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BLADE 2

SYNOPSIS:
Half-human, half vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) is dedicated to saving the human race from destruction. When a strain of super-vampire emerges, Blade is forced into an uneasy alliance with a vampire overlord Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) to wipe out the vicious mutants. With the help of mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and weapons master Scud (Norman Reedus), Blade joins Damaskinos' daughter Nyssa (Leonor Varela) and her team of vampire warriors.


Review by Richard Kuipers:
There's plenty of style in Guillermo Del Toro's sequel to the 1998 hit but why do we need 117 minutes to tell a tale that simply can't sustain more than 90 minutes. The criminal overlength of Blade II is a prime example of the bloated running times that almost every major studio film is guilty of these days. It's such a shame because for an hour and a half this is pretty lively stuff as Wesley Snipes engages in the wholesale slaughter of bloodsuckers whose deaths by implosion and charred skeletal crumbling is impressive no matter how many times it's repeated. Anyone who missed the first part receives a quick wrap-up in the opening titles and from then on it's almost non-stop martial-arts flavoured mayhem as Mr Blade and company go after hideous vampire mutants who look like Max Schreck from Nosferatu and have hidden physical "talents" a Hellraiser or an Alien would be proud of. Del Toro knows how to stage action and the outstanding production design of longtime Cronenberg associate Carol Spier provides all the grime and decay you could ever wish for in a vampire flick. Spier's work is certainly more interesting than the costume design which presents yet another parade of the undead look like refugees from a heavy leather bar. Still, when they have names like Snowman and Lighthammer what do you expect? For fang work this is miles ahead of the lamentable Queen of the Damned and coulda been a real contender if only the editor's scissors had been wielded with the same flourish as Snipes' blade.

Review by David Edwards:
With our TV screens saturated by the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, it's refreshing to see a vampire movie that actually takes itself seriously. In the hands of Mexican horror auteur Guillermo del Toro, Blade II is not simply a pale warming over of the original, but a pulsating (in more ways that one!) film that builds on the original and takes it further. Those familiar with del Toro's work (including Cronos and Mimic) will know that he is not your average slasher director, but a thoughtful filmmaker who delights in crafting nightmarish visions from our basest fears. Blade II continues the theme from the original that vampirism is a biological affliction (a kind of super-virus) rather than a demonic curse. The next logical step, of course, is for the virus to mutate into a new and dangerous form. While this could have provided an excuse for a simple "monster hunt" movie (and there is a hint of that here), del Toro introduces enough twists, turns and psychological intricacy to keep things from becoming too silly. And for those with sensitive dispositions, be warned - there are quite a few very graphic scenes in this film. For a comic book hero, Blade is a surprisingly complex character. He's continually struggling between the human and vampire sides of his nature, a struggle that's made immensely more difficult by the arrival of the beautiful vampire "princess" Nyssa. The action scenes are the heart of the film though, and del Toro shows he can match it with the best in that department. Wesley Snipes builds on his action man status in the title role, kicking massive amounts of butt, while still managing to reveal the more subtle aspects of Blade. Kris Kristofferson is more straightforward as the vampire-hating Whistler. Leonor Varela makes a very attractive bloodsucker as Nyssa, while Norman Reedus brings some slacker comedy relief as Scud. Watch out too for Ron Perlman as Reinhardt, a totally bad baddie if ever there was one. Blade II is a pleasant surprise - it's a sequel that's probably better than the original; a film that's prepared to think for itself and not slavishly ape its predecessor; and a complex, frightening experience in horror to delight aficionados of the genre.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

BLADE 2 (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Reedus, Leonor Varela

PRODUCER: Peter Frankfurt, Patrick J. Palmer, Wesley Snipes

DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro

SCRIPT: David S. Goyer (characters by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gabriel Beristain

EDITOR: Peter Amundson, Lionel Johnson

MUSIC: Marco Beltrami, Danny Saber

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carol Spier

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 11, 2002

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: November 20, 2002







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