Blade 2 (2002), Cert 18.

Director - Guillermo Del Toro.

Writer - David S. Goyer.

Starring - Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus & Luke Goss.


Premise - Taking off almost exactly where the original movie ended, we meet The Daywalker, Blade (Wesley Snipes) as he is in Eastern Europe searching for his friend Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). What he finds however, is that a mutant strain of vampires is on the loose, The Reapers. Led by the charismatic Nomak (Luke Goss), The Reapers feed of vampires as well as humans. A problem that sees the vampire council dispatch The Bloodpack (a group of vampires trained to hunt Blade) to join with The Daywalker to destroy this new scourge.

Blade is a film that is pretty much single handily responsible for the glut of comic book theme movies that we are currently wading through at the multiplex. Without the first movie there may well not have been an X-Men or a Spider-Man. It's fitting then, that with how saturated the comic book movie scene is that we finally see a sequel to the mostly good Blade.

I was thinking, what has Wesley Snipes done between the Blade movies? Nothing much springs to mind, I've never really rated him highly as an actor and his action movies have for the most part been uninspiring. Snipes himself must therefore be pushing Hardest for a third Blade film as he seems to have been born to play this part. He seems so at home in the black leather that it's hard to think of anyone else that could adequately play the role.

Snipes is ably supported by Kris Kristofferson who returns as his best friend and father figure, Whistler. "Huh?", I can hear you muttering. "How can Whistler be back? He died in Blade!", and you would be right. Whistler did die in the first movie and I was as skeptical as the next guy by his inclusion and how they would explain it. My fears were quelled in the first five minutes as the explanation is not only plausible (I won't detail it here), but sets up some nice moments later in the film. Kristofferson does well, as he did in the first film and he adds some gravity to the film.

In Whistlers absence a guy called Scud has been making Blades weapons and gadgets. Scud is played by Norman Reedus and whilst he is serviceable enough he reminded me of Stephen Dorff from the first movie so much I just couldn't shake it.

Speaking of Stephen Dorf, I loved his bad guy from the first flick. One of the best comic book movie bad guys ever, it was going to take something special to beat that. Well, Nomak is something special, special enough to just ease himself past Dorf, it's close mind. I'm not sure if those of you from over the Atlantic will be aware of this but the actor who plays Nomak has something of a shady past. In the late 80's early 90's Luke Goss was the drummer in a boy band called 'Bros'. They tortured the charts with such 'tunes' as 'Drop The Boy', 'Cat Amongst The Pigeons' and 'When Will I Be Famous'. In the latter’s case it would seem 12 years would have been a feasible answer.

I fully expected Luke Goss to be horrible in this movie. The closest thing to acting I had seen him do was a car advert a few years back, which hardly stretched any acting muscles he may have been hiding. I have to say though that I was pleasantly surprised by Goss. Sure, he's nothing stunning, but much like Vinnie Jones I can see him eking out a fairly successful career as a supporting player. His sniveling Nomak belies his true power and he is quite convincing.

The rest of the cast makes up what is known as The Bloodpack. The Bloodpack is a group of vampires that have been training for years to take out their arch nemesis Blade. Their ranks are made up of various unsavory characters from Lighthammer (a big lunk with a hammer), to Priest (a foul mouthed British Vampire), to Snowman (a deathly silent martial arts master, and pretty frickin cool at that). Best of the (Blood) pack though is Ron Perlman as Reindhart. Reindhart is a big bad ass, it's that simple. Take Perlman's character from Alien Resurrection (one of the best things in that train wreck of a film) and multiply it by ten and you are in the right area. He doesn't take any s**t from anyone, but as bad as he is, Blade has his number and the two share some excellent scenes.

The obligatory love interest (now that I think about it, what happened to the female from the first film?) takes an interesting new form in this film. Nyssa is not only one of The Bloodpack, but is also the daughter of the head of the vampire council. It makes for some interesting soul searching on the part of Blade as he grows more and more attracted to this woman, who is in essence the one thing that he has lived his life to destroy. Nyssa is played by the stunning Leonor Reedus and although her accent is thick she is most easy on the eye.

The original film very much had a distinctive style. It had a very clean feel to it almost sterile in parts; it was a look that worked for that movie being that it was based in the US. However with the sequel changing location to Eastern Europe we get a much darker, grittier feel. Director Guillermo Del Toro is no stranger to this kind of look. He imbued in his previous works like Cronos, Mimic and the recent The Devils Backbone. In Blade 2 however he takes it to the extreme. He takes the dark feeling through the roof with dimly lit interiors and some frankly stunning make up effects.

The Reapers themselves do not have fangs in the strictest sense, the entire bottom half of their face opens up to expose two mouths in an effect that can be best described as a cross between a Predator and an Alien. In the first movie vampires just fell apart when they were killed, in the sequel they explode in to clouds of blood and guts. Blade 2 is one hell of a gory film, perhaps at its worst in a vampire nightclub where various 'Hellraiser' style body modifications are taking place. Not a film for the weak stomached among you.

Del Toro also shows some flair when helming the films (many) action scenes. Straight from the opening battle to the final showdown we are treated to some excellent action with some stunts that have to be seen to be believed. IN order to get the movement that is required for these intricate fight scenes CGI actors have been introduced at some points. Sometimes it works brilliantly, seamlessly joining the CGI actor and their human counterpoint (the Ninja Vampires for example, I want to the thank the man that invented Ninja Vampires!), however at times it is painfully obvious when the CGI stuntman comes out to play. Clearly this technology is not where it could be just yet.

Another thing that marks the film down slightly is the films length. Clocking in at just under two hours it's a little long. After The Bloodpack have exited the movie the film loses a lot of its steam and aside from a couple of (obvious) plot twists the last 20 minutes has little to hold the attention. The climatic battle, whilst well executed is a retread of an earlier encounter. I felt that they should have left this face off for the final battle and not had a preview halfway through.

The question you’re all asking though is "Is Blade 2 better than the original?". To this I say no, but then again it's also not any worse than the first film. I rate them equally, both are very good films with some glaring flaws. However, both are ultimately different movies. Blade is a stylistic action film with comic book origins, whilst Blade 2 is more of a horror film with action tendencies. Different films, but just as good as each other.



See Blade 2 if you enjoyed - Blade (1998), The Crow (1994), Aliens (1986), The Matrix (1999).

Poster Quote - It's got plenty of bite.