More incomprehensible mayhem as our ‘hero’ - the taciturn, unsmiling, shades sporting, kung-fu half-vampire, Blade (Wesley Snipes) - returns to kick more ass and shoot guns.
Good. But this time he teams up with the bad guys (who call themselves The Bloodpack, cos they too are vampires, see?) in order to defeat some other group of bad guys called The Reapers (vampires also. Bear with me). The Bloodpack want to take over the world, for whatever reason, and so Blade and pals go to battle, but not before Blade has been re-united with his old mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) who was killed at the end of the first movie. Except now he’s alive again. How? Oh, it doesn’t matter. Really.
So that’s the plot, but, of course, it is obviously just a thin frame to hang a long series of spectacular, hi-octane, unrelenting, gory set-pieces onto. That’s what the film is about, that’s why it’s here. Bang bang, fang fang. Six pounds please, Ithankyouverymuch.
Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro was responsible for last years (only) horror masterpiece, ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘, a masterfully subtle and effective ghost story. He was also responsible for ‘Mimic‘, a piece of shit. What the dealio?
Well, Del Toro likes to alternate his films, he makes a movie for the studio so he can than fund the making of a more personal film. So he makes one film for Hollywoodland and one for himself. One for craft, one for art. Guess which camp ‘Blade II‘ falls into?
But to call ‘Blade II’ hack work would do it a disservice, he clearly revels in this kind of comic book beat-em-up, and the film is highly stylised and precision crafted, though numbing all the same. From ‘Matrix‘-style bouts of chop-socky to blasting away at hordes of evil Reapers, the pace and the slaughter never really let up. You get plenty of top quality bang for your buck, but very little else.
Snipes glowers a lot, Kristofferson gets used as a punch-bag most of the time and the rest of the cast try and fill in the hole where the characterisation should be. The only standouts we get are, Ron Pearlman (who also starred in Del Toro’s excellent ‘Cronos‘) basically re-prising the role he had in the dire ‘Alien: Resurrection“, i.e. a grizzled leader of a bunch of ass-kicking hard bastards; we get - unbelievably - Luke Goss as Nomak, the leader of The Reapers (a Max Shreck-style ‘Nosferatu’). Goss, of course, was in cringe worthy 80s boyband Bros, and is now embarking on an acting career. So when will he, will he be famous? I can’t answer, I can’t answer that, but, actually, he makes quite a good hissing villain. And we get Norman Reedus as Blade’s oily-rag chum, Scud - who turns out to be a massive fan of the Powerpuff Girls, so he was immediately my favourite :)
It’s all about action then, and the film bludgeons you with it. Wave after wave of unstoppable ghouls get cut down in endless massive onslaughts. You’ll think: 'I FUCKING LOVE THIS VIOLENCE! MORE!' But eventually you will get worn down (also, dissapointingly, the Reapers merely dissolve into dust particles when they die, I wanted to see them blown apart into bloody, undead bits!). At the end it’ll seem like you’ve spent 118 minutes with someone banging on a metal dustbin lid while having lights flashed on and off in your eyes. But you know that anyway.
As it goes, 'Blade II' is fairly enjoyable tosh, but, ultimately, it’s a headache inducing, hollow, forgettable experience.
5David Merryweather's Score