AKA: Blade 2
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Fight choreographer: Donnie Yen
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Luke Goss, Leonor Varela, Donnie Yen
Wesley Snipes returns as Blade, a man who became a vampire at birth, so he has the creatures' strengths but none of their weaknesses. Blade is kind of a vampire vigilante, taking out any "nests" he finds, so it comes as a surprise when a vampire leader (Leonor Varela) asks him to help destroy a new race of mutated vampires who are intent on destroying both humans and vampires.
The first Blade was an excellent movie. It was a unique take on the vampire mythos, had a nice look and feel to it, and delivered some great action. Happily, Blade II is one of the few sequels that surpasses the original. It offers up everything from the first -- just more of it. This is not to say that Blade II is merely a reguritation of the first movie. The plot is different enough and some new characters (especially the mutant vampires, who have a very unique way of sucking blood) suitably set it apart without losing the flavor of the original.
Blade II is nearly wall-to-wall action and gore, and besides a cheesy CGI-tweaked fight near the beginning, it's good stuff all the way. Particular favorites of mine included a sequence in a S&M club where vampires torture themselves in some unsettling ways, and a Once Upon a Time in China-inspired brawl on scaffolding between Blade and the mutant leader (who is chillingly played by Luke Goss). There is a bit of the Hollywood "shooting everything too close and editing everything too fast" problem, but overall the movie is technically solid, and the fights are exciting due to Donnie Yen's solid choreography and Wesley Snipes' (a real-life black belt) formidable martial arts skills.
Things aren't perfect here, however. Nitpickers will find some flaws with the story -- mostly dealing with Kris Kristofferson's "Whistler" character, who is brought back from the first movie in a hokey fashion, and there are some attempts at romance and comedy which sometimes fall flat. Even with these problems, Blade II is a great Hollywood action flick with a bit of Hong Kong flavor to it. Compared to many recent anemic US PG-13 action and horror junk, it's a much needed shot in the arm for both genres.
Note: if you are watching this movie to see Donnie Yen in action, don't get too excited. His role -- as one of the "Blood Pack" who teams up with Blade -- is really nothing more than a cameo. Besides a short fight (which is intercut with several other ones), his screen time adds up to only a few minutes and he has no lines at all.
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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