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A more appropriate title for Trinity
would be, Blade: Babysitter.
Review written by: Alex Sandell
Who the fuck is Ryan Reynolds and what the hell is he doing acting in a Blade movie? Why is Jessica Biel replacing Kris Kristofferson? Last time I looked, Blade (Wesley Snipes) didn't need two snot-nosed punks, quick with the zingers, to help him fight legions of vampires. Nothing personal against Biel or Reynolds -- they both do good in their respective roles (Biel has the potential to become this decade's top female action star), but was either role necessary?
The Blade films were refreshing in that they featured a cast too old to make the rounds at TRL and to pump their product on MTV Diary. That was part of the charm of the series and the main thing that kept it from being compared to that other popular vampire slayer series. If people want to watch a bunch of 20-somethings making with the funnies before slaying their vampires, they have seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to stare at. When it comes to vampire slaying with quick wit and good fashion sense, nothing is ever going to top Buffy. But, David S. Goyer was so determined to try, he scrapped what made the first two Blade films he wrote so much fun and replaced it with a cast and soundtrack that only a 14-year-old mall-rat could love.
It's a shame to see another series sell itself short to please the MTV demographic. Goyer, somehow convinced that Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson were too old to carry a movie on their own (even though the second Blade made hundreds of millions of dollars and was an even bigger hit than the first), came up with this ill-conceived "trinity" concept and went out looking for a couple of youthful actors to bring it to life. Enter Reynolds and Biel, whose characters team up with Snipe's Blade, to form the uneasy "trinity" mentioned in the film's ugly title.
Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel) is Abraham Whistler's (Kris Kristofferson) daughter. She's basically Buffy, without the funky slayer powers, well-written character arc, or reason for existing. Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) is less a character than he is a walking one-liner. Spitting out contrived wisecracks is apparently the only reason he earned his spot as the third leg on the Blade tripod. Hannibal King spits out more stupid jokes per-second than Robin Williams did on stage during his days on cocaine. This character, and his "humor," nearly makes the movie unwatchable. Reynolds has good delivery, but bad lines. If I wanted to see a bad comedy, I'd go to Christmas with the Kranks.
Blade's primary function in the film is to say what Goyer rightfully suspected a large part of the audience would be thinking. Blade wonders aloud why he needs to work with a couple of kids. He makes fun of their ill-conceived group moniker and attempts at humor (he's particularly upset over Whistler's "Hi My Name Is 'Fuck You'" sticker). "Is that supposed to be funny," he asks. The film's own screenwriter was too uneasy about the new direction he was taking the series in to answer the question himself.
The audience answers the question for him. The applause and laughter that fills the theater during the early parts of the film literally comes to a halt the second Hannibal King makes his entrance and they never return. The best scene of the film happens just prior to King's introduction. Blade is being questioned by a Psychiatrist. He's being asked all the typical questions to check his sanity "what day is it?, what year?" etc. etc. Blade's finally asked if he knows who the President is. Our surly hero answers, "An asshole." The audience was uproarious over the line.
The pre-trinity moments of Blade: Trinity work like a well-oiled machine. The relationship between Whistler (Kristofferson) and Blade works the same magic that it did in the first two films. The character of Blade, working solo, is still a marvel (pun intended) to behold. Wesley Snipes hasn't forgotten how to play this character. And then, with an abruptness that hurts like a catheter being yanked from a bladder, the film gets rid of Whistler, cuts back on Blade's screen time and begins aiming for a younger, dumber target demographic.
If Guillermo del Toro finished his work on Hellboy early enough to direct the third installment of the Blade series, I think we would have seen an entirely different picture. Guillermo brought a certain poetry to the series with the second installment. He took Blade a step beyond the comic book world he was born in and placed the "daywalker" into a serious vampire film with a little bit of Shakespeare, a little bit of Frankenstein, and a whole lot of blood. He also brought patience, pacing and experience. Blade: Trinity is David S. Goyer's first major film as a director, and it shows.
Giving Goyer creative control as writer AND director was a huge mistake. Based on his directing in Trinity, Goyer spent a weekend watching videos on Headbanger's Ball, taking notes and developing delusions of grandeur -- this is sloppy cinema at its worst! Like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off were behind the cameras and calling the shots. Time-lapse photography, fast-motion shots, slow-motion shots, overhead zooms, close-ups, distance-shots; all in the space of a minute or two ... my god, put that camera down, figure out a style and stick with it! Please?
To make up for his sophomoric level of filmmaking, Goyer PLASTERS the movie with techno/metal/crappy music. This leads to one of the most shameless product placements in cinematic history. It appears that Abigail likes to upload songs to her Ipod for her own personal slaying soundtrack. The entire scene is a blatant ad for the Ipod and the horrid soundtrack to the film. It also doesn't make any sense, being that a vampire slayer would never put on earphones and mute the sounds of approaching baddies. After the lush orchestral soundtrack in Blade II, this heavy metal, rap, techno, "trip-hop" trash hybrid was a real let-down. It's as overused as Hannibal King's one-liners and almost as obnoxious.
One-liners, loud music, fast edits -- they're all used as Band-Aids to cover up a tepid screenplay. Did David S. Goyer take stupid pills since writing the first two films?
We have Dracula, the ultimate vampire, known in this film as Drake, as the big bad. All these powers he has, shape-shifting, super-strength, no need to evolve, are underused. He didn't seem STRONG enough. He didn't seem EVIL enough. The Reapers in the second film were far more threatening. Nomak put up a better fight at the end of the second Blade than Dracula does at the end of the third. And this is supposed to be the PERFECT vampire? I don't think so. To add insult to injury, he looks like an extra from Saturday Night Fever.
Don't even get me started on Parker Posey's terrible performance as the vampire chick who revives Dracula. She looks (and sounds) drunk throughout the film and her goofy looking frown had the audience laughing at her, not with her, almost immediately. Was she trying to be campy, or did she just forget how to act? Triple H? The fact that Goyer lowered himself to casting a professional wrestler in his film shows where his priorities are at. Guillermo del Toro brought Ron Perlman to the series. David S. Goyer gives us Triple H. 'Nuff said.
Now that I've spent 12 paragraphs venting, let me tell you what there is to like about Blade: Trinity. First of all, there's Blade. Outside of a terribly out of character moment he has with an infant, he's pretty much the same badass he was in the others. Next, there's Whistler. Not Abigail, but Abraham. He's only in the movie for five or ten minutes, but he makes every one of them count. Blade chasing Drake, on foot, from building to building, was a fun scene, but it's also a missed opportunity to show Drake as evil incarnate. The opening scene with Blade, the vamps, Whistler, a big-rig truck and a car with UV headlights was fucking spectacular, and enough to get a person's hopes up WAY too high for the rest of the film. And then there are those wonderfully whacky vampire dogs. If the scenes with the canine vamps don't have you laughing, nothing will.
Blade: Trinity is what it is. It was obviously created less for diehard vampire fans and more for a teenybopper audience. Still, it had the balls to come out with an "R" rating, a ton of bad language, a decent amount of violence (although it isn't nearly as violent as the first two) and Blade's trademark bad attitude. It didn't soften its lead character, although it did minimalize him. Would I recommend it to a general audience? No. Do I think it's worth checking out, for fans of the first two films? It depends on how much shit they're willing to swallow to see Blade in action, one last time. Hopefully, if people do check it out, they'll attend a matinee. This blade's too dull to make the cut, at full-price.
Agree? Disagree? Have questions? Comments? Email this critic at firstname.lastname@example.org
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