The UnPopular Opinion: Blade Trinity
I have always been a fan of the BLADE series, especially the portrayal of the titular Daywalker by Wesley Snipes. Despite only appearing onscreen for less than 45 minutes in each movie, Snipes made his presence felt. From the techno-noir feel of BLADE to the HELLBOY-esque phantasmagoria of Guillermo Del Toro's BLADE II, the series gave us the most entertaining vampire movies in a long time, something ruined soon after by the UNDERWORLD and TWILIGHT franchises. BLADE: TRINITY served as the conclusion to the New Line take on the series and now that Disney and Marvel have the rights, we may see another take on BLADE sometime in the future. But, for now we have three films to enjoy, all of which I love quite a bit.
BLADE: TRINITY has never been considered the strongest of the BLADE films, but I find it to be as strong as the original BLADE and better than BLADE II. Guillermo Del Toro fanboys are likely going to rip me a new one for this, but BLADE II doesn't feel like a BLADE movie to me. Sure, it features Snipes and vampires, but the stark contrast between the traditional vampires and the Reapers makes the film feel like a standalone mission and not a true sequel to Stephen Norrington's original. BLADE: TRINITY, however, feels like a direct follow up to the first film, skipping the events of Del Toro's sequel. Everything is amped up to make this a blowout ending to the series and it works exactly as anticipated.
Outta prison and already looking to cut a bitch.
In keeping with the tradition in comic book movies of adding more characters, BLADE: TRINITY introduces us to the Nightstalkers, a team of vampire hunters featuring Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel). Reynolds delivers his trademark smart-ass dialogue while Biel makes using a bow and arrow sexy well before Jennifer Lawrence did in THE HUNGER GAMES. Both characters bring a missing element of humanity to the BLADE universe. Kris Kristofferson's Whistler leaves the party early in the film which leaves room for some young blood to join the good guys. Both actors are considered more attractive than they are talented, but I find them both genuinely likeable on screen in BLADE: TRINITY, especially Reynolds. Biel is a stronger comic heroine than most of what Marvel has put on the screen, holding her own with the big boys better than Black Widow or even Pepper Potts.
As far as villains go, BLADE: TRINITY brings out the biggest baddie of them all: Dracula. Dominic Purcell's Drake is at once a psychotic mastermind like BLADE'S Deacon Frost but also a formidable physical opponent like BLADE II's Nomak (Luke Goss). Throughout the series, Blade has seemed like he has been fighting vampires as a whole versus one true opponent. Whether it be the vampire clans or the Reapers, the bloodsuckers have not truly had an enemy that seemed capable of going toe to toe with Blade. Drake has some henchmen in the form of Jarko Grimwood (Triple H) and Danica Talos (Parker Posey) who represent the midlevel baddies, Dracula is the top of the food chain enemy that feels like the first true villain in the trilogy. As he did with Deacon Frost, screenwriter David S. Goyer took a classic character from the comic books and transformed Dracula into an original take on the creation. While I enjoyed Stephen Dorff's bad guy, Drake is just a better realized adversary.
Deleted scene from the series finale of PRISON BREAK.
BLADE: TRINITY marks David S. Goyer taking over the directing duties for the first time in the series. Goyer has always shown more aptitude as a screenwriter than a director. TRINITY represented his second gig as a director which led to legal disputes with star Wesley Snipes over the direction the film took. Snipes thought Blade took a backseat in his own movie and too many characters were introduced. Obviously Goyer stayed on as director, but if a new BLADE were to be made, I doubt it would involve both Snipes and Goyer. With Goyer venturing deep into DC territory with his work on THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy and MAN OF STEEL, Snipes would be the one more likely to come back. I cannot envision any actor playing Blade the way Snipes did. His quiet intensity is perfect for this part and he never loses that edge in any of the three films. TRINITY represents his most emotional portrayal in the three movies which gives this final chapter a feeling of character progression that was lacking in the two prior films.
While BLADE and BLADE II had scores that fit the movies well, BLADE: TRINITY has the most memorable score thanks to involvement from The RZA. BLADE will always be remembered for the New Order remix that played during the blood rave scene, but if you listen to the actual Mark Isham score as well as Marco Beltrami's for the second movie and they both pale compared to Ramin Djawadi and The RZA's heavy, atmospheric action soundtrack for the final movie.
Guess which of these three didn't sleep with Scarlett Johansson.
My only problem with BLADE: TRINITY was the ending to the film. Having the villain basically save Blade from the human race so he can continue his fight seemed like a too neat resolution to the bleak trilogy. The much better Director's Cut features an ambiguous ending where you are unsure if Blade is still a hero or if he has given into his dark side. A third ending involving werewolves will not be discussed here. Even with the theatrical ending in place, I still thoroughly enjoyed BLADE: TRINITY.
As far as Marvel properties go, BLADE remains the sole success with an R rating. For any naysayer who does not think there could be a quality take on The Punisher or Daredevil should look no further than BLADE. BLADE: TRINITY is the most comic book oriented of the three vampire films and should stand as a template for the grittier characters Marvel would hope to develop. I would highly recommend a double feature of BLADE and BLADE: TRINITY. Save BLADE II for a HELLBOY marathon.