“Sooner or later, the thirst always wins…”
Such is the plight of the vampires, to live through the ages in search of the new blood that keeps them alive. In the first film, the vampire hunter known as Blade (Wesley Snipes) fought a renegade neck-biter whose ambitions for vampire world dominance didn’t sit well with the we-must-stay-in-the-shadows mentality of his kind’s governing body. In “Blade II”, the Daywalker reluctantly joined the enemy as part of a group trying to stop a new breed of vampires that fed on humans and vampires alike. Both films were suitably dark but, except for a few scenes in the first one, didn’t really involve ordinary humans.
The common threads were how strongly Snipes inhabited the title role of a lone fighter, even as part of Blade II’s Bloodpack (where he was somehow humanized through his caring attitude towards the Nyssa character), and the top-notch fight choreography. We now have the excellent “Blade: Trinity”, with the guy who wrote the first two films, David S. Goyer, as writer and director. The fights are just as thrilling as ever, but an interesting aspect is that the mood is lightened thanks to the arrival of new character Hannibal King (“Van Wilder” star and Alanis Morissette fiancé Ryan Reynolds). Goyer didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken and made a fun and exciting movie, with the added value of a wide scope that he explores with the expert touch of somebody who has a first-hand grasp of the material.
The film opens in the Syrian Desert, where a bunch of vampires loosely led by Danica Talos (Parker Posey looking like a low-grade black magic priestess) are successful in finding the alpha-vampire, the ancestor of the race known as Drake (the modern name of Dracula). The vampires hope that through him they can become daywalkers as well (like Blade, he is immune to sunlight). Drake (Dominic Purcell) is initially angry about being unearthed, looking with disdain at this lesser, diluted breed of blood lovers, but he eventually accepts to go after the threat that is Blade and sets up their cataclysmic confrontation.
Through Blade’s mentor, weapons purveyor and father figure Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), we were told in the first film that vampires controlled the police and that Vampire Nation had a number of “familiars”, humans who worked for them. This idea is furthered in “Trinity” with an elaborate car chase sequence that ends with Blade killing a human and Talos filming the deed as part of a frame-up. As a result, Blade is portrayed as a dangerous psychopath in the media. He is later caught and taken into custody by FBI agents with a secret, but is rescued by the able-bodied Nightstalkers team of Hannibal and Whistler’s daughter Abigail, with whom he teams up after initial reluctance.
The humour of Hannibal falls flat in his early lines but becomes more dynamic and effective as the film progresses. His main enemy, other than a “turned” Pomeranian, is WWE star Triple H, who gets to do a few wrestling-inspired power moves. The beautiful Jessica Biel (well-know for her role in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake but also excellent in her first film, the thoughtful 1997 drama “Ulee’s Gold”) plays Abigail with all of the agility, strength and poise required. She also benefits from an especially cool character introduction at a dimly lit train station, and I especially liked her powerful bow and her neat-looking U.V. laser arc.
Visually there are nice shots of the urban skyline of an unspecified metropolis (the film was shot in Vancouver) and a breathtaking high-rise foot chase between Blade and Drake. And from a story standpoint, some valid questions about vampirism are answered by Blade and Abigail’s discovery of a blood farming facility that the vampires developed as a more efficient way of getting what they need. I also liked how Blade was confronted with his half-human, half-vampire nature. When a little girl asks him why he takes the serum that keeps the thirst at bay, he replies “Because there is something bad inside of me… This keeps it from getting out.”
“Blade: Trinity” remains a dark film, only this time it makes us care more about its main character and it offers an involving connection to our world.
Review by Jean-François Tremblay