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"Blade II"

Directed by Guillermo del Toro ("The Devil's Backbone")
Written by David S. Goyer.
Starring Wesley Snipes, Ron Perlman and Kris Kristofferson.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  3/25/02


Whether you loved the first “Blade” film or not, you have to admit one thing:  That opening action scene, with blood spraying down from the ceiling, swords, gunfire, the works...was pretty bad-ass.  In fact, you might only remember that opening scene from the film, which starred Wesley Snipes as a half-human, half-vampire assassin bent on ridding the world of “suckheads” everywhere.

Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, “Blade” was great simply by being what it was supposed to be—action, action, action.  There is a plot, featuring comic bad guy Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff, in his only decent film role even now), but only enough to give us a reason to watch Blade kill off a bunch of bloodsuckers using all manner of martial arts and gunplay.  Snipes was great, the look of the film was great, and because the film made such a profit the first go-around, it was snapped up for a sequel.

This, friends, is one of the few examples where a sequel that captured the essence of the first film doesn't try to toy with it.  (Recently, “Rush Hour 2”, and not-so-recently, “Lethal Weapon 2”, come to mind as movies that do the same thing.)  “Blade II” starts off just about where the first film left off, as Blade (Snipes) is trying to track down his former mentor, Whistler (crusty Kris Kristofferson), in Prague.  After retrieving Whistler, vampires led by the mysterious Nyssa (Leonor Varela) enlist Blade to help them take down a new enemy—some kind of creature that is immune to silver and possesses otherworldly strength...whatever.  This new faction is led by Nomak (Luke Goss), and he serves as “the bad guy” for this sequel.

From beginning to end, from the extensive fight scenes to the ridiculous number of cool weapons that Whistler and Blade employ, from the special effects to the alt/metal soundtrack, you get a carbon copy of the first “Blade” with a bit more action, a bit more humor, and a larger array of bad guys for Blade to have to kill.  You also, as an added bonus, get an incredibly slick-looking production, on-location shots of Prague (which is helpful if you've been there, since I have), and more profanity courtesy of smack-talking between Whistler and a vampire named Rienhardt (Ron Perlman), which is colorful enough to not be thrown around at the workplace.

Is all of this a good thing?  I thought it fact, I was on the fence between $9.00 Show and Opening Weekend all day today before settling on the rating below.  Snipes is clearly having a good time with this franchise, so expect a third film when the box office is done being counted.  If you liked the first film and come in understanding this is not Oscar material, I think you are going to have a great time at the movies.

Rating:  $9.00 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09