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BLADE: TRINITY
U.S. Release Date: December 8, 2004
Distributor: New Line
Writer: David S. Goyer
Producer: Avi Arad (executive), Kevin Feige, David S. Goyer, Stan Lee (executive)
Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey
Running Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes
MPAA Rating: R (strong pervasive violence and language, and some sexual content)

A Pale Finale
by C.A. Wolski

What promised to be a slam-dunk finale for the Blade franchise, Blade: Trinity has all the elements horror fans could hope for in a genre flick, but none of the bite.

Following a grisly prologue involving the unearthing of a slumbering Dracula, Blade gets rolling with a frenetic, and fairly effective, car chase through the streets of a seedy generic metropolis, USA, with vampire killer Blade (Wesley Snipes, back for a third stab at the role) and mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) taking out vampires with an array of gadgetry that would make James Bond envious. The chase ends with Blade being framed for murder and on the run from the law.

Eventually he teams up with Whistler's daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel) and her band of Nightstalkers (Ryan Reynolds, Cascy Beddow, Paul Anthony, and Natasha Lyonne). In the meantime, the local vampire cabal, led by Parker Posey, puts its nefarious plan into action, leading to the inevitable showdown between Blade and Dracula, played by Dominic Purcell as a force of nature and not a suave Transylvanian.

Though Blade has a lot going for it—terrific stunt choreography, a twist on the Dracula legend, and a couple of good performances—the story is pretty pedestrian with the vampires defeated by convenience. But Blade's biggest flaw is Snipes' performance, which has none of the tortured angst of the original. After all, Blade himself is a half vampire out to destroy his own kind cure what he regards as an infection. Nor do we ever really have a sense of danger. Writer and director David S. Goyer has taken all the darkness out of Blade, turning him into a one-dimensional cartoon, though there is one great scene with Snipes dressing the Nightstalkers down for taking vampire killing as a lighthearted endeavor. For the most part, Blade walks around, kills oodles of vampires effortlessly, and spouts fortune cookie lines.

The picture's real star, and most interesting character, is Ryan Reynold's Hannibal King, an ex-vampire familiar cum killer, who, though a smartass, has an intensity that transcends both the movie and the genre. In a scene near the end, while he's being tortured by vampires, he plays it light—usually annoying in an action picture—but it works because we can see that underlying his aplomb Reynolds knows King is in big trouble. The other surprise is wrestler Triple H's turn as a metallic toothed vampire. He's no great thespian, but he could have a career as a heavy or sidekick.

Goyer introduces and quickly dispenses with a few interesting ideas—a Final Solution for humanity, Dracula's ability to function in daylight, like Blade, and the global vampire conspiracy.

Plot and acting are not the reasons to see Blade: Trinity; it's the fights. For that alone, the movie is worth it. The climactic battle between Blade and Dracula is pretty standard stuff, but executed so expertly and, in Snipes' case, confidently, that you can almost forgive all the nonsense about world conquest and vampire conspiracies. Though not a classic, Blade: Trinity does deliver action and enough horror-filled violence to warm the cockles of even the most jaded horror-film junkie.


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