Blade: Trinity Review

It’s time to look at the final Blade film. Does it end on a high note or end up disappointing? Well, it’s better than the first film but I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the second so it’s squarely in the middle. I liked that we got some more fighters this time around. It’s about time Blade had some backup. On the other hand, the plot feels pretty aimless the whole time and there isn’t much of a focus next to the first two. It feels like events just happen so Blade can go around beating people up. That’s not a bad story idea of course, but to me it felt like there wasn’t much of a plot beyond that.

So the movie starts with Blade murdering a bunch of vampires as normal. Unfortunately one of the guys he murders was just a human pretending to be a vampire. Unfortunately people see this so now the government is after him. The vampires have finally framed Blade. This lead to his capture but fortunately he is busted out by a pair of allies known as Abigail and Hannibal. They get him back to base and explain that Dracula has been resurrected. The 3 of them will need to take him out before the villains figure out the trick on how to be a day walker. This won’t exactly be the first time that Blade had to take down a powerful foe though so he’s ready for this. Blade isn’t the kind of guy who goes around losing fights after all.

I do have a bit of an issue with the opening. Blade is questioning why the guy didn’t die and is shocked to find out he wasn’t a vampire. We do have tons of familiars who are humans that Blade has been murdering throughout the films. Why is this guy any different? Seems to be like Blade is a little more surprised than he should be. Framing him would also be very easy for this same reason since he’s never cared who he murdered before. If they’re working with the villains then he ends them. End of story. That’s just how Blade works, he’s never been the kind of guy to even think about offering up some mercy. I’d be surprised if he were to stop now.

Unfortunately as part of the framing plot this does mean that Blade and Whistler spend a lot of time fighting off actual cops and government agents. You understand that they have to use some self defense, but this goes beyond that as they openly start shooting and bashing away at them. Whistler even uses a giant explosion that without a doubt murders a bunch of them. This is an ongoing trend that happens in numerous scenes. It feels like the heroes murder as many innocent people as villains in this film. It was a rather odd way to end off the trilogy. It does portray Blade as even more of a Punisher type of vigilante but I’m not sure if we needed that here. I think some of these scenes could have been cut or at least altered to show that they weren’t actually murdering anyone.

Beyond that Blade is still a solid lead though. He talks tough and is always ready to take the villains down. I like the new extended cable weapon he has since it’s very useful for taking down scores of enemies from a distance. If you ask me it’s easily one of his most useful weapons by a long shot. The Whistler gets his share of hits in as well. Without powers there isn’t a whole lot that he can do, but he’s always ready with background support. The two new characters are really the ones who are here to fight on the front lines.

First you have Hannibal who is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. Apparently he used to be a vampire and got cured which is neat but it wouldn’t have made any difference if he wasn’t. This tidbit of knowledge doesn’t matter in the slightest. He manages to get a big win near the end although I can’t say it feels deserved since he should have lost that round. I found him to be a reasonably entertaining character although it would have been nice if he were a little stronger. Then you have Abigail who has an excellent opening scene and continues to look good throughout the film. She’s a solid hand to hand fighter and uses a crossbow that can even light up and burn opponents to death.

Blade finally has an ally who can really fight alongside him. She isn’t a vampire so she has no super abilities but her close quarter combat skills are enough for her to take multiple opponents down so that’s quite impressive in itself. She’s a big reason as to why the setup of Blade having allies worked. If both of them were comic relief it would have been a little pointless. As it stands, she can only continue to get better and better as she fights along with Blade and a fourth film with them would have been interesting.

As with the earlier films the fight scenes are really solid here. We get quite a few good battles and this time each character gets their own fight. This leads to a pretty wide variety of battles. Blade tends to have the best ones, but as mentioned Abigail’s was solid as well. Dracula’s battle with Blade is a highlight and we got a lot of back and forth there. Dracula’s character itself wasn’t amazing though. He spends his first fight scene running which is pretty odd for a guy who prides himself on being the King. You’d think that he would welcome a challenge right off the bat. I suppose vampires just can’t help but fear Blade.

As always the graphics are really solid here. The effects are on point and the soundtrack is also great. We get the classic rock themes that you always want to see. For the negatives, it’s really the same as always. The film’s pretty violent with everyone getting bumped off. There’s a lot of blood draining going on for sure. We also add a new wrinkle as we see dog vampires that end up getting bumped off. It was so completely unnecessary. The instant I saw the dog appear I knew the film was setting itself up for a fall. I’ll give the movie props for not having them die on screen but it’s of little comfort. The film would have lost at least a star if that had happened and if it lost 2 there wouldn’t have been any lower for it to go. The writing isn’t the best here, but it could be worse. At least the script tried being a little different from the previous ones.

Overall, Blade 3 had some good ideas but also faltered in others. On one hand it was nice to see Blade having some young allies who could actually fight alongside him and weren’t evil. The soundtrack continued to be really good too and amplify the fights. On the other hand, the film is as excessively violent as always and this time there were even animals. Additionally the plot itself felt the weakest. After Dracula resurrects and the heroes have their opening fights it feels like the film stagnates for a while until we get to the climax. It didn’t feel like the pacing was quite as tight as the last two films. I’ll give the 3 films this, they were all pretty consistent and roughly on the same level as each other. That may not have been a good thing for their score, but you can’t win em all.

Overall 2/10

Blade II Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such.

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Blade film. This time we’ve got him in an actual group so you can expect some of the other characters to get big fight scenes as well. I’d definitely say that this one improves upon the original for me. It’s not by a whole lot as there’s only so much you can do with a gritty vampire film. Still, I’ll take any improvement I can get and we got more special effects with the fight scenes so get ready for some sped up superhero action!

The movie starts off by slightly retconning the ending to the first one. Despite being in a near death state and then shooting himself, The Whistler managed to survive somehow and the vampires have kept him alive for kicks. Blade finds out and frees him. Shortly afterwards Blade is attacked by a pair of vampire ninjas who reveal that they have come to ask for his help. There are a few super vampires running around that are immune to silver and garlic. Defeating them will be nearly impossible without Blade. To this end, they will make him leader of the Bloodhounds which is an elite fighting force that was originally meant to destroy Blade. This is a fragile alliance at best, but Blade figures he should take down the super vampires so they team up. Are the vampires hiding something from him?

There’s definitely a lot of action in this film and the choreography is on point. Blade has definitely nailed the whole “slow walk towards the villains” routine as this point since he does it so often. I do have to give the films a lot of credit for how smooth his outfit looks. It’s very accurate to the comics and honestly it looks pretty crisp. Whenever Blade shows up you know he’s about to take down a lot of monsters. Those fights are always a lot of fun and accompanied by solid rock songs. The Blade series has had a pretty dynamite list of songs and this one is no different. I miss the early 2000s rock that we used to get for the various fight scenes. It still happens sometimes but it is certainly a lot more rare.

The special effects have also improved since the first film. I already spoke about the fight scenes but even the vampires getting blasted away. It’s all pretty neat. My favorite fight in the film was Blade against the two Ninjas. It’s an example of solid choreography with some back and forth action compared to Blade just absolutely dominating the random minions who can’t fight back. Those fights tend to be pretty fun as well but you really can’t compare the two. An even match like this ends up being quite satisfying even if surprisingly Blade may have lost. It depends on how fast he regenerates since his hit would presumably be fatal since it was silver and the ninja attack wouldn’t be, but it would have been a clean shot that could be fatal anyway.

The plot of having to team up with the villains is also pretty interesting. It’s always a very tricky dynamic trying to work with someone who could back stab you at any point. I also like that Blade keeps the upper hand for most of these interactions. He humiliates one of the vampires when they start getting smart and throughout calls all of the shots. Whenever they point a gun at Blade he does the same to them. The early banter are some of the best parts of the film. I consider the plot to be a little more interesting than the first film’s as well. It does have the benefit of being a sequel so we already know the characters.

Now to the negatives which are effectively the same as the first film. For starters the film is incredibly violent. We see a lot of characters get drained and murdered by the vampires. Characters are stabbed and tortured as well. The violence never really ends in these films which can be a drag. It takes away from the moments of the film that actually are good. I have to say that the opening of the film makes everyone look bad no matter how you look at it. It feels like the guy is a bit of a sucker when he’s being led down a series of halls into a locked room with suspect characters. I don’t remember the place looking so shady when donating blood. I get that this is a special place but even so it was obvious that it was a trap. Then it makes the trappers look bad since this is way too obvious. Anyone who is “caught” in the trap is suspect themselves so it was never going to end well for someone.

The writing is okay. There’s quite a bit of language that this version fortunately skips which does help to a degree. It still seems to be a bit of a crutch for the writers. I also have to dock some logic points for how they don’t even bother trying to explain why Whistler survived. There’s just no way he would have lived through what happened and as hard as the film tries to do so, there’s no way they can explain it. I suspect that’s why they don’t even bother. I don’t even see why the plot needed to be brought back since Whistler doesn’t even do a whole lot during the film. Him leaving his post at one point was also an odd red herring. Why not bring your communicator for when your partners are being bumped off?

Overall, Blade II brings in a more interesting plot as well as better fight scenes than the first film. This does result in a better experience for me. That being said, it still can’t shed the vampire roots of the film. I don’t see how the films can get much higher without toning that aspect down a bit. The violence can be quite excessive. Even though none of the vampire members were particularly likable it was still pretty neat to have a whole group structure. It’s probably the closest we’ll see of Blade on a team for quite a while. Ultimately I could see him getting a new movie or show at some point though. If you really like vampire films then you should check this one out I guess since it delivers on what you’d expect with everyone getting bumped off in gruesome ways left and right. On the other hand you can definitely do better.

Overall 2/10

Blade Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at one of the original comic book films from back in the day. Blade is largely forgotten nowadays although it seems to have had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. It’s a vampire film which naturally does limit how good it can be to a large extent. Unfortunately the comic book aspect of the movie was unable to do enough to take it back to the next level. It makes all the usual mistakes of a vampire film and ends up being rather similar to Resident Evil. Resident Evil would ultimately have the edge though with its top tier soundtrack and a more interesting plot. Come to think of it, zombies may also beat vampires for me although it’s close since both don’t make for particularly good movies.

The movie starts off with one human being lured away to a vampire party. They are about to finish him off when Blade appears and destroys the lot of them. Unfortunately he decides to toy around with one of them a little too much so he manages to get to a hospital and murder a bunch of people as well bite Karen. Blade takes Karen over to his base where the Whistler tells Karen that it’s all over. She’s already dead and they’re not going to help her. Karen’s not thrilled about this so she decides to stick with the gang. At the very least she should be safer with the pros right? Blade doesn’t have much time to guard anyone though because he’s on a quest to avenge his mother and himself by murdering Frost. Frost is the one who turned Blade into a vampire after all and this is the closest that the hunter has gotten to being on his trail.

Right from the start Blade introduces itself as a film that is going to go all in with the violence and vampire action. The first scene probably has more blood almost all of the other comic book films. The violence never lets up either as we see people eaten and blown up. The TV edit does cut away from a lot of the direct moments which is quite telling considering how violent the film still was. Automatically there’s no way the film was going to get a very high score because of how excessive it all is. Definitely be sure you’re cool with the violence if you plan on checking this one out.

I’ve also never been a fan of the drinking blood angle which is pretty hard to avoid in a vampire film. It’s part of why those films are always destined to lose if you ask me. While it can be possible to do a good vampire story (Records of a Fallen Vampire) it is very difficult and not particularly likely. The villains aren’t particularly fun either. You’ve got Quinn who is the main comic relief of the villain group. He is always in a party mood and doesn’t take things too seriously. This never bodes well for him in a fight and you know from the start that he has absolutely no chance against Blade. He’s just completely out of his league.

Then you have Frost who can be a decent main villain in some Blade stories but he doesn’t work here. They really play up the fact that he’s a much younger vampire than the others so he’s always fooling around. The guy is pretty smart and does take the vampires to new heights that the old ones wouldn’t have reached. He definitely gets some points there and is a reasonably strong villain. Ultimately he’s not nearly as charismatic as he thinks he is. The rest of the villains don’t really get much of a role. For the most part they’re just here to get blown up.

For the heroes we’ve really got 3. First is Whistler who is the mentor figure of the movie. You can probably tell how his story will end up the instant he is introduced. He’s human so there’s not a whole lot that he can do against vampires with their special abilities. Still, he doesn’t back down from a fight which is really important in this kind of thing. He’s a bit of a downer though as he doesn’t even try to give Karen any hope. Karen is a solid heroine though. She does actually get involved in some of the fights and adapts pretty quickly to using a gun and other such tactics. I was glad that she spent more time being pro active as opposed to running or something like that. She was even able to work on a cure right away. Karen contributes quite a lot to the cause and that’s why she’s a pretty solid character. I’d be up for seeing her in sequels someday.

Then we have the main character Blade. He feels sort of like a more brutal Batman at times with how he will suddenly appear and start taking out the enemies. The main difference of course is that Blade murders his opponents. At first he tends to spare the humans although in some fight scenes it’s really hard to tell if he spares anyone. By the end though he is all out of mercy and just takes everyone out. He’s a pretty great lead. Blade’s serious and down to business throughout the movie. The film did a really good job with this portrayal and I’d say that Blade is pretty much perfect. I also like all of his tools and weapons. It makes for a pretty good arsenal in these battles.

The fight scenes are pretty good in the movie as well. When it’s not going out of its way to be particularly gritty we have some solid hand to hand action and swordplay. The scene of Blade arriving in the climax was handled particularly well as he got down to business. His opening fight against the vampire army was also solid. The movie helps to enhance these scenes with a solid soundtrack as well. We get some pretty fun rock themes for the battles. They have a nice retro feel that you don’t really see quite as much anymore in the modern films. For some reason rock music doesn’t seem to be as popular for the average fight scene which I don’t understand because the fast tempo should always be in season.

Overall, Blade is definitely what you would expect from a vampire action film. The action can be good but ultimately the film is held wayyyyy back by the vampire angle. It goes way too far in being overly dark and gritty. I can’t recall the last film I saw which was quite this violent. The body count is pretty high and you usually won’t be able to go more than a few minutes without something super violent happening. The film can be having a fun little scene and then you’re thrown into the next villain scene or something crazy happening. Pretty much any villain scene will end with something violent happening. These instances certainly add up so I wouldn’t recommend this film. It’s all just too excessive. If you want to watch a good supernatural action film then it’s time to watch the Avengers 2012 instead. It delivers on all of that without going overboard. We’ll see if the next Blade films are able to improve from this one or if they will ultimately make the same mistakes.

Overall 1/10

U.S. Marshals Review

A while back, I saw the Fugitive. It was a pretty good film, but I unfortunately forgot most of it. A few scenes here and there to be sure, but my memory isn’t as clear as it once was. At least, that likely won’t happen much in the future thanks to these reviews! U.S. Marshals is a pretty good film and while it may have dragged on just a bit, it was a fun watch.

The plot involves a guy by the name of Mark Roberts who is injured during a car crash. He is then arrested and accused of murdering two American agents. Naturally, they take him into custody, but a plane crash caused by a would be assassin ends up giving Mark his chance to escape. He must now find out who set him up and clear his name. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard, has to find Mark before he destroys more people. He has no reason to believe that Roberts is being framed after all so he has to mobilize his troops. Tagging along by request order of the government is a new agent by the name of John. (The Government actually went with John as the name….don’t they remember their lessons on how to be subtle?) Can the heroes trust him and is Mark Roberts actually guilty or has he been framed? It’s time to find out!

One character who is really hard to forget is the U.S. Marshall. Samuel Gerard makes for a very interesting lead since he’s very experienced and he doesn’t really make mistakes. By “mistakes” I mean both in duty and in character development. Samuel is just a tough customer through and through as he resists all distractions and stiff arms the government. If Sam had just let the government walk all over him, he definitely would not have been quite as cool as he was. He can also fight when the need arises as he holds his own against Mark Roberts. (Supposedly the latter is an exceptional fighter so that is major props for Gerard) Gerard’s teammates are not quite as useful or likable. I don’t think I liked any of them to be honest. I didn’t really dislike them either, but they didn’t really have a purpose in the story. You could easily cut them out and there wouldn’t be many changes. It would get rid of a certain rage moment, but that could have happened through other scenarios. In a sense, I’d say that I’ve been lucky with protagonists lately. It’s rare to find someone as good as the U.S. Marshall and I just finished watching a film where the President was pretty great as well. I’ve gotta admit that the 90’s knew how to make solid main characters. Nowadays, it’s really just a free for all!

Mark Roberts is one of the main characters as well since he’s the one being chased the whole time. He’s a decently good character, but he’s definitely not as charismatic as Samuel. I don’t think he would have been able to hold his own film, but his scenes were pretty good. He’s definitely proficient in combat and he quickly adapts to the situation. It’s a good thing that he has some contacts because I don’t think he would really have a chance otherwise. It’s just him against the whole group after all. He does have one ally who helps him throughout the film. This is Marie and she ends up helping him out at critical points during the chase. Her role isn’t very large and she only makes a few appearances here and there, but at least she decides to trust him without calling the cops as you would expect from many other films. She never betrayed him and that’s always a good thing.

John Royce is played by Robert Downey Jr, which was pretty interesting. If not for the voice, I likely would not recognize him so he’s definitely changed over the years. As for the character, I’m sure that you’ve seen his type before. He’s the experienced professional that the government has added onto the squad so everyone resents his presence and he goes on to show them up….is what usually happens. The teammates don’t really mind him and while he is a professional, they show that he’s not quite as tough as the U.S. Marshal. He doesn’t play well with others and he always disobeys orders when he feels like it. He’s definitely not someone that you can count on. For a while there, he was actually a pretty likable character. By the end, he’s an intriguing one, but I’m not sure I care for how his character arc ended. It’s not really his decision that hurt his character, but the long theatrical way that he goes about making it. Just get over it and head to the next objective! He would have definitely been more impressive that way.

One thing you may have to question is the overall strategy of the U.S. Marshal. On paper it is a very sound strategy as they cover all of the bases and leave no stone unturned. The problem is the fact that he never seems to know what he’s going to do next. After following the suspects, they continue to follow them for as long as it takes. After a while, you just need to make a move and arrest somebody. By the time the heroes go to take out the villains, it’s typically too late. An example of this is when someone goes into a church with a suitcase…followed by another guy going in. The main characters just watch in horror for a while until they run in and the villains take the time to escape. Had the heroes charged through the door right away…they may have succeeded.

Another time where things got dicey was when the main character pretended to go for some coffee. I understand the plan and it’s a good one, but he took so long. If not for the villain stopping to boast about his master’s master plan and many other things, the U.S. Marshal would have definitely been too late to have done any good. It would have been Game Over at that point.

The film lacked closure in at least one way for me. I may have missed something, but it seems like one of the main villains actually manages to get away scot free. You’ll know who I’m referring to by the end, but he had a gun and he shot at the heroes for a while from the roof. He gets arrested, but the heroes admit that they’re toast thanks to politics. Diplomatic immunity is very real, but I’m sure that the heroes could do something. Show the proof and go through the military channels. Even if the government is shady, the information would have been made public.

As far as negatives go, I think the film may have dragged on a little. It is still my official view that all films should be two hours long at the very least and your plot should be good enough to carry you all the way. Of course, if your plot can’t hold out for that long, then accept the loss and cut some time out. The film could have cut out 15-30 minutes and it would have held up better. For example, letting Roberts get away after he was in disguise was one time too many for me. They should have just captured him and the exact same ending would have played out. We would have just skipped about 15-20 minutes where the heroes really do catch him. (We would have missed the sand fight, but I’m sure that they could have squeezed it in somewhere.

The Marshal’s boss could also be a little annoying at times. She keeps reminding the main character that he works for her so she can threaten him as much as she wants. She constantly reminds him that she doesn’t mind firing Samuel and she’s always giving him some kind of order. If she had been a little more helpful in the actual case it would be okay, but she typically isn’t. She’s just there to drag them all down with government policy. She only gets one hardcore scene with another politician and it was the Marshal’s idea.

It’s more of a formality at this point, but I’ll still mention the soundtrack. Unfortunately, it was pretty unmemorable and it was practically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single memorable tune and that’s always a bad sign. I wouldn’t really expect a soundtrack in this kind of film, but it’s still disappointing to see. A great soundtrack always has the potential to raise the film up an extra star so it could have come in handy here.

One more thing to mention is how the plane crew wasn’t very smart. One of the villains asks to go to the bathroom. Suuuuuuuure he needs to go…..that’s the oldest trick in the book. After they take him to the bathroom, the two cops leave to go talk. The villain has all day to grab his gun and head for the prisoners. Granted, the cops didn’t expect any guns to be on board, but they should have been paying attention. That was a pretty sloppy job on their part and they wouldn’t last a minute in Andy Griffith’s neighborhood.

Overall, U.S. Marshals was a pretty good film. It wasn’t great, but it was a fun watch and one that I would recommend to action fans or to people who like to watch government proceedings. It is more of a one and done deal though because this film has no real replay value. Films like this one rarely do since they rely on a lot of different plot twists throughout the feature. Why watch it again when you know everything that’s going to happen? It’s different for a film like Yugioh or the Avengers, but replay value doesn’t really affect the score anyway. (It would only hurt if I forgot to review this film and had to watch it again someday…) There’s definitely a lot to like in this film and hopefully you are prepared for it!

Overall 6/10