Blade II is what Charlie’s Angels should have been. Let’s run through the ingredients for a good, stupid movie.
1.Sex- Charlie’s Angels had this one right. Blade II does too. What is sexier than a hot, female vampire? T, A and immortality. And with the jaw dropping Verela playing the main vampire chick, and wearing that leather outfit… well, let’s just say this will be a popular home video. If you swing the other way I suppose the same thing goes. Snipes has big muscles and stuff and they keep showing them.
2. Cool- Yes. Reasonably cool music and some cool looking characters and monsters. You get a look inside the “Vampire Nation” which is like a cross between a big corporation and the CIA. They have cool looking buildings and machines and stuff. Blade has cool weapons, most of which were in the last movie. Snipes was born for this role. Terse sarcasm and total confidence are things he does very well and which make Blade cool. Also, there’s a lot of cool, gory stuff, like when they do an autopsy on a reaper.
There is a crimp- The Vampires have trained an elite squad, which is cool. I was hoping they would. The problem is that the squad is called “the Blood Pack.” I’m trying to think of a lamer name and I can’t. “Blood Pack” sits just on the wrong side of the boundary between camp and lameness. It sounds like something from the WWF, but you’re supposed to take it seriously. On top of that, they are introduced thusly- “Meet the Blood Pack: Lighthammer, Priest,” and so on, with the camera panning from one character to the next, with each looking into the camera and displaying some quirky feature, like a metal shirt or long hair. This is textbook lameness. It’s on page 112 under the heading, “Being Distractingly Lame.” This only preoccupied me for about ten minutes, plus an additional minute or so for each of the three or four additional uses of the phrase. I kept thinking of the episode of “The Simpsons” where they introduce the “super friends.” The rest of the coolness is, somehow, able to overcome this egregious affront.
3 Action- This is where Blade II shines and where Charlie’s Angel’s flopped. The movie takes itself more or less seriously, which is important, because otherwise, it’s hard to buy into the action. Here we have pure war. Darwinism through combat. The reapers are repulsive and you want to see them get whooped, and they do. Some vampires too. And humans. Actually, the action might be at its best when Blade kills humans because they don’t just turn to ash and float away. They become bloody pulps. Wesley Snipes is really good at karate, plus he has machine guns and, obviously blades. He suplexes a guy. That’s on the right side of the aforementioned boundary.
4 Stupid- Oh yeah, it’s stupid. One time a character sees some light coming and ducks under water before it gets to her. And the reapers, following in the footsteps of other evil hordes of cinema, always fight just well enough to loose. Fighting one is such a challenge that you can barely hold it off. Fighting thirty is such a challenge that you can barely hold them off. And Whistler (a mere human) is able to beat up one of the elite vampires. How? By punching him, then kicking him a couple of times.
But, it isn’t all that stupid. The story is moderately complex and, while formulaic, not so formulaic that you see everything coming even if you try not to look. The dilog is decent, even good in spots. The last scene sucks ass though.
Film Overall- 6.5
Selected Special Ratings
Number of times the oppressive soundtrack made you reach for a knife- None, really, although my hand twitched a couple of times because the music is supposed to make you feel cool, and I don’t really like that. But then I would just say, “oh, go with it.” At least it isn’t a bunch of previous hits that you’re supposed to recognize, like Charlie’s Angels which has songs from both Blink 182 and Aerosmith, making it the only movie I know of that inarguably has the worlds worst band on it’s soundtrack.