- In his third outing as Blade, Wesley Snipes goes after Dracula.
Returning for more blood and bang-bang in a genre franchise that has already spawned a successful first sequel, Wesley Snipes reprises his role as the powerful "Daywalker," who's half-human, half-vampire. He ditched the silly name Eric years ago, and in this third outing, he's all Blade. Having tangled with a blood god, assorted Predator-faced supervampires, Udo Kier, Traci Lords, and even his own mother, he and his sword now return to beat on the protovampire himself, Dracula. Make no mistake: Written and directed by David S. Goyer (who penned the first two Blade movies), this is filmmaking by dorks, for dorks. As such, it is lowbrow, freakish fun, a gritty Saturday matinee for adults who like a bit of cheese with their popcorn.
This time, our fanged and meticulously tattooed urban antihero becomes a fugitive in the straight world when he's set up by a vampire network led by nasty bloodsucker hottie Danica Talos (Parker Posey, of all things). Since no good deed goes unpunished, Blade's years of service protecting humanity from vampires lead to his being captured and interrogated by the FBI. That's right, there's a government-vampire conspiracy afoot, including a deranged psychologist named Vance (John Michael Higgins), who patronizes Blade by asking if he even knows who's currently the U.S. president. "An asshole," barks the laconic hipster, sans pause. Apparently those are fighting words, thus fighting quickly and plentifully resumes.
Now that Goyer is finally in the driver's seat of the franchise he shepherded from Marvel Comics to the big screen, he opts to err -- sometimes wisely, often not -- on the side of bombast. Blade hesitantly and resentfully teams up with a vampire-hunting posse called the Nightstalkers, which includes Jessica Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) and Ryan Reynolds (National Lampoon's Van Wilder) playing a pair of taut, trendy, frequently exposed abdomens who sass and shoot things a lot. Just about every part of our heroes and their weapons is repeatedly fetishized, usually amid or just prior to extreme violence, to a point that would embarrass Rambo. And this is only mentioning the glaring moments between endless sorties of generic vampires exploding into wads of hot ash.
Kris Kristofferson is a good sport to return as Blade's mentor (and Biel's father), especially when he's forced to compete for screen time with an evil henchman played by pro-wrestler Triple H (Paul Levesque), who snarls and gnashes his teeth in a very Alien kind of way. Eric Bogosian also shows up by way of stunt-casting as a talk-show host.
This Trinity may be the least of the three -- sound familiar, Matrix faithful? -- but it's the closest in style and attitude to a pulpy comic book, an art form that doesn't need to be lofty, perfect, or even sensible to tickle a dork's fancy.