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Blade II

Kick-Ass Action, Gut-Wrenching Violence

By Dan Robey

Blade II

Written by David S. Goyer

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Starring Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman

Rated R

Vampires, martial arts, leather: What could better fuel an action movie? Blade II has all of them, and in heaping portions. I liked the first Blade film. The atmosphere and storyline alone held my attention and made the first installment one of my favorites. The special effects were cheesy, and some of the acting a little off, but I loved it. If you hated it, you will hate the sequel.

Blade II stays true to the atmosphere and feel of the first movie, with more mature special effects. Goyer, who also wrote the original Blade, in addition to such classics as Crow:City of Angels and Dark City, has produced a storyline that is a little less coherent than the first. Despite deficiencies in the storyline, Blade II is a thoroughly fun movie.

Blade (Wesley Snipes) was born half-human, half vampire with all the strengths of vampires, but none of their weaknesses. As the feared vampire hunter Daywalker, he has vowed to protect the human race from the evils of the vampires.

The movie opens with Blade finally rescuing his companion Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) from two years of captivity. In the meantime, Blade has adopted a new assistant, Scud (Norman Reedus), who uses his technical cleverness to create powerful weapons for fighting the blood-hungry.

The Vampire Nation is under siege by an even stronger evil: new, mutated vampires called Reapers. Reapers drink not only the blood of humans, but also the blood of vampires. Their thirst is insatiable and they are resistant to silver and garlic, two of the few weaknesses of normal vampires. They increase in number faster than anything seen before, and after they destroy the Vampire Nation, they will move on to humans.

Mere days after Blade rescues Whistler, two vampire spokesmen breach their sanctuary and propose a temporary truce between Blade and the bloodthirsty vampires until their new mutual enemy is dealt with. Blade reluctantly accepts, and he and a pack of highly-trained vampires start the hunt.

The dark, evil atmosphere of Blade II blends perfectly with the first film’s and dispels disbelief. Although the story is trite at points, and plot twists are obvious far in advance, the Blade feeling pervades and overshadows the inconsistencies.

The martial arts direction in this film is amazing. The vampires have superhuman strength and speed: violent, street-style combat scenes combine hard and fast punching and blocking with impossible moves. Huge sparring sequences dazzle the audience as combatants wield rebar, a giant spiked mace, and the classic Blade sword.

Martial arts and the array of weapons Blade uses to fight the evils of the night all add up to an intensely gory film. Vampires disintegrate and melt on screen, and gallons of blood spill out of the wounds of vampires and humans alike. The Blade series definitely holds the title for the bloodiest movies ever.

As in the first film, the special effects still haven’t quite caught up to the filmmaker’s vision, but new techniques and better graphics blend more smoothly with the somber atmosphere for more spectacular shots. Scenes with disintegrating vampires, for example, are beautifully done, although after the fiftieth fiend burns to dust, it begins to get old. The new Reapers are completely disgusting; their nightmarish mouths are inspired by Aliens and Predator.

Although the plot is even less original than the first, Blade II still delivers with its blood-drenched, dark vision of the world hidden beneath our own. If you want a serious movie with a deep story, move on, but if you want hard action and horrific visuals, see Blade II.