One of the earliest genres and themes in film history was the vampire horror story. This noble lineage can be traced back to the silent film days. Like many long lived family trees some of the more recent branches could use a little trimming. Such is the case with the latest, and hopefully last, installment of the Blade saga. It’s not so much that the franchise didn’t warrant a capstone third film but this flick just got lost along the way. Once again Blade (Wesley Snipes) is caught between two worlds. As a half-vampire/half-human he has inherited all the strengths of the vampires with none of their weaknesses, he is able to move about in the daylight, has super strength and agility and is immune to such vamp banes as garlic and silver. I guess this means Blade could hide from his perennial enemies the Vampire Nation is an Italian restaurant. Yes, the vampires have their own organization, this time lead by Danica Talos (Parker Posey). It’s a good thing she can’t go out in the daytime; she would be immediately attacked by any hair stylist that happened upon her. Since the Vampire Nation has been unable to kill Blade in the past they decided to let the Federal government take care of things for them. By providing the FBI with a tape of Blade killing a human, actually a vampire familiar, Blade is now wanted for about twelve hundred murders. All this is to keep Blade out of the vamps fangs while they hunt for the progenitor of them all, the original Dracula (Dominic Purcell). His vampire DNA is so pure and powerful that he can operate in the daytime. It seems that Danica and crew want to engage in a little vampire gene therapy.
Now what would a third installment be without some fresh blood. True to the format of the Blade movies Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) once again is killed off. It seems that he leaves behind a daughter Abigail (Jessica Biel) who has trained with one purpose in mind, be the next vampire slayer. She is joined with Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), an ex vampire who was cured by the same serum that restored Whistler back in the second film. Abby is expert at archery and martial arts, using a light saber like bow to zap the vampires. Hannibal fights his way out of most situations cracking jokes along the way. They naturally join forces with a reluctant, ‘I work alone’, Blade. It seems that there must be a real estate agent out there that caters to super hero and villain hideouts. Blade is housed in a huge warehouse complete with a myriad of catwalks and more electrical power than most cities have. I have to wonder where he comes up with the rent each month. The trio goes out into the night not only to clear Blade’s name but to hunt down the master of all vampires and spot their nefarious plan exploding more vampires than Buffy could ever dream about.
The casting here for the most part seems scientifically calculate to bring in the widest demographic possible. Every film that stars Wesley Snipes he is always the epitome of cool (possible exception here is Wong Foo). He has an attitude that just jumps off the screen. Few actors can pull off the black leather outfit they way he does. If you read the graphic novels that this series is based upon you have to picture Snipes in this role. The two younger leads are trying to break into new acting territory, action films. Ryan Reynolds is a brilliant comedic actor. I have been a fan of his since seeing him in a funny yet largely overlooked television series ‘Two guys and a girl’. Now know best for his performance in Van Wilder. He brings that sense of comedy here affording some much needed relief to the almost constant bloodshed this flick contains. To be fair, he did buff up for this role and he is quite capable here. Speaking of buffing up Jessica Biel obviously did a lot of training for this role. She has been trying to shed the good girl image she gained in the long running 7th Heaven by taking a lot of roles in less than critically acclaimed horror flicks. Here her main purpose is to give the guys something to look at as she kills the vamps in her fetish inspired outfits. The two of them fight and bicker as the world as we know it is about to be destroyed. Parker Posey once was the undisputed queen of independent films. Now, she has been taking quirky roles, usually as an overly domineering female of some authority. She plays Danica in the traditional over the top fashion but her talent makes it work.
The director of this opus is David S. Goyer. While this is his sophomore effort in the director’s chair he has a long resume as a writer of horror flicks. Among his credits are all three Blade flicks as well as the soon to be released Batman Returns. While his scripts are somewhat predictable considering the genre he manages to keep the kinetic energy always set to maximum. The use of techno pounding music is somewhat distracting, it gives too much of a feel of a video game instead of a serious film. The overall pacing was off here. Instead of a roller coaster feel, action waxing and waning, giving the audience a chance to recover some, there is a headlong rush to get to the blood parts. The exposition is lost, not there is much story line in the first place. Hopefully, Goyer will have some better vehicles ahead of him, he has the talent, he just needs a place to show it off.
New Line does know how to master a DVD. The audio pounds with a visceral impact that is not only heard but felt, the channel separation is far above average. The sound field that is created is exceptional. The audio is presented in Dolby 5.1 and DTS ES. The DTS does provide much better back field. The video is very well done with no visible artifacts, quite a feat considering all the CGI inter cut scenes and fast paced action. The two commentaries where nothing special, pretty much just some details of the production, there is also a blooper reel that shows how the cast and crew blew off some steam. The two alternate endings where actual not up to the one they went with. New Line is releasing both a rated and unrated version. Surely, most out there will go for the unrated. If you have the other two get this to complete the set. For the rest of you out there, go with the first Blade.