Blade II

Blade II

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Expect the unexpected. Enter the world of Blade and you lose your bearings. You lose everything. A voice says, "Forget what you know, vampires exist." Even in the bitten fraternity, there are different levels of hunger. Comprehension is sucked dry.

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has captured the spirit of the comic book, from which Blade emerged four years ago in a film of little credit and much gore. This follow up is action packed. Too much so. When the effects stop being special and the kung fu fighting eases off, what's going on? If you want an answer, bring sandwiches.

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Blade is only half vampire. He understands the nature of the creatures he hunts and sunlight doesn't kill him. His purpose in life is to exterminate the breed. There are good vamps and bad vamps and you can't tell the difference until it's too late. The good vamps may be blood junkies, but the bad ones are predatory and have the gullets of hideous undersea beasts. When they open their faces for the final penetration, it is, indeed, horrifying.

Essentially, this is a fight picture. Blade's balletic choreography is most impressive when speeded up and the more agile vamps do that lizard thing of scuttling sideways along walls. Visually, the film is as innovative as The City Of Lost Children.

Perhaps it does not matter that you haven't a clue what's happening. An old guy with a face like marble is trying to clone foetuses with implanted genes that will make them immune to silver bullets. Next step, a protection against sunlight and, after that, world domination? He's the king vamp. His daughter starts off trying to kill Blade and ends up fancying him rotten. His son (extraordinary performance from ex-pop singer Luke Goss) has gone rabid and cannot be controlled.

Kris Kristofferson returns in the character of Whistler, a hillbilly with long white hair who knows a thing or two about vamp slaying. His purpose in this story is in doubt. He helps Blade occasionally and is beaten up on a regular basis, but why he's there remains a mystery. Wesley Snipes obviously likes wearing leather. He's black from head to toe, a sculptured icon. Blade doesn't have a sense of humour and after the umpteenth battle, you wish he had.

The effects are mind-altering. Del Toro has done the impossible and made vampires scary again. Some of the imagery remains with you as fodder for nightmares, fearful and dark. The dungeon of the imagination has been opened. Luckily the story's nonsense, otherwise Blade II might have infected a generation.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2002
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Wesley Snipes returns as the half human, half vampire destroyer of evil.
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Stephen Carty ***

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: David S Goyer

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matt Schulze, Danny John-Jules, Donnie Yen, Karel Roden, Tony Curran

Year: 2002

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

Blade: Trinity