“Blade II” is an amazing action film and is a film I consider a favorite after today. In this action film we get vampire politics, complex family drama, great character arcs and beyond the great action a rocking soundtrack and beautiful cinematography. The only con I can really say against it some of the CGI didn’t always work, so this is one I highly recommend.
The film was directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by David Goyer.
The story involves Blade (Wesley Snipes) rescuing Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) from the vampires who have turned him as a new threat arrives in the form of Reapers, vampires who can infect other vampires.
The Soundtrack – The soundtrack is fantastic. For starters the songs they chose outside of music that involve Mos Def fit the scenes perfectly and the rest of the score enhances the experience. Marco Beltrami did a fantastic job.
The Cinematography – Visually this is a beautiful film as the colors bring the world to light. You have Blade’s black against silvers and use of yellow, blue, orange and red in different scenes to visually pull you in. Gabriel Beristain did a good job with this.
The Opening – There are two scenes that get the film off on the right start. The first is meeting Jared Nomak who is going to a blood bank for help, but he is targeted by Vampires it is here we see that he is the original Reaper as he easily kills the vampires when they turn on him. The second involves Blade hunting for Whistler and we get a variety of action until he finally discovers and saves Whistler. It does a great job showing why Blade is feared which provides a nice contrast to Nomak.
The Bloodpack – The Bloodpack is awesome. This was a group created 2 years prior to hunt and kill Blade. Nyssa, the daughter of Lord Damaskimos is unofficially in charge and her partner leader is Asad. They are both able to match Blade in combat ability. The others the muscle types being Chupa, Lighthammer (a silent type with a giant hammer), Reinhardt (Ron Perlman) and the more assassin types being Snowman (Donnie Yen) Priest and Verlaine. Each of them has a moment of awesome fighting the Reapers so you can see just how dangerous they are.
The Reaper Threat – The Reaper threat is huge as anyone Nomak infects becomes strong and feral. His pack is only based in spreading the virus and feeding and they are dangerous too as they turn or kill all the members of the Bloodpack except Reinhardt and Nyssa. This is a testament to their strength as the Bloodpack are shown to be highly lethal.
Abraham Whistler – Whistler is far more compelling than he is in the first film as here his father relationship with Blade is developed and his chemistry with Blade’s new weapons expert Scud (Norman Reedus) is a lot of fun. In this film he is no longer distant and can relate a lot more to Blade as he was nearly turned himself. If you want to bring back a character you killed off in the prior film, how they brought back Whistler is the way to do it.
Eric Brooks / Blade – Blade is also the most human he’s ever been this time around. We see it in the empathy he has towards Nyssa and the conflict they face within themselves being vampires. He’s still just as driven as in the first film but he has to depend on others (Whistler, Nyssa, etc.) and that makes him a great protagonist this time. He isn’t unstoppable.
The Damaskinos Family Drama – The Damaskinos family drama is the core of the story and I can see where del Toro probably took inspiration from this in “Hellboy 2” as that also has a family drama at the core. Eli the Lord and Patriarch wants to make the “perfect” vampires who have no vulnerabilities. He is willing to risk his daughter Nyssa and all vampires to get there. Out of that was born Nomak and the hunger that comes with his artificial state. This leads to Nomak’s revenge after Nyssa turns against her father as she sees Nomak’s revenge quest as just.
The Tragedy of Jared Nomak – Jared Nomak was created by Lord Damaskinos who then sends Blade an the Bloodpack after him. This doesn’t stop Eli from gaslighting him though as we come to understand why Nomak is so driven. He has a hunger he can’t control and is alone. Vampires only want to use him and even Blade refuses to listen to him. In this way his end was given but I appreciate the tragic villain he is. Luke Goss does a great job and I can see why del Toro brought him back to play the Elven Prince in “Hellboy 2.”
Nyssa’s Redemption – Leonor Varela is great at giving us the complex vampire. She has some level of not liking what she is and the hunger but she also cares for her people. We see open racism from the Bloodpack against people who weren’t born vampires but never from her. Her and her best friend Asad are the “good” in the Bloodpack. This continues as Blade saves her twice and that changes her perspective. In the end she turns against her father and chooses death for her family’s wrongs. It is sad but her ending is powerful as she dies seeing the sunrise. This is a great example of how to do a “Redemption = death” arc right.
Some Special Effects – What makes most of the special effects work in this film is the fact that they are practical. A Reaper gets dissected at one point and you see how they have transformed and only have the hunger. The problem is when action scenes slow down or action is focused on. When the action is quick the CGI is fine but any scene that lingers for too long with CGI present stands out as bad. This is the only real con to the film though.
I did not expect to have a sequel to “Blade” be a favorite film of mine, but here we are. Goyer’s script is juggling a lot of characters and plot threads and betrayals but still pulls them all together. This is all while giving us a sympathetic villain and the threats to Blade feel like actual threats. This is everything a horror action film should be. I’m not looking forward to “Blade 3” but I’m glad that del Toro got to create this amazing film.
Final Score: 9.6 / 10