Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro
Written by: David S. Goyer
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus
I guess the enemy of my enemy who eventually wants to hurt my friends makes the enemy and the enemy’s enemy no one’s friend? I suppose this clears up the idea behind the plot of Blade II. A film with the foresight of taking the interesting elements of its predecessor to improve upon it.
Still hunting down vampires every day, Blade (Wesley Snipes) finds himself in a new predicament. The vampires come to him seeking help, as a new mutation has caused some of their kind to evolve into Reapers, which love to kill vampires. It would not worry Blade one bit seeing as he hates the vampires, only to find out these reapers will eventually turn their sights and hunger towards humans if his enemy gets wiped out. Now, Blade must team up with a crew of vampires to vanquish this new threat.
Working with the enemy must be fun, which I say with plenty of sarcasm but it must be something completely different for Blade. His passion in life revolves around the killing of vampires and now he must help them in their efforts to survive this threat they face. This film expands on the world set up in Blade and actually injects some humor into the narrative, which the first movie needed much more. The entire world established in this series of films writes its own jokes, and the creatives behind putting together this sequel found the humor hidden between all of the self-seriousness.
Part of the credit must be attributed to Guillermo Del Toro, who knows how to inject humor into his features and elevates the material he receives. David S. Goyer helmed both scripts but only one of them had the directorial attention of Del Toro. His imprint on this trilogy leaves a mark, as the action sequences appear more lively and thrilling in their composition. Everything feels lighter without losing sight of the seriousness of the task at hand. It makes me adore Del Toro even more with how he has no issues jumping into a franchise for fun and thus making the best of the lot, much like he convinced Alfonso Cuarón to do the same with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The crew Blade must team up with to take out the Reapers happen to be a collection of vampires initially assembled to specifically hunt down him down. An irony the characters realize, which naturally would create some trust issues among the group. Amid the crew we have Ron Pearlman portraying one of the vampires, which continues the incredible collaboration he has built with Del Toro. Pearlman has appeared in several Del Toro films ranging from being a minor character to the lead in the features. He truly enjoys himself in the role of Reinhardt. It feels like a similar performance to what he gives in Alien: Resurrection, but much more smarmy this time around. The banter between Reinhardt and Blade demonstrates some hateful comedic jabbing, which adds levity and danger concurrently.
Even with its improvements, Blade II still falters in similar ways its predecessor did with it not creating an interesting enough story worthy for the world built around it. Sure, the Reapers may represent the dangers of drug addiction and the forces that create environments where it can be abused, but it’s not something the story really works with through outside of my interpretation. The idea of the Reapers brings up an interesting and mysterious idea, but unfortunately, when the answer arrives, it would have been better if the reason remained ambiguous. Del Toro tried to make it more appealing, but one man can only do so much.
As the trailer states, Blade II does become faster and stronger than the previous film, because it sees the inherent silliness of everything happening in this world. It knows some laughs can be had, especially with the sort of dialogue Wesley Snipes needed to speak. These improvements make for a more entertaining and engaging sequel unafraid to embrace the weirdness of everything about its story. A good feature to take another stab at the Blade character and if you want to complete Guillermo Del Toro’s filmography, which initially led me to checking this one out. Overall, a good time if one enjoys action, hostile team-ups, and cringe one-liners.