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After rescuing his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade (Wesley Snipes) learns of a new breed of genetically engineered and far superior vampires called Reapers, who don't mind killing normal vampires in their quest to overrun the world. Blade teams up with the Bloodpack, an elite team of warriors originally trained to kill him, and leads the uneasy alliance into battle with the underground bloodsuckers - who are almost impervious to Blade's attacks.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
Big bad Blade - the original vampire slayer - is back in black and still wearing his sunglasses at night. He's still a kung fu kicking, broadsword wielding vampire killer, and if you enjoyed 1998's Blade - a modest cinematic success and cult hit on video - you will drool like a zombie over this non-stop monster mash. Especially on DVD, which comes in cinematic widescreen and 5.1 DTS or 6.1 ES sound. As the filmmakers have gone for a deliberately gothic comic book effect, the look and sound of Blade II is just about its best feature. It's set (and filmed) in atmospheric Prague, where Blade slays, stabs, decapitates, and combusts the vamps in a spectacular display of tightly choreographed graphic ultraviolence, coolly creepy costumes, and lashings of blood-spurting action. Director Guillermo del Toro - fast becoming a fright-fest master after Mimic and The Devil's Backbone - delivers a thumping underground rage. It's sadistic, juvenile, unrepentant, unapologetic - and for those who dig it undeniably impressive.

So is the DVD. So impressive, in fact, that it's overkill for such a pulpy B-grade bloodbath. It's not Gone With The Wind, as the list of special features might suggest. There's a very technical commentary with director Guillermo del Toro and producer Peter Frankfurt, and a more interesting, colourful commentary with Snipes - who pokes fun at his tough-guy persona, with returning screenwriter David Goyer - who explains the subtleties of the Blade character.

Disc two has hours of extras. The Blood Pact is arguably the most detailed making-of documentary since The Matrix: Revisited DVD. It goes for 83 minutes alone, and has a branching feature that allows you to delve deeper into the storyboards, production sketches, effects tests, make-up, mockups, costume fittings and set designs. Watching something this detailed almost makes you feel like a member of the crew who's been on set the entire shoot. Next are 16 deleted scenes that are fun to watch with del Toro's hilarious commentary. Rounding out disc two are the usual suspects - trailers, cast-and-crew bios, a copy of the press kit, and a video for the soundtrack hit Child of the Wild West, by Roni Size and Cypress Hill.

DVD-ROM users can check out the script-to-screen comparison, while gamers can peruse a hint book for the forthcoming Blade II video game.

That's about as many extras as you can sink your teeth into for such a B-grade bloodsucker movie. You've got to love vampire movies, from Blade to Buffy to The Lost Boys to Dracula and beyond. Blade 2 is a popcorn-munching bloodbath and the type of horror flick where you expect to be grossed out. And you are, especially when you see those Reaper jaws split open for maximum neck-nipping effect. Whether a sequel was warranted or not, this style-over-substance gore-fest eclipses the original with more action, deadlier stunts and better effects. And on that basis, this sequel is a success.

Published December 19, 2002

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CAST: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Pearlman, Luke Goss, Norman Reedus, Leonor Varela

DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro

RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes

PRESENTATION: Dolby Digital EX 5.1, DTS ES 6.1, Dolby 2.0; Aspect Ratio: widescreen 1.85:1, 16:9 Enhanced

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: Audio commentary by director Guillermo del Toro and producer Peter Frankfurt; Audio commentary by Wesley Snipes and writer David S Goyer; Isolated score Disc 2:Production Workshop - The Blood Pact, Sequence breakdowns, Visual effects, Notebooks, Art gallery; 16 deleted and alternate scenes with or without director and producer commentary; Promotional material; Blade 2 video game survival guide with subtitles; Theatrical press kit - About the cast, About the filmmakers; Theatrical and teaser trailers; Music Video: Cypress Hill and Roni Size's "Child of the Wild West"; Hidden feature

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: November 20, 2002

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