Monday, August 22, 2011

Movie Review: Blade: Trinity (2004)

But everyone knows the movies are full of crap. The truth is, it started with Blade, and ended with him,” the Narrator says as Blade: Trinity opens. “The rest of us were just along for the ride.” This can’t be more true. Why the hell are all these other imbeciles in this movie?

What would you think if you watched a movie start out with the need to introduce a strobe effect into a situation that could never possibly have a strobe as the opening scene of the movie? If you thought that they were out of tricks before the movie even started, you’d be right. Blade: Trinity wants to grow up to be Blade but it’s just not there yet.

That’s really all there is to say: a poor rehash of the original, with new names and famous faces such as Triple H, Jessica Biel and Patton Oswalt. You’ve got the dumb, muscle guy a la Quinn played by Triple H, the relatively genius leader with extra immunities like La Magra and Nomak, and you’ve got the vampire bitch, who is actually incredibly psychotic and possibly a hermaphrodite. There you go, it’s got all the markings of a Blade movie. Except for a plot, direction, and a half-assed love interest.

In fact, you can even judge this one by its cover: Blade, Abigail and Hannibal just scream “generic action sequel”. That’s really all it is. What’s unique about this movie? The sexually ambiguous comic relief third main character? The way the “perfect” Dracula feels the need to imitate Frost and throw a helpless baby in the air to escape Blade? It certainly wasn’t the fact that every time someone was told “no one’s gonna help you now”, the cavalry showed up. Wait, I figured it out: it’s the fact that there was sunlight in a vampire interrogation room!

The film starts off with a prologue in which Triple H and Parker Posey, two of the new vampire leaders, among others, are acting way over the top as ignorant thugs as they enter a pyramid in Iraq. They find traces of a body, which proceeds to reach through the ground and pull the tech guy’s face off. Naturally, the headless tech guy promptly explodes.

Cue pointless strobe effect.

Right off the bat we can tell that the effects and at least some of the action here are shot for shot on par with the original. It’s still the opening credits, of course, but so far it gives a positive indication of what’s to come. We learn that Blade is being set up, but in the process we learn something even more important: [*censored for SFW version*]! That’s right, Blade: Trinity has Tourette’s Syndrome. Every scene that is intended to be dramatic, comedic, or just there, somebody needs to swear at the top of their lungs. Although I have to agree with the familiar that spouts, “Why aren’t you smarter… DUMB S***!” because that really applies to anybody who’s watching this movie.

While we are discussing the swearing, let’s talk about how EXTREME this movie is. Blade: Trinity is like a 90s movie made in the 2000s. That means that not only must everything be over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall, “kill ‘em all let God sort ‘em out”, but it also must be offensive to black people (and those aware of black people), and swear at the top of its lungs at all times. Perhaps these are the “improvements” made in the Unrated version, in which case, they weren’t needed.

The acting is all over the place. Wesley Snipes comes off as a griping old man, complaining about things like “look at the way you’re dressed”, despite berating Whistler for being an old man who worries too much earlier on. Kris Kristoffserofsf… Whistler himself stumbles over his lines at times, almost as if he’s not sure what to make of the script. The series is obviously past its prime, giving true meaning to the film’s tagline, “Where it began so shall it end.” This film should have ended where it began, too.

The newcomers range from Triple H, to Jessica Biel, to Patton Oswalt. They were really going all over the place to bring in a hip, young crowd to watch this movie. Triple H’s performance is ridiculous and laughable on its own, but when you add in the way Ryan Reynolds (with no super strength or anything like that, by the way) wrestles him into submission… this really was not a good career move for him. Jessica Biel is dressed decidedly boyish for the vast majority of the film, and this has to be the only unrated movie in all of history to include Biel in a shower scene and not show any more skin than any other movie would show while she was fully dressed.

As for Patton Oswalt, you can’t help but feel sorry for him watching his scenes. I can just imagine how it went:

Hey, Patton, you want to be in the next Blade movie?” “Yeah, sure, that sounds like it kicks ass. Of course I want in on that!” “Okay, here’s the script.” “Um… I thought I was the standup comic here.” “Just read the lines.” “Um… okay…”

He really looks like he is trying his best to make garbage sound like roses. Of course, he fails horribly at it, but you can see he’s trying. The other leads, Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King and Parker Posey as Danica Talos, are both primarily comedy relief. Honestly… the movie could have gone without both of them. Actually, the movie could have done without the vast majority of characters. Really, the movie would have been far better if they couldn’t find a cast… wishful thinking…

I almost forgot the villain, Dracula. Sorry, “Drake”. Drake is what you would get if you mixed a Yautja from the Predator films, Darth Maul, and Twilight together. He wears tight pants and shows more cleavage than every female character in this film put together, including that cashier from the Hot Topic knock-off (that scene, by the way, apparently exists only because there’s not enough footage of Drake doing anything remotely intimidating in the rest of the film).

Drake is something else. Or rather, he’s not. Like the first film, we’re faced with such a credible villain that he needs to use a hostage, an infant thrown into the air, to get away from Blade, despite all his talk about respecting honor. This might make sense for the average villain, but this guy is being built up as the most dangerous thing since the Big Bang. Not to mention that one of the most common symbols to be found in the modern day, the cross, hurts Drake, and apparently only Drake… except when he is the one wearing it. Dracula is, in fact, a little girl.

Speaking of which, this film is riddled with sexual commentary, without any of the “hot” sexual scenes of the first (although there is an orgasm in mid-feed). Not only do vaginal dentata earn a referential appearance, but sexual jokes (you know, like when the eleven year old you called the kid on the other side of the bus “gay”, with about the same level of comebacks) seem to be about the maturity level here. It is strongly implied that Danica has a penis, but if she does, it seems to be a rather small one, as she declares herself to be suffering from penis envy. Doctor Vance asks Blade if drinking blood gets him sexually aroused, to which Blade should have responded “only if it’s my mother’s”. Drinking his serum, in fact, does not arouse him, as a close-up on Blade’s crotch shows us.

When we’re not making dick jokes, the tone of the movie is set by slow motion and strobe effects. Matrix ripoffs are not infrequent, and just like the Matrix, anybody who sees a vigilante in shades shooting up a street and appears to honestly believe him to be a sociopath (which, of course, Blade actually is) is actually connected to vampires. Because, you know, nobody in their right mind would see a man walking around shooting people while raving about vampires and think “maybe somebody should stop that…”

To sum it all up… no. If you watched Blade, you’ve watched Blade: Trinity, without having to go through the embarrassment that is Blade: Trinity. It barely pretends to be a movie. I guess it wasn't until the Batman films that Goyer learned to do something other than write the same movie over again.

The Man in Black is a regular reviewer at Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' News & Reviews. More of his content can be found at Man in Black Reviews.


Charles Gramlich said...

Well, I watched it. Don't remember a lot about it. Thought it was OK for an action movie. Nothing special, of course.

Michael Offutt said...

I didn't like Blade: Trinity. Saw it once and that was all I needed.