Superhero Month: "Blade Trinity" Review

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

Superhero Month: "Blade Trinity" Review

-- Rating: R (strong violence, strong language, and some sexual content)
Length: 113 minutes
Release date: Dec. 8, 2004
Directed by: David S. Goyer
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller

With the start of the 2004 Christmas movie season, the ultimate vampire hunter was back on the big screens with a vengeance in "Blade Trinity," and comic book lovers and fans of the vampire genre were presented with a knockout of a series ender. David S. Goyer, the screenwriter for the "Blade" series throughout, finally took the directorial helm to show moviegoers his complete vision of the pivotal character, with help from a returning Wesley Snipes in the title role. The combination of the two manages to bring a satisfying close to the series while creating a movie that those unfamiliar with the character can still enjoy.

"Blade Trinity" is the type of movie that attracts a wide crossover audience, from those who have enjoyed years of the vampire hunter's adventures in comic form to those who simply enjoy a good horror film or thriller. It's filled with explosive action from the start; the plot begins with the successful resurrection of Drake, the first vampire, by a group of vampires looking to profit from the leadership of the only vampire in existence who was born perfect.

In the meantime, Wesley Snipes as Blade has been running from a tightening loop of humans looking to arrest him as a serial killer. The humans in the world of "Blade" as a whole have no idea of the existence of vampires and believe that Blade is killing innocent people. During one attempt to capture Blade, the hunter's mentor, Whistler, is killed. Whistler, played by a gravelly-voiced Kris Kristofferson, has been one of the driving forces behind Blade, helping him to remain alive and fight the vampires since the beginning of his quest. With Whistler dead, Blade allows himself to be captured.

During a police transfer to a trio of vampires posing as medics, Blade is rescued by a pair of fledgling hunters, Hannibal King (by Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel). Unbeknownst to Blade, the two were being trained by his mentor to lead a group of fellow hunters known as the Nightstalkers, replacing Whistler as he wound down due to age.

With the appearance of the Nightstalkers, the main plot of the movie is revealed. The vampires want more daywalkers to counter Blade, who can survive sunlight despite being half vampire. The Nightstalkers, however, have a bioweapon that can kill off all vampires, provided they can augment it with a bit of blood from Drake himself. "Blade Trinity" also has a few gruesome side plots worthy of any horror picture but also has plenty of blade-to-tooth action to keep the movie going at a bristling place.

While the stunt work in the fighting scenes will attract most of the gasps from audiences, "Blade Trinity" is very much a well-acted movie. Wesley Snipes easily slips back into the role, bringing the comic book character smoothly to life as an angst-ridden, largely humorless killing machine. He's only half vampire, but he has the strength, speed, and stamina of his vampire half. Unfortunately, he also has a bit of a thirst for blood that he constantly has to fight again, and his resolve is being worn down slowly by the never-ending violence of his life. Snipes manages to put those character traits into his acting, displaying the fight for his own humanity in the way he interacts with the Nightstalkers and others around him. The temptation is always there to embrace his vampire side fully with a few tastes of the humans around him.

The vampire Drake is a great addition to the movie's universe. Dominic Purcell portrays the character as an ancient warrior with his own code and a ruthless streak that has his surrounding vampires both fearful and worshipful of him. He almost serves as a dark mirror to Blade himself, showing power without the restraint of conscience and spouting off pages of dialogue meant to tempt Blade even further.

Reynolds and Biel play strong supporting characters, both with backstories that give the characters just enough dimension to make them interesting in and of themselves. They serve as typical action-movie sidekicks, providing a bit of a humorous break to the ultra-serious Blade. Both hold their own in the action sequences, showing a bit of flair against Blade's largely direct style.

Goyer's ending leaves a few strings dangling in the wind ready to be picked up for a continuation of the series. For the most part however, "Blade Trinity" is a well-formed finish to the Snipes-driven trilogy. It manages to provide just enough plot to keep it from being a mass of sword-fighting and explosions from end to end, but the action is plentiful enough to temp fans of the genre to return to take just one more bite from the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5