Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blade II

While I was in the middle of reading all those Marvel comics recently, I had the idea to go back and see all of the recent movies that I missed based on characters from that universe. Basically the last decade. Blade II was Marvel's first sequel film, and I ended up liking it more than I anticipated, mostly thanks to the strong visual sense of director Guillermo del Toro. I could take or leave most elements of David Goyer's plot and the new characters (except the vampire with the wrap-around mustache played by Ron Perlman, who's awesome regardless of how stupid his role is), but it was still an entertaining, gory action movie. Boiled down, there's a new strain of vampire that feeds on its own kin, and they decide to team up with Blade to find a way to stop them before they take over the world. But just in case you're wondering, things aren't what they seem.

The movie's success rides a bit on whether you like the new super vampires. The only reliable way to kill them is exposure to sunlight, which means not many scenes of Wesley stabbing dudes in the chest and them exploding after the plot begins. There's still some pretty damn competent fight scenes, they just tend to all end in the same way. The bad guys have this weird sideways opening jaw thing that's pretty grotesque, and the film definitely revels in scenes where they get chopped up and dissected. It's not really disturbing though, it's too far separated from human anatomy to cause revulsion and just results in some interesting practical effect stuff. The plot takes some predictable turns - he gets betrayed, he gets hooked up to a machine that drains his blood, he kills a lot of guys... and then it's over. There were a few issues here and there, like some truly dreadful CGI that was supposed to make certain shots especially impressive but eight years later just sucks out all the believability, and there's a pointless flourish at the end that thinks it's a lot more clever than it is. Blade leaves a vampire alive at the beginning, and then he shows up again in the final scene so Blade can remind the audience of the connection and then kill him. But what was the point of that? Did Blade know they were making a movie about him and wanted a callback at the end? What if that vampire drained and killed like three people since he let him go? Pretty dumb! But I enjoyed this movie about as much as the original.

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