We didn’t feel like coming up with a proper intro for the latest 10YA re-view, so we went and found a bunch of bad vampire jokes online. This was our favorite: “What’s pink, has a curly tail, and sucks blood? A hampire!” Here’s Mark Batalla of PixelDrip Gallery with a rewatch of Guillermo Del Toro’s Blade II.
Remember when vampire movies were bad-ass? Remember when Wesley Snipes wasn’t in prison? Remember when there were fun R-rated comic book movies? Blade II was such an entertaining intersection of awesome that I’m surprised at how it wasn’t even released during summer blockbuster season.
I didn’t write a review on this blog for Blade, but I should at least mention that everything that made the first film successful (cool weapons, brutal fights, fast pacing) carried over into the sequel while the fat was trimmed. This can best be seen with the Blade character itself. On the Wesley Snipes spectrum, his character acting heads away from the Dean Cage/John Cutter seriousness and goes a notch towards Simon Phoenix. So still a bad-ass, but with slightly more quipping than the previous Blade film. And why shouldn’t he be? Without the emotional baggage of Deacon Frost and Blade’s mother, the sequel is simply Blade getting enjoyment from murdering dozens upon dozens of vampires, humans, and vampire mutants. And THAT is fun to watch because his fun is infectious.
And speaking of infectious, I always liked how the Blade franchise portrays vampirism. It’s explained as a type of virus, which brings eugenics into play since the vampire nation has its share of conflicts between purebloods and those that were turned. Another interesting aspect is how vampirism is a metaphor for addiction. You see Blade frequently going to his chamber, tying off his arm, and injecting himself with serum to satiate his blood thirst. Not very subtle, but it does make you think about why the vampires don’t do the same. If the vampires were able to be in control of their thirst, would they be able to coexist with humans?
Is It Better Or Worse Than I Remember?
I completely forgot how entertaining this film was. Before this re-viewing, I wasn’t able to recall much of the plot, or the fight scenes, or the dialogue, or the actors. But I think that has more to do with the sheer amount of similar movies coming out at the time. Blade II would be followed by Equilibrium, The Matrix Reloaded, and Underworld. It was an era of trench coats, guns, martial arts, and slow motion. Looking at all of those films, The Matrix and Equilibrium had substance, Blade had style, and Underworld had neither.
One thing I noticed this time around is the amount of foreshadowing scattered throughout the movie. You pretty much need an armory for all the Chekhov’s guns you’ll come across. Blade letting the vampire go at the film’s beginning, Damaskinos’s healing pool, the Reaper autopsy. All these scenes correspond to another scene towards the end of the film.
Granted there’s still a lot of unexplained phenomena. Like can the Reapers mutate further if they keep on feeding? How exactly does light bomb weaponry travel around corners and how are the vampires able to duck that light by diving underwater?
What doesn’t hold up is the switching between live actors and CG models during action sequences. The digital doubles immediately stand out due to their stilted animation. For the most part, the action moves fast enough so it’s not too jarring. I still prefer these shots to the shaky cam and rapid cut editing found in contemporary action films.
Despite its flaws, Blade II was a sequel done right. Guillermo del Toro realized that and brought over Ron Perlman, Luke Goss, the familial tragedy dynamic, dark humor, and grotesque character designs to his Hellboy films.
The Blade II soundtrack was one of the better concept albums of the time. Almost all the tracks were collaborations between hip hop and electronic musicians to mimic the mashup of Blade with the Bloodpack. And boy, was this movie just full of mashups. What if Blade was forced to team up with vampires? What if you combined a gun and a blade? What if vampire DNA was tinkered with to create some type of double vampire? What if vampire movie motifs were combined with zombie movie motifs?
Holy. Shit. It’s Norman Reedus as the little twerp, Scud. Who could’ve known that he would go on to play
Murphy MacManus in The Boondock Saints and Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead?
What’s the deal with the “do you blush” line, Reinhardt? I know you’re trying to taunt Blade, but there’s a black vampire right next to you. And I’m pretty sure Asad is higher up in rank within the vampire nation.
Let’s take a moment to look at the missed opportunities with the Bloodpack. Chupa is not a Mexican goat sucker. Snowman, played by THE Donnie Yen, has an ice cold demeanor but is killed offscreen. Priest does not recite Bible verses. Lighthammer doesn’t shoot energy from his hammer. Verlaine is supposed to be useful how? At least she has the red hair to match her red shirt status.
Despite the amount of gore in this film, the moment that truly grossed me out was decrepit old Damaskinos eating blood gelatin.
I can watch Blade suplex that security guard through the glass floor all day long.
I’ve still got the Maxim issue with Leonor Varela stashed somewhere in my room.
If there’s one absolute in the Blade movie franchise, it’s that your ears will be feasting on the most delicious nuggets of vulgar language:
“Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill.” -Blade (Blade)
“Listen, shit kicker! You’re about one cunt hair away from hillbilly heaven.” -Chupa (Blade II)
“No, it’s not, you horse-humping bitch! But it will be a few seconds from now. See, that tickle that you’re feeling in the back of your throat right now? That’s atomized colloidal silver. It’s being pumped through the building’s air conditioning system, you cock-juggling thundercunt!” -Hannibal King (Blade: Trinity)