Worth A Look: 9.56%
Pretty Bad: 30.88%
Total Crap: 11.76%
11 reviews, 70 user ratings
by Chris Parry
Sequels to sequels are never an easy sell to the general public at the best of times, but how do you deal with a third movie in a franchise that stars a method actor nobody likes as the lead character? Do you hope he’ll play the game and help you sell your film in the media, or do you play up his bad boy image and hope for the WWE crowd to show up? Well, if you’re smart you do neither – you write the bastard out of the franchise and bring in a couple of fresh faces to take up the slack. With that in mind, hello Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, and congratulations on making Blade Trinity something actually worth buying a ticket to. And massive congratulations to Parker Posey, for bringing to the screen a tough, nasty, hilarious villainess, who is unlike any other.Confession time: whenever I hear the name Wesley Snipes, I begin to hear voices in my head. Usually those cynical little voices say things like, "Why is that guy even famous anymore? I mean, what has he ever done that truly merited attention?" The panic I feel for having heard these voices is soon overwhelmed by the deep thought that the question merits, and the sheer frustration at not being able to come up with an answer. Surely Snipes did something great to have stayed around for all these years? There must be a bona fide high point in there somewhere. So I think and think, and all I can really come up with is this: "he didn't suck in White Men Can't Jump, and Major League was funny."
"Out with the old and in with the new."
Wesley Snipes is, let's face it, yesterday's hero. One of the ever-growing legion of dramatic actors who have sold their souls to be short term action gods, grabbing a year or two of high salary in the process before the inevitable fall begins, Snipes long ago cashed in his chips with garbage like Demolition Man, Money Train and Art of War. Which just about earns him the right to share a room with Corey Feldman on Celebrity Big Brother.
Snipes should be thanking his lucky stars that Blade ever happened, thus guaranteeing him a wage for a few more years than his track record warrants. But while many over-the-hill actors would have taken that opportunity and done as much with it as they could, Snipes has gone the other way. In fact, it’s not so much that his performance in Blade Trinity blows… it’s that he didn’t even show up for a large number of the scenes he’s in.
Oh sure, actors cut corners all the time. “This is a long shot, you can’t really see my face, why don’t we just use the stand-in?” No problem; it’s all part of the filmmaking process to sub a stuntman or stand-in for a celeb who feels they’re wasted in a scene. But as far as Blade Trinity is concerned, we’re not talking about long shots and shadows… we’re talking about Snipes not showing up for anything but the close-ups. Look closely at some of the scenes in Blade Trinity, especially those where Snipes is wearing a red long-sleeved shirt – it isn’t him! Oh sure, it’s his face, but it isn’t his body. It’s plenty shorter, noticeably skinnier, and at times Snipes’ face has a snarl that doesn’t move in natural ways, even when he’s says something. I’m sure I even saw the cut’n’paste joins a few times.
Ladies and gentlemen, the boffins have often said it was coming, but this may well be one of the first feature films where a lead actor simply didn’t show up to set and had someone else do his acting for him, only for the absent lead to be CG’ed into the film during post-production. Of course, that doesn’t help the job of director David Goyer, who admittedly has done some great things with this edition of the Blade franchise. The CGI is almost always fantastic (apart from a few early scenes that look like high school green screen experiments), the kill shots are awesome, and some of the casting is first rate. In fact, take Snipes out of the equation altogether and what you’re looking at here is a really good action flick.
The storyline is the usual yawner – ancient vampire god is woken by disciples in the modern day, decides to make with the killings and rule the world, defenders of good have secret plan to kill him, but the hero of the hour prefers to work alone. Wank, wank, double wank. This sort of storyline is nothing you haven’t already seen in The Mummy, or for that matter, countless episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What makes the outing worth watching at all is that, for this kind of movie, the storyline is largely irrelevant.
What is really very relevant is that Parker Posey plays the King Vampire’s sidekick – and I’ll put it in Earl Dittman terms - she may well be the villainess of the decade. Mixing ten parts comedy with twenty parts attitude, a hefty dose of balls and a sprinkling of senseless violence, Posey demonstrates that bringing a true actress into an action movie environment is not a waste of time, and that allowing said actress to have a say in how her character develops can only help your cause. Her portrayal of the eville Danica Talos is vintage Posey – the kind you might recall from the Dazed and Confused era - she’s nasty, she’s eccentric, she’s tongue in cheek, she’s cerebral, and she chews the scenery from frame one. When Posey is on screen, nobody else is in the game – period.
Also worth watching, and for entirely different reasons, is the extremely buff, extremely action-friendly Jessica Biel. She’s come a long way from Seventh Heaven, but as she jumps into the fight scenes with both feet – literally – she not only gets the adrenaline racing, but she also demonstrates just how pedestrian her lead actor is.
Ryan Reynolds, who first came to audience attention with Van Wilder, follows Biel’s presence with some buffosity of his own, and proves more than adequate as the comedic portion of the ensemble. Reynolds delivers one-liner after one-liner at rapidfire speed, even when he’s getting the tar kicked out of him and staring certain death in the face. Truth be told, he doesn’t really need to do much more than that, because Jessica Biel’s character could take down Fort Bragg with a toothpick and a can of sardines if the notion entered her mind, but while Biel is all business, Reynolds is the perfect foil. Together, they make up The Nightstalkers - a team of vampire-ass-kickers that has 'spin-off' written all over it.
With that said, though Biel and Reynolds thoroughly deserve the chance to keep their characters going through another sequel, or even better - their own franchise, making another Blade movie would mean you’d have to bring back Snipes, and the thought of that fills me with about as much glee as I’d get from the idea of Joe Pesci co-starring in another Lethal Weapon sequel. Snipes, Pesci and Jar Jar Binks – send all three to cinema prison for twenty to life, and the world would be a much better place.
Another victim of her own success is the other indie addition to the franchise besides Posey – none other than independent film veteran Natasha Lyonne, who may well have just put the final ‘dot dot dot’ on the end of her filmography with her portrayal of a blind scientist, hard at work developing a vampire flu. Knowing Lyonne’s long string of personal crises over the last few years, one might wonder whether her character was originally intended to be blind, or was hastily rewritten to give Lyonne an excuse to keep her sunglasses on throughout the shoot. Even alongside the pedestrian Snipes, Lyonne is nothing short of interminable in this outing, bringing nothing but the occasional muttering of “what’s that chick been in” from the bemused crowd.
Blade Trinity is truly one of those films that is tough to wrap up in a handful of words, because while it has brilliant moments, those moments are beaten up, curb-stomped, held underwater and eventually thrown in the trunk by Wesley Snipes' insistence on being a brooding method actor who gives absolutely nothing back to his co-stars.
He should know better. He should be thankful that he's still getting work. Instead, he's hamstrung the very franchise that has kept his porchlight on for the last five years by being a lazy waste of career opportunity.Blade is dead. Long live The Nightstalkers.
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originally posted: 12/08/04 15:49:32
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