ComicsAlliance Reviews ‘Blade Trinity’ (2004), Part One
Over the past year, Chris Sims and David Uzumeri have provided ComicsAlliance with in-depth reviews of the final season of Smallville and the Batman film franchise. Now, they turn their attention to a film franchise with a supernatural edge: Blade.
David: Welcome back to Ice Skating Uphill, for our penultimate installment! This week, we'll be looking at David Goyer's 2004 film Blade Trinity, which he both wrote and directed.
Chris: It's the final installment of the Blade franchise -- theatrically, anyway. Sticky Fingaz from Onyx took up the role of Blade for a short-lived TV series featuring work from Goyer and Geoff Johns. While it doesn't ever quite hit the heights of the first two, it's pretty entertaining, mostly because it is, and I cannot stress this enough, goofy as hell.David: It's a movie with Ryan Reynolds, it can't NOT be goofy as hell.
Chris: True. Reynolds is one of two actors in this film who would go on to star in three different comic book movies as three completely different characters. The other, oddly enough, is Parker Posey.
David: Patton Oswalt was never in another comic movie, was he?
Chris: Not unless you count his role as the former Wonderboy on The Venture Bros. Posey, however, was in this, the abysmal Superman Returns, and the single greatest comic book movie ever made, Josie and the Pussycats. I'm not kidding about that, either.
David: I'm quite aware that you aren't.
Chris: Have you seen it? It's seriously awesome. It's up there with Spice World, even though it doesn't have that movie's Elvis Costello cameo.: Have you seen it? It's seriously awesome. It's up there with Spice World, even though it doesn't have that movie's Elvis Costello cameo.
David: I have not, I'm afraid.
Chris: So disgusted with you right now. But anyway, back to Blade: Blade II was an even bigger success than the original, so of course they went ahead with a third. Rather than bring back Guillermo Del Toro, however -- who at the time was already busy directing the first Hellboy movie -- they handed things over to Goyer, who had previously only directed one other film.
David: Interestingly enough, his previous film - ZigZag - also featured Wesley Snipes.
Chris: Which is even more interesting when you consider that the two seemed to have something of a falling out over this film. Snipes ended up suing both New Line and Goyer himself for, according to Wikipedia, not paying him his full salary as a producer for the film, and locking him out of casting and filmmaking decisions.
David: That's a shame he didn't win, it might have even paid his back taxes!
Chris: He also contends that he was given less screen time than he should've been, which I have to say I kind of agree with. If Blade II had a major flaw in not giving costars -- and by that I mean Donnie Yen -- enough to do, this one has the flaw of giving them way too much. They might as well have called it Blade Buddies. Reynolds even narrates the whole thing.
David: Well, Reynolds was an up-and-coming hot commodity when this came out, wasn't he? Oh wait, wasn't his only major role at this point Van Wilder?
Chris: That depends. Do you consider his role in one episode of X-Files to be major?
David: ...no. But Van Wilder was really funny! When I was in college!
Chris: Then no. Although, looking over his IMDB page, it looks like he also had a part in a Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie, which makes him a four-time comics movie star. He even matches Posey's Marvel/DC/Archie trifecta!
David: Ha! Unfortunately, all of Posey's movies were horrible. I guess so were most of Reynolds's. Well, all. I haven't seen the Sabrina TV special.
Chris: One more bad word about Josie and you are reviewing this movie yourself, buster. Point being, this movie was clearly meant to branch the Blade franchise out into more Marvel Monster movies with the Nightstalkers, which would've been really interesting. Basically, What I'm saying here is that Morbius the Living Vampire almost hit theaters before Captain America and Iron Man. Imagine that for a second.
David: I can imagine a world where a movie tanked, yes. Although I would have said the same thing about Blade.
Chris: It wasn't the only idea that Goyer had, though. His first plan for Blade 3 was to skip ahead 20 years to a post-apocalyptic world where vampires had taken over and Blade was humanity's last hope, but that was discarded. Maybe because it was a little too close to the Omega Man / I Am Legend movie that was already in the works, but probably because nobody really wants to see that Blade just totally failed for 20 years.
David: Also, it'd require a bigger budget.
Chris: Instead, what we got is this, and... well, it certainly is a movie.
David: We open with Ryan Reynolds delivering a monologue about Dracula myths over a camera shot of pooling blood. He talks about how in the stories, Dracula always gets defeated by some old English dude with a cross. But it really "started with Blade, and ended with him." Because that's how badass Blade is: He's about to kill Dracula. With Ryan Reynolds. Who is attempting to deliver a serious monologue about Dracula.
Chris: You know, I always thought they made these movies backwards.
David: What do you mean?
Chris: Well, look at the bad guys. He fights The Ancient Blood God, then he fights A Whole New Kind of Vampire Vampire, and then he fights Dracula. Don't get me wrong, I think the record will show that I'm a pretty big proponent of Dracula as an awesome ultimate bad guy, but doesn't that feel like he's stepping down after each fight? After you chop up The Blood God, everything else seems a little anticlimactic, no matter how many monologues Ryan Reynolds gives about how Dracula has never had to evolve.
David: You'd also think Dracula would have been on Blade's radar sooner if he's really the ultimate grandaddy badass vampire.
Chris: But not if, as we find out, he's been sleeping in the middle east for 500 years.
David: A bunch of vampires land in Syria with a helicopter and walk into a temple, while one of them, in his sunproof suit, stops to give the sun the finger. I'm serious. These vampires are apparently vampire achaeologists, one of whom can't actually recognize cuneiform and has to be informed where the cradle of civilization is. They all get wrecked by some dude in Predator armor who busts out of the floor. (Spoiler: that dude is Dracula.)
Chris: The fact that the vampire -- who, by the way, is Triple-H from the WWE -- takes the time to stop, turn around, and flip off the sun is without question the best thing about this movie. It is... I mean... David Goyer wrote that down, and then when he saw it later when it came time to shoot that scene, he was still like "YES."
David: It's kind of absolutely amazing. I couldn't tell it was Triple H when I watched it, since, obviously, he's in total sunblocking gear.
Chris: Yeah, you can only tell because he's the biggest one of the ones that go into the temple. Which is also great, because I totally believe that if Triple-H from the WWE was turned into a vampire -- possibly from being bitten by Edge -- that is exactly what he would do. That's seriously the defining moment of this movie: A vampire just flipped off the sun because he was so damn mad at it. It's not like he can possibly be hoping to accomplish something with that gesture, he's just so angry. Does he expect the sun to be all like "Did you see that? Guy just flipped me the bird!" No. The sun don't care, Hunter. The sun don't give a damn.
David: Then, in The City, a warehouse blows up. A dude on fire launches out of it, but is then staked to death by our proud protagonist Blade. Some other vampires run out, and Blade wrecks them. This is all accompanied by a credit sequence that looks, at best, Square Enix-esque.
Chris: Yeah, there were some interesting design choices for these credits. And by interesting, I mean "is there any way we can do this for $30?" I do like it when Blade cold stiff-legs that dude on fire, though.
David: Blade jumps onto the freeway and launches over to Whistler's truck, jumping into a car in the back (!) and using that to drive alongside Whistler (why not just ride shotgun?) and shoot vampires with his shotgun. One of them, it turns out, actually isn't a vampire, and confuses Blade by not dying when being staked with silver. He calls Blade a dumbass and takes out his fake fangs. Back at the Bladehouse with Whistler, Whistler chides Blade on how killing humans is way messier than killing vampires due to evidence, and gives him a new oral delivery system for his serum that will no doubt play a role in the plot in a later date.
Chris: Yeah, except that we have two movies where Blade kills A TON OF HUMANS. All those guards at Caliban Industries? The ones that Blade was suplexing through glass floors? They were human! Scud says it when they first show up! Hell, Scud himself is human and Blade kills the bejeezus out of him. Although admittedly, vaporizing him doesn't leave much evidence.
David: Well, he DOES admit later that he's killed a ton of familiars. Wasn't the dude he killed a familiar? What was his plan, even? "Let's screw up Blade by pinning a public murder on him?"
Chris: Yeah, it's established earlier through the medium of what looks an awful lot like a PBS talk show starring Eric Bogosian as a guy named, no fooling, "Bentley Tittle" that the police are looking for Blade because they think he's a psychopath murderer. So this plays out like an attempt to turn the public against blade and get the police after him --- except that the vampires run the police (Blade says that in Blade I and it's definitely the case here) so why weren't they just sending them after Blade to begin with?
David: At the FBI headquarters, everyone's suddenly worried about Blade, since a single murder now gets you on the regional FBI's radar. Two dudes leave the office to go after him. They don't talk or anything; they just show them watching Blade on their computers and then leaving the office.
Chris: I like that they cops -- and Whistler -- are worried about the one human dude that Blade killed, and not the warehouse that he blew up in a fireball right before that. Like it's totally okay for Blade to just go around with just constant explosions. He's still somehow operating in secret right up until he stakes that one dude.
David: It makes absolutely no sense. But then again, this movie isn't very concerned with that. Parker Posey, who was one of the vampires who invaded the Syrian temple, looks at the feeding Dracula (who they rescued from that temple) over an infrared screen. She goes in and watches Dracula continue to go nuts feeding, until he turns into Linc from Prison Break and gives some Christian-Bale-as-Batman level growly threats and disses to the current vampire nation. Parker Posey asks him to go after Blade, and he seems to accept with almost no reservation.
Chris: Dracula in this movie definitely looks like the default version in a video game that allows you to customize your character. "...And Commander John Shepard as Dracula."
David: There's nothing Draculesque about him at all.
Chris: He doesn't even have one medallion. Posey's really great in this scene, though, I love how she goes from total Mean Girl to being really uncomfortably nervous whenever she gets locked in the room with Dracula.
David: Whistler goes out to buy a newspaper, and it's revealed that mysterious men in suits in cars are following him. Blade, back in the Bladecave, watches the TV and watches pundits call him a sociopath. Maybe it's just me, but killing one dude in the middle of the street doesn't usually merit this kind of attention, since supposedly his vampire killing was totally under the radar and nobody knew about him. Whistler chides Blade (again) about straight-up killing a dude.
Chris: It's worth noting that when Whistler goes to buy the newspaper, he and the vendor -- who is actually the movie's Director of Photography, Gabriel Beristain -- speak to each other in Esperanto. Apparently Goyer was really into the idea of creating a multilingual city for the unnamed city where the Blade movies take place, and that's what he went with: Esperanto.
David: I figured it was Spanish. That's... wow.
Chris: Seriously, you never realize how bad you wanted to see Kris Kristofferson grumble in Esperanto until it happens.
David: On a subway platform, Jessica Biel dresses as a random lady with a bunch of groceries. When a bunch of conveniently vampire hooligans attack her, she for some reason pretends to get her ass kicked until they get sprayed on by a baby with "F*CK YOU" written on it, at which point she mercilessly stakes all of them.
Chris: Despite the fact that it does introduce BMX Vampires (awesome), this is seriously the worst plan anyone has ever had. Like, she lets a bunch of vampires just punch her in the face two or three times before she starts putting up an offense. Like, they're already in your trap, lady.
David: Is it so they can find the baby and it can spray holy water on them or whatever to see if they explode? What's she gonna do if it's just random human punks?
Chris: Random human punks who are talking about literally eating a baby?
David: Back at the Bladecave, Whistler continues to bitch out Blade for getting sloppy when a boatload (literally) of FBI agents invade their joint and beat the crap out of them until Whistler gets shot and crawls, bloodily, to a terminal to turn on a bomb. When an agent tells him "one finger and you're dead," Whistler flips him the bird and blows up the facility, but Blade gets caught outside anyways. Oddly enough, despite Whistler yelling at Blade repeatedly about killing humans, he's willing to kill himself to just blow up a ton of FBI agents.
Chris: The thing about Whistler sacrificing himself to save Blade -- well, besides the fact that this is the second time we've seen it happen, which removes any emotional impact it might've had pretty handily -- is that Blade just totally gives up after. Dude! Your best friend just killed himself in order to buy you some time!
David: But if Whistler hadn't died, would the NIGHTSTALKERS have been activated?
Chris: I mean, they're clearly already activated: Jessica Biel is out there with her sun-laser-bow or whatever it is before the FBI raids Bladequarters.
David: She's Green Arrow, Chris.
Chris: Oh man, the part where she talks about being able to shoot around corners with her bow would be the dumbest thing in this entire movie if it weren't for the rest of this movie.
David: Maybe she can... curve the bullet.
Chris: Now there's a movie I don't think we could make it through. But anyway.
David: Captured by the FBI, Blade gets interrogated by two cops and then a doctor who asks him who the current President is. Blade's amazing response: "an a**hole."
David: The doctor and police chief take custody of Blade away from the cops, and then dose him and reveal themselves as familiars. Eventually, Parker Posey shows up to taunt him when Ryan Reynolds throws a dying vampire through the interrogation room window and shoots a bunch of vampires with a name tag that says "Hello, My Name Is F*ck You."
Chris: I saw Blade Trinity with a bunch of my friends that I worked at the comic book store with when it came out, and I can tell you that when Parker Posey flipped out and yelled "HANNIBAL KING!", it absolutely thrilled a friend of mine. Seriously, no one ever expected that character to have his name shouted angrily in a big-budget Hollywood picture.
David: Then again, from what I understand, the movie Hannibal King doesn't much resemble the comic version.
Chris: Not at all. The comics' Hannibal King is a vampire private detective. The issue where he's introduced is actually one of the best Wolfman/Colan Tomb of Dracula comics -- it's a twist ending where you don't find out he's a vampire until the last page, but there are a ton of clues in the artwork, like King being the only one who doesn't show up in the mirror in a crowded bar scene. But no, Reynolds' version is a little different. I don't think the one in the comics is particularly known for his abs.
Chris: It's weird, too: I think Blade teaming up with a vampire PI who tried to resist the thirst in order to track down other vampires would've made a really fun movie. Hell, even with the same casting, a Ryan Reynolds / Wesley Snipes buddy comedy action vampire movie would've probably been a hoot.
David: While Blade retrieves his ever-important sunglasses, Reynolds and Jessica Biel - or, in this movie, Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler - rescue Blade from the FBI building with the aid of Hannibal's quips and Abigail's straight-up Green Arrow trick-laden bow. When they get outside, Blade isn't there -- he had to go BACK in, to retrieve his sword.
Chris: Oh man, don't forget when Parker Posey and her crew come into the interrogation room and she goes: "I like your tattoos. Do they mean anything?" And then rolls her eyes and mouths "STUPID." She is seriously so great in this.
David: She is SO obnoxious, but she doesn't get much screen time since nobody in this movie gets much screen time. It's just too busy.
Chris: Yeah, it's a real shame. She's so comically over-the-top and goes back and forth between smarmy and cowardly so easily. She's like if Cobra Commander was a pretty lady, which is basically my dream girl.
David: Abigail and Hannibal take Blade back to Nightstalkers HQ, but on the ride there Abigail reveals she's Whistler's daughter out of wedlock from after his marriage where his whole family was killed by vampires. Apparently, when she got old enough, she tracked him down and told him she wanted to be a vampire hunter. Why did she even know what a vampire hunter was before she met Whistler? I have no idea. At the HQ, they introduce Blade to the rest of the team, including Patton Oswalt and a dude named Dex. Blade basically calls them all rookies and too fresh for the vampire-huntin' game, when Hannibal reveals he used to be a vampire, and then Parker Posey overacts a scene where she's pissed about not being able to kill Hannibal. Dracula shows up and offers to get in the field.
Chris: Blade really does come off like a total jerk in this scene. When Reynolds points out that he's calling them amateurs when they saved him from Parker Posey and Triple-H (my new favorite sentence), it doesn't really make us like them more so much as it makes us like Blade less.
David: After Parker Posey's Overacted Tirade, Hannibal shows Blade and Abigail pictures of Posey (a.k.a. Danica Talos), her brother Asher (Lew Ashby on Californication, Leoben on Battlestar Galactica) and their henchman Triple H, a.k.a. Jarko Grimwood (no, seriously). He points out, seemingly without joking, that Danica has her fangs in her vagina.
David: No, seriously. King retells his origin story, where he banged Danica in a barn and was her vampire servant for five years until being found by Abigail and given a cure. King talks to Blade about Dracula -- showing him an issue of Tomb of Dracula to make his point -- and then remarks that Dracula is actually not just Count Dracula but the first vampire, and was from Sumeria, and "like the great white shark, never had to evolve." I'm pretty sure the great white shark evolved from something.
Chris: It's a total comic book understanding of evolution, too, in that we're supposed to be impressed that this guy did not personally evolve into a different creature, like a Pokemon. Also, how is it that you can recite off all the TV roles everyone in these movies has ever played, but you hadn't seen RoboCop until like six months ago?
David: I watch a lot of TV! Also, IDMB.
Chris: But yeah, getting back to what's important: I'm not sure if the line about Parker Posey having her fangs in her vagina is meant to be serious or not because Reynolds delivers everything he says in the same smarmy, sarcastic tone, but wet get a pretty good look at his neck and I don't see any bite-marks. It is also hilarious that they're able to "extrapolate a basic idea" of what Dracula looks like from one piece of his armor. Like, an actual chunk of his gauntlet. They use that to make a computer model of what the dude actually looks like.
David: And that brings our first half to a close!
Chris: Blade has formed new allies, Dracula is out on the streets of Esperanto City, and Parker Posey is scheming to unleash the MASS Device on G.I. Joe! Who wins? Who dies?!
David: See you all next week for the final installment of ICE SKATING UPHILL!