Movie Review: "Blade II"

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Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reaper vampires who feed on vampires.
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Movie Review: "Blade II"

Rating: R (for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use, and sexual content)
Length: 117 minutes
Release Date: Mar. 22, 2002
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Genre: Action, Horror, and Sci-Fi

In "Blade II," Blade (portrayed by Wesley Snipes) and the vampire council come together in an edgy alliance to battle the Reaper vampires. The movie is based on the Marvel Comics' fictional character Blade, and it is a sequel to the "Blade" movie. In fact, both the first and the second movie were written by David S. Goyer.

The opening of the movie features a homeless man who tricks his way into a blood bank room full of vampires. The man displays superior strength and manages to fight off all the vampires, and it is revealed that he is a powerful creature with serious hatred for vampires.

"Blade II" actually picks up about two years after the events in "Blade." In the interval, Blade has been looking for Whistler (portrayed by Kris Kristofferson) who had earlier tried to commit suicide but failed. Blade's search for his friend and mentor has taken him through Eastern Europe and Russia, and he has enlisted the help of Scud (portrayed by Norman Reedus) to provide him with suitable arms. When Blade finally locates Whistler, he finds that his old friend has been a captive of vampires for a long time, and the vampires have been torturing him for years. Blade manages to fight the vampires, and he brings his mentor to Prague.

Back in the vampire community, a serious situation arises when some vampires begin developing new characteristics in response to vampirism attacks. Those who carry the new and stronger strain of vampirism are called Reapers, and they eat more than the normal vampires. What is more, they are also stronger and harder to kill because their hearts are encased in thick layers of bone. When the Reapers threaten to destroy the vampires, the vampire overlord Eli Damaskinos (portrayed by Thomas Kretschmann) reaches out to Blade and convinces him of the evil nature of the Reapers. Blade then forms a team with a group of vampire assassins and warriors, known as the Blood Pack, to destroy the Reapers once and for all.

The bulk of the action in "Blade II" is set in Prague, and the action is so gruesome that one would be forgiven for being wary of a visit to the Czech Republic. Who would want to visit a city crawling with bloodthirsty vampires or a city with a high ratio of undead to the living? Just like "Queen of the Damned," "Blade II" has convinced many people that vampires do roam the world at night.

One of the best things about the movie is that it has not deviated too much from its comic book origins. Most of those who have watched the film agree that watching it is just like watching the comic book series come to life. The high-energy action sequences, the uneven plot development, and the stunning visual flair all contribute to this feeling. The movie is great, but that does not mean that it is logical, because logic was definitely not a priority for its writers or producers.

Snipes' portrayal of Blade is as convincing as ever. The attitude is there, the coolness is there, and the gadgets are amazing. Besides, he knows how to do all these without getting too serious, as seriousness would make the whole movie extremely ludicrous. Kristofferson is not bad either, although he only gets to play the sidekick. Playing the sidekick means he has to be in the main character's shadow most of the time and this somehow limits his capabilities.

Those who watched and liked "Blade" will definitely love the sequel. "Blade II" features more vampire killings, and more action in general than the first movie. The gory action sequences are actually the highlights of the movie for most Blade fans, anyway. Using some new weaponry, Blade is able to kill the vampires more spectacularly, and it is clear that a good percentage of the action scenes have been enhanced with CGI. It is a bit disappointing that though the vampires seem formidable enough while fighting with humans, they don't seem to be that deadly when warring against the Reapers. In addition, the characterization would have benefited from a little depth and development.

Apart from being an actor, Snipes is also a film producer and martial artist. Most of the movies he has starred in are action thrillers, including "Passenger 57," "Money Train," and "The Contractor." Kristofferson is an American songwriter, country music singer, and film actor. He has produced hits like "Help Me Make It through the Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee." He has also appeared in several films, including "Blade," "Planet of the Apes," "Fire Down Below", and many others. These two are some of the people who made "Blade II" successful.

Rating: 3 out of 5