Combustible Celluloid
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With: Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell, Triple H, Natasha Lyonne, John Michael Higgins, James Remar
Written by: David Goyer
Directed by: David Goyer
MPAA Rating: R for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content
Running Time: 114
Date: 12/07/2004

Blade: Trinity (2004)

1 Star (out of 4)

'Blade' Bummer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Why is it so hard to make a decent trilogy? Out of the dozens crankedout over the past several decades, only a couple has made it to thethird chapter with any sense of integrity intact. The Bladefranchise, starring Wesley Snipes as a day-walking half-vampire whohunts other vampires, has so far worked well as a terrific"B"-level entertainment. Blade II (2002), especially,benefited from the personality of its director, Guillermo Del Toro. Nowhere comes Blade: Trinity and it looks like they didn't eventry.

The muddled plot has something to do with a gang of vampires -- led by a scenery-devouring Parker Posey -- trying to frame Blade for the murder of a human. At the same time they resurrect the first vampire, Dracula, now known as "Drake" (Dominic Purcell), whose presence serves several plot strands. I stated earlier this year that Van Helsing had the worst screen Dracula of all time, and that still holds true, but the one in Blade: Trinity comes in a close second.

The bad guys kill Blade's longtime sidekick, the crusty Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). A new team of younger vampire hunters, including the sexy Abigail (Jessica Biel) and the supremely annoying Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), come along to take his place.

Screenwriter David S. Goyer -- who wrote all three Blade films as well as co-writing Dark City (1998) and the upcoming Batman Begins -- now takes over the directorial duties. It's as if his new job nullified his scriptwriting duties; the dialogue sounds as if it were dreamed up by a team of pro wrestlers. Every word spoken in the film is either expositional or some kind of bragging, as if characters constantly needed to re-assure themselves of their toughness and manliness.

Goyer even botches the non-speaking scenes. His action scenes are lazy and sloppy, and no amount of slow-motion shots of Blade stalking down a corridor will make up for it. Not to mention that the story doesn't hold water; Goyer leaves all kinds of plot threads -- such as Blade's frame-up -- merely dangling. And then the movie just gets plain stupid. At one point, during a fight with Blade, Drake morphs from human form into some kind of giant, red, thorny creature -- and then gives Blade a head-butt.

The first two Blade movies thrived on their energy and style and a certain sense of comic book independence. Now the series has grown lethargic and careless; it can barely disguise the spite it shows toward its audience.

DVD Details: New Line has released this film in both "unrated and "rated R" editions. The unrated version has about ten more minutes of added footage, though I couldn't see that any of it helped. Viewers can also view the "R" rated cut if they so choose. The unrated cut comes with two commentary tracks from Goyer, Biel, Reynolds and others. The sound mix includes both 5.1 and DTS 6.1 with optional English and Spanish subtitles. The bonus second disc comes with a 16-part behind-the-scenes documentary (106 minutes), a blooper reel, an alternate ending, galleries, trailers, a featurette: "Goyer on Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director" and DVD-Rom features (accessible only with PCs). Best of all, the DVD comes packaged with a new, exclusive mini-comic book that's better than the movie, though it's not for kids.

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