Blade II (2002) - New Line Platinum Series
|Genre(s): Action / Horror|
|New Line || R - 117 minutes - $26.98 || September 3, 2002|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-09-04|
Writer(s): David S. Goyer (written by)
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Luke Goss, Leonor Varela, Matt Schulze
Theatrical Release Date: March 22, 2002
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I enjoyed the movie at home just as much as I did on the big screen.
I will say up front that I am not a fan of the "vampire" genre so I usually will not review these kinds of films but when I heard about the sequel for Blade, I was intrigued. The original was good and had its moments but I liked it for Wesley Snipes who made the Blade character his own. Scott Norrington directed the first one but was replaced by Guillero del Toro who along with new cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, made Blade II into a visual masterpiece. Blade II begins with a massive killing by Nomak (Goss), a new breed of vampire who not only feed off of vampires but they become just like him like zombies. To combat this new enemy, the vampire organization seeks out Blade to lead a group of specially trained vamps to fight Nomak.
The film, however, boxed itself in a corner last time around, so they created the story that Whistler (Kristofferson; The Joyriders) was taken by the vampires and used for blood supply and such before Blade rescues him and returns him to normal. This part was the only thing I questioned but once you get past that, the film is a lot of fun.
Blade II looks like it came straight from the page of a comic book with amazing visuals and some colorful characters. Wesley Snipes does a great job and like other comic book "super heroes" in the movies, he makes it believable. I am a fan of movies inspired by comic books and this film is only a notch below Batman (that's saying something) along with Snipes compared to Michael Keaton.
The martial arts action scenes abound the film for about an hour and forty-five minutes of the two-hour film. The martial arts in the original was slow and taught while Blade II improves on it and makes it enjoyable and not disjointed from the plot (unlike M:I 2).
I've already commented on Wesley Snipes' performance but the supporting cast also contributes. Kris Kristofferson takes his Whistler character, which is resurrected in a dumb way but is forgivable when you see how much he adds to the film. There is a gem in actress Leonor Varela as she makes her first appearance in a big budget film of this magnitude (she also was in The Tailor of Panama). Varela not only makes a deadly vampire but a capable love interest for Blade. There's a particular scene where she and Blade connect as he sacrifices a little to save her life, something that you wouldn't think would be affective, but is none the less.
Some credit needs to be given to director Guillermo del Toro who undertakes a possible successful franchise and makes it better than the original thereby setting the tone for future sequels (#3 is being planned). I would equate Toro's direction with John Woo and someday he may get that notoriety of being a martial arts action director.
Overall Blade II is an early summer bash with tons of action and violence that strays away from the normal vampire horror films. Kris Kristofferson has less to offer this time but he still does a good job and Varela also gives a good performance. I recommend Blade II to any of the fans from the original and those who don't mind a lot of gore and violence, otherwise this is not your cup of tea.
The Production Workshop is compiled of 4 different "chapters." First, The Blood Pact at almost an hour and a half is a behind the scenes featurette which utlilizes the feature New Line uses in it's other Platinum DVDs (Rush Hour 2, 15 Minutes) during the feature film. The featurette itself is pretty good and gives you information about the history behind Blade. Next are 6 Sequence Breakdowns. Each breakdown has the original script, shooting script, storyboards/ fx breakdowns, the actual scene from the movie and a mini on-the-set featurette which run between three to six minutes. They are all interesting but get tiresome after a while. The Visual Effects part is over an hour of the digital aspect of Blade II. One shows how they created a virtual Wesley Snipes and more while the other is a 53 minute "progress report" that went to director del Toro to show him how some of the molding was coming along. Last are notebooks by the director and script supervisor and aso unfilmed script pages. The notebooks have sketches of costumes, notes about the script and some other stuff I had trouble reading.
Deleted Scenes & Alternate Scenes adds up to 24 minutes. There's one scene that has a few snippets in the opening credits showing Kris Kritofferson meeting a younger Blade. I was not wild about the scenes but to be honest I would've complained if they weren't there.
Next are the Promotional Material. There are teaser and theatrical trailers, a press kit which is merely bios for the actors, an advertisement for the Blade II Video Game Survival Guide, and finally is a music video by Cyprus Hill and Ron Size.
Last are Commentary Tracks from director del Toro and producer Peter Frankfurt on one track and Snipes and screenwriter David Goyer on the other. I enjoyed Snipes and Goyer's a little more than the other mainly because they seemed to be having a good time as they talk about a particular scene or even talking about (mainly by Goyer) what should be in Blade III. The first commentary track isn't too bad and it is informative to the extent that del Toro admits he hated a couple to the digital scenes.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The sound for Blade II is excellent! The score and dialogue are equally appeasing rather than one overpowering the other. I appreciate this because if you have a loud score, you can barely hear the dialogue. The picture also is great and the set design and colors come through nicely.
I liked almost all the features except the notebook section but that one is fairly minor. The reason I am not giving the DVD 5 stars is because vampire movies overall are not my cup of tea. Although I liked the movie, I liked it mainly for the visuals rather than the story or blood. Those who love vampire movies or more importantly the Blade comic book, will love this DVD.