “Reapers” 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 it’s negative. The inevitable betrayal. There’s 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 that’s what happens here, the double betrayal works to a slight extent. One you see coming, and it still works and the other that you don’t 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. It’s the same stakes and that’s where the film falls a bit short.
Directing: It’s del Toro. You should know you’re getting into an outlandish and ghoulish adventure story. But it works for these characters and this world. He’s 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. It’s dark, gritty, and yet covered in neon colors and lights. It’s 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 it’s interesting visceral style. There really is a great contrast and look to it all.
Editing: I love the editing. There’s 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. It’s almost unexplainable.
Score: Same techno-score mix we got last time, but again – that’s the original style that we got from the first Blade. While it doesn’t improve from the first film, it doesn’t hurt it either. It’s 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 however…man oh man does del Toro know how to get the right people in that department. The reapers pre-CGI’d are gruesome and intimidating. I’m 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 doesn’t do much to further Blade’s character arc in the franchise, but it does deliver on some levels. This film really does show the “bigger and better” aspects of a sequel. I’m glad that for 95% of the film we have an original story with great character dynamics. It’s sad that it ends back at square one, but I guess that’s how you maintain a franchise instead of leading one towards it’s emotional ending.