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Blade: Trinity (Unrated Edition) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Blade: Trinity
New Line Home Entertainment
MPAA rating: R
starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell
film release year: 2004
DVD release year: 2005
film rating: Three Stars
sound/picture rating: Three-and-a-Half Stars
reviewed by: Abbie Bernstein

Based on the Marvel Comics character created by Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan, the “Blade” movies have always been more action than horror-oriented (director Guillermo Del Toro came the closest to making a scary one with “Blade 2”). The series chronicles the adventures of vampire-hating, half-vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes), a “Daywalker” with the ability to do what the title suggests. Rather than run-ins with individual vamps, the films focus on Blade’s confrontations with various aspects of the fairly intricate vampire establishment. This time, writer David S. Goyer, who also scripted the previous two editions, is at the reins. He brings in something that is reasonably entertaining yet doesn’t do much to deepen either the main character or the overall mythology.

In the “Blade” universe, the vampire community is a big, evil, competitive underground affair, with denizens at each other’s throats. They never seem to run out of ideas that could have been cooked up by Wile E. Coyote in terms of backfiring potential. This time, a vamp squad digs up a pyramid to retrieve an ancient monster who turns out to be Dracula himself (Dominic Purcell), the original progenitor of the blood-sucking species. Although Dracula eats other vampires, the new fang regime feels it’s a worthwhile risk if he’ll just take out their nemesis Blade. Meanwhile, in a Chapter 2 sequence that commences with a great big explosion as a vampire body detonates across the screen and into the left rear, Blade’s existence gets even more uncomfortable when he’s tricked into publicly killing a “familiar,” one of the humans who helps vampires. The setpiece has swell action, atmospheric foley and very punchy gunshots, as well as convincing car motor sounds and suitably massive impact as a vehicle flips, skits and hits a pillar. The fallout sees Blade becoming Public Enemy Number One. He gets help from a surprising source – a little band of vampire-hunting humans headed up by fast-moving Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), who’s the daughter of Blade’s mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), and regular-guy ex-vampire Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds).

As might be reasonably expected, “Blade: Trinity” contains plenty of neat stunts and enjoyable martial arts fights. When Biel’s Abigail takes on a vamp gang in a subway in Chapter 5, it’s a truly impressive fight and Chapters 19 and 20 are lots of smash, punch, kick, shoot and detonation-type fun for action fans of all preferences. The comparatively amiable humans make a nice contrast to Blade’s continued surliness, though some of the banter tries a little too hard. The film seems a little unbalanced at times, as Dracula’s fearsome abilities, which get all the billing and build-up, seem less troublesome for Blade than the intervention of the human authorities. There is also a crucial bit of miscasting with one of the supporting villains, played by Parker Posey. In the supplemental materials, everyone speaks highly of her, and apparently she was a lot of fun to work with, but she seems to be viewing the proceedings as such a romp that she reminds us we’re watching a movie rather than allowing us to get into it every time she appears. The upside is that this underscores how deft most of the other actors are. Snipes snarls with conviction, Biel moves smoothly and Reynolds is game as a guy who’s in slightly over his head but sees no alternative. Purcell is dignified and never overdoes it as the master vamp.

There are two discs in this release. The first contains both the theatrical cut of the film and the unrated version, which is ten minutes longer and a bit sexier and bloodier. The longer cut comes with two audio commentaries. The one with writer/producer/director Goyer and actors Biel and Reynolds is agreeable, though they tend to get caught up in what they’re watching and fall silent (the soundtrack comes up at these junctures). The other commentary, with Goyer, producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, appealingly profane cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, production designer Chris Gorak and editor Howard E. Smith, is both quite informative about the filmmaking process and a good conversation to listen in on.

The second disc contains a set of featurettes that, when viewed consecutively, add up to a feature-length documentary, covering virtually every aspect of making “Blade,” with segments on sound design and color enhancement that should be of particular interest to tech-minded viewers. The explorations of the actors’ physical training and stunt set-ups are lively and engaging. There’s some brief but pleasant interview footage with Snipes (considering that he’s suing New Line over his unhappiness with various aspects of the film, both financial and creative, this is more than might be expected). There’s also an amusing split-screen interview where Goyer as writer interviews himself as Goyer the director, an alternative ending, a blooper reel and galleries on visual effects and weapon design.

In its clear desire to keep the franchise going, “Blade: Trinity” doesn’t sum anything up and it lacks the mythic resonance that seems intended, but it’s still overall a fun exercise in flying fists, feet and fangs.

more details
sound format:
English 5.1 DTS; English 6.1 DTS
aspect ratio(s):
special features: Unrated and Theatrical Cuts of Film; Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Producer David S. Goyer and Actors Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds; Audio Commentary with Goyer, Producers David Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, Cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, Production Designer Chris Gorak and Editor Howard E. Smith; Inside the World of Blade: Trinity – Featurettes on Story Design, David Goyer, Casting, Cast Training, Set Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Facts, Weapon Design, Stunts, Editing, Visual Effects, Music, Sound Design Color Enhancement and the Future of Blade; Goyer interviewing Goyer; Alternate Ending; Bloopers; Galleries on Visual Effects and Weapons; DVD-ROM Features; English and Spanish Subtitles
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Kenwood DV-403
receiver: Kenwood VR-407
main speakers: Paradigm Atom
center speaker: Paradigm CC-170
rear speakers: Paradigm ADP-70
subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10
monitor: 27-inch Toshiba

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