Director – Guillermo del Toro
Cast – Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matt Schulze, Danny John-Jules, Donnie Yen, Karel Roden, Marit Velle Kile, Tony Curran, Daz Crawford, Santiago Segura
Release Year – 2002
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Blade is one trilogy that I have always been really screwed up with. For starters, I began the trilogy with Blade: Trinity, then Blade, and now finally I have competed this saga with Blade II – definitely the best in the series. Given to us by horror maestro Guillermo del Toro, Blade II continue the gory vampire slaying antics of the first film, but this time giving us more carnage, a unique storyline, and an overall fun and enjoyable experience for fans of the genre.
Two years have passed since the events of the first film, and now Blade faces possibly the most bizarre opportunity of his vampire slaying days – join forces with those he has spent the last 20 years killing. A new breed of vampires, deemed Reapers, are on the loose, hunting down and killing/converting every vampire they can in an attempt to eradicate the vampire race. It is now up to Blade and a team of highly trained vampires to kill the Reapers before they do away with the vampire race, and subsequently…the human race as well.
I am quite ashamed that it took me so long to get to this flick, especially because of how darn much I enjoyed it. I am not a fan of vampires but I found much joy in watching them being killed off in awesome fashion by a skilled and incorruptible warrior, and leave it to Guillermo del Toro to give me such awesomeness.
David S. Goyer(Blade, Dark City, Demonic Toys) returns to pen this adaptation of Mary Wolfman and Gene Colan’s character, and he does so with great results. I loved this storyline as it provided a unique sense of conflict for Blade, who must now team with those he despises if he wishes to save mankind from an eventual eradication from an all-powerful enemy. Blade is of course very cautions of his alliance with the vampires, and eventually it leads to some great twists and turns that made this unique tale all the more enjoyable. We get Blade and Whistler doing their thing again, and Goyer throws in many other unique characters that I found to be beneficial to the story regardless of how small or large their roles were. Each provided their own worth to the story, and they also made for great pacing as well in their fight and kill sequences, which came in multitudes due to the high number of characters we are given. The action is solid and it reigns supreme throughout the entire film, which also aided in the pacing as did the enjoyable kills that Blade never fails to deliver. For a film coming in at just under two hours in length I never once found myself bored or uninterested in what was going on, a sign of great writing and superb direction.
Speaking of direction, Guillermo del Toro was fantastic in his directorial duties, giving us engaging visuals, superb camerawork, and intense execution of the numerous action and gore sequences erupting throughout this experience. He sure has a knack for giving us sweet “super hero” flicks with a strong horror influence, and it is obvious that he respects the original material they are based on as he seems to do everything in his power to give the fans what they want to see. While not really a scary film, we get some great horror in the form of the reapers who are downright creepy and superbly designed, which I found unsurprising given del Toro’s ability to draw truly heinous creatures. We get great performances from all involved, however our big three – Wesley Snipes as Blade, Kris Kristofferson as Whistler, and del Toro-favorite Ron Perlman as Reinhardt were easily the most enjoyable to watch, and rightfully so given how much ass they kicked. Still early in his career with only Cronos, Mimic, and The Devil’s Backbone under his belt, del Toro shows his directing prominence in this piece, and since Blade II he has done nothing but better himself as one of the genre (and the industry overall’s) best directors.
Overall, Blade II is an improvement over the positive original and also makes for the best entry in the series. The storyline is great and well-written by Goyer as he never leaves us hanging or un-entertained throughout its near two-hour runtime, and del Toro’s direction sells the storyline to full potential by giving us incredible action, great camerawork, and awesome performances from everyone involved.