I’ll give Blade: Trinity the benefit of the doubt and assume the movie is meant to be high camp of the lowest order. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone involved with making this third Blade flick took any of it seriously, since the film almost never makes a lick of sense and doesn’t seem to mind that fact for a minute.
I certainly don’t mind, since nonstop silliness is at least preferable to the soul-destroying tedium of the second film — proving the truth to the adage that even the worst, most hackneyed plot is better than none at all. The story in Trinity, however, isn’t so much hackneyed as it is confused, contrived and inconsistent. But even that is preferable to 40 solid minutes of wire-work acrobatics and exploding vampires set to loud industrial techno music, which is what made up the first half of Blade 2.
This round, Blade (Wesley Snipes) is set up by the “vampire nation” — now headed by indie icon Parker Posey as Danica Talos — to kill a human (never mind that it’s unlikely this hasn’t already happened in the midst of the nonstop carnage of vampire battles), thereby turning him into a wanted man. In no time, the FBI kills off Blade’s mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), captures our hero and loses him to the vampires. Then he’s rescued by a pair of wisecracking “Night Stalkers,” Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds, Van Wilder) and Whistler’s daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel, The Rules of Attraction).
None of this makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, since Danica has already brought back the old King o’ the Dead himself, Dracula (Dominic Purcell, TV’s John Doe), to take on Blade.
Dracula appears to have spent years in hibernation with a personal trainer, since he emerges from the tomb not in a dinner suit, but bare-chested, buff and ready to rumble. Now, he also calls himself Drake — despite the fact he was entombed in some ancient backwater in Syria. I’m not sure if that’s because the name is cooler than Dracula, or simply less likely to attract attention, though the latter seems a little irrelevant for someone who leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Indeed, the need to be inconspicuous doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in this film, since Blade and company don’t hesitate to walk down the street in broad daylight while sporting full vampire-hunting regalia, including a bow and a quiver of arrows.
Well, no one ever claimed Blade was the ne plus ultra of realism. And realism isn’t what’s called for in a movie about a badass vampire-fighter who comes across like a supernatural Shaft (without the Isaac Hayes theme song). And that’s just as well, since this is a film where any vestige of logic goes out the window the minute the all-powerful, virtually indestructible Drake/Dracula runs away from an encounter with Blade for no reason other than that the film would otherwise be very short indeed.
Truth be told, though, Blade and Drake are less at the center of this outing than are the subordinate characters of Hannibal, Abigail and Danica. Perhaps that’s a setup for a spin-off series, but it’s just as likely that it’s simply easier to write for characters with a penchant for one-liners than for strong, silent types. (Blade does get in one one-liner, but otherwise, he plays the beleaguered straight man to the other characters.)
Reynolds scores best as Danica’s former boy-toy (though I still think writer/director David S. Goyer missed an opportunity by not naming the character Professor Van Wilder). Parker Posey delivers what may well be the most effective deliberately bad performance of all time – perhaps because of the impossibility of speaking normally with those fake choppers in her mouth. I didn’t believe her for a moment, even though the character does match Hannibal’s rather colorful description of her (a phrase I can’t reproduce here, even with the aid of asterisks). Still, I enjoyed every bit of her scenery-chewing.
Snipes manages to retain some modicum of dignity through it all, and that’s no mean feat, especially when the film undercuts his imposing figure by showing us a police document that lists his height as 5 feet 8 inches. (The film turns around a scene or so later when someone refers to Blade as a “big, strapping guy.”)
Director Goyer lacks the creativity of his immediate predecessor, Guillermo Del Toro, but seems more in tune with the movie’s 1970s pulp-comic origins. And Trinity is a rare instance of a film being improved by the employment of lesser talent! I guess there are just times when less really is more — or at least more suitable. Rated R for strong, pervasive violence, language and sexual content.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke