Blade II

Reviewed By MP Bartley
Posted 05/14/02 12:08:48

"Bloody good! Get it?!"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Sequels generally go one of two ways. New twists on the original are found, avenues explored and themes deepened. Or the film-maker takes everything good from the first and maximises it for better or worse. With 'Blade 2' it's the latter. More vampires, more guts (was that a pancreas flying across the screen?) and more blood. It's like opening a bottle of ketchup on a rollercoaster. And it's so much more entertaining than the first

Blade 2 opens with Blade (Wesley Snipes) searching for his old mentor Whistler (Kris Kristoffersen). Never mind the fact that he died in the first one, this is a movie about vampires after all.

Having successfully found and saved Whistler with the help of new companion Scud (Noram Reedus), Blade finds himself with an offer from the very vampires he's vowed to hunt and destroy. There's a new breed of vampires on the street called Reapers led by Nomak (Luke Goss) and they're a step up on the evolutionary ladder: they're feeding on both humans and vampires alike, thus the need for Blade's help. To aid them, they've paired him with a group of vampires specially trained to capture Blade, the Bloodpack.

Of course this is all exposition which can basically be summed up as Blade v even nastier vampires, and takes about 5 minutes of the running time. The rest of the time is dedicated to sating the thirst of the most diehard action fan, after all this is a movie about a kung-fu vampire hunter, not a schizophrenic mathematician. And you should be sated. Hearts, livers and brains all get their chance to be flung across the screen and to splat against walls, while all the time Blade manages to wipe out more vampires in 90 minutes, than in the rest of vampire movie history.

Director Guillermo Del Toro has no desire to follow the introspective, what it means to be undead, path of the first film. He gets right to the guts of the matter (pun intended) and lays set-piece upon set-piece,a nightclub battle,a sewer chase, the descent into the villains lair in an almost indecent effort to use the most amount of blood since Sam Peckinpah laid the Wild Bunch to waste, and why not? This is a movie about vampires after all.

The action is fast and furious but edited so that you can actually follow what the hell is going on, and each set-piece manages to outdo what has gone before, and anything from the first film.

The cast seem to be more relaxed too. Snipes has firmly settled into his role, and is one of the few action stars that actually looks the part and looks convincing in the action sequences. He underpins all the grisly stuff, with a dead-pan humour and a gruff onscreen partnership with Kristoffersen that works well. Ron Perlman as the Bloodpacks chief heavy Reinhardt also comes across well as one of those friend/foe characters that'll have you guessing as to whether he'll come good in the end. Perlman has the build to get through this on presence alone, but has a great sense of rivalry with Snipes throughout.

Plaudits should also go to Goss who is convincingly scary as Nomak and a much better adversary than Stephen Dorff in the first.

Ultimately, it's not big, it's not clever and it's as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. But hey what did you expect, 'Shakespeare In Love'? It's a movie about kung-fu fighting vampires...

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