Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Commentary track with director
Del Torro and writer David Goyer; Commentary track with producer
Peter Fankfurt and Wesley Snipes.
Disc Two: Isolated score; Interactive reproduction of director's
notes with intro by Del Torro; Interactive collection of original
production documents (A Pact in Blood); Art gallery; Original
theatrical press kit; Deleted/alternate scenes; Cypress Hill and
Roni Size music video; Theatrical trailers.
IT'S not very often that a sequel can be said to genuinely surpass
its original in terms of concept, freshness and all-round enjoyability
(see the debate in Scream 2 as evidence), but Blade 2 most definitely
While observing all the rules of the sequel genre (more action,
more special effects, more blood - lots more blood), Guillermo
del Toro's rip-roaring follow-up to Stephen Norrington's 1999
cult favourite actually manages to emerge with an identity all
of its own; rather like James Cameron's Aliens
did after Ridley Scott's Alien.
Picking up a couple of years after the original left off, Blade
2 finds Wesley Snipes's mixed-up anti-hero in Prague, pursuing
his quest to slay all vampires and to track down his father figure,
Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), who looked to have bitten the bullet
last time around.
But when a new threat to the vampire nation emerges (a type of
super-vamp led by, wait for it (!), Luke Goss of Bros fame), Blade's
sworn enemies turn to him as an ally in their bid to save themselves
from the ultra-nasty bloodsuckers, before humans form the next
part of the food chain.
And so the scene is set for Blade
and his new army of slayers (much like the marines in Aliens)
to march into battle against The Reapers, a mutated form of vampire
who are immune to silver and garlic and who have a mouth within
a mouth to inflict the maximum damage to victims.
Whether Blade can trust his new allies (led by Ron Perlman, on
Alien Resurrection form), or even members of his own crew, is
another question entirely, however, as Blade's presence among
the vampire elite seems to form part of a much wider game plan.
Blade 2, while corny in places, manages to avoid most of the
pitfalls of the dreaded sequel territory. For starters, it is
far more than just a simple re-tread through the finer moments
of the original, while its energy is as insatiable as the blood
lust of its protagonists.
Del Toro (rapidly emerging as one of the coolest horror directors
around after Mimic and The Devil's
Backbone) opens proceedings at breakneck speed - with one
dizzying set piece to follow another - and seldom lets up throughout,
so that the pitfalls in acting are more than compensated by
the breathless abandon of its action sequences. He also injects
proceedings with a nice line in black humour, and only rarely
drifts into cliche.
On the down side, the movie is devoid of any genuine emotion
(Blade's inner turmoil is only touched upon, while the family
betrayals which emerge towards the finale have very little impact),
but then this is cartoon-style mayhem, with Blade, in particular,
capable of emerging pretty much unscathed from the worst his
enemies have to throw at him.
Special effects-wise, the movie also delivers, with The Creapers,
in particular, likely to emerge in years to come as one of the
classic creature creations of recent years, while del Toro's
use of lighting and music creates a suitably sinister and pumped-up
mood - Crystal Method's 'Calling All Freaks' is especially effective
while Wesley lays waste to a room full of villains.
Viewers of a nervous disposition are advised to steer well
clear, as are those with weak stomachs (for this really is blood-soaked
fare), but for anyone seeking an adrenalin-fix on a par with
The Matrix, then this provides
plenty to sink your teeth into.