Guillermo del Toro’s slightly darker, but more jocular sequel to Steven Norrington’s chest-pounding, jugular-throbbing, teeth-sinking action movie from the popular Marvel comic book about a “day walker” — a vampire without any of their regular weaknesses.In and of itself, the movie advocates for the return to silent film (save for the thuds and thwacks of the choreographed footwork), not out of nostalgia’s sake, but from the despair of inexcusably ridiculous dialogue (“They want us to spray on some suck-puppy’s nut-juice?” or “You’re one cunt hair away from…,” et al.). This installment sees Wesley Snipes’ Blade requested to team up with his enemies (in this case, a clan of the “best” called the Bloodpack) in hopes of battling a new breed of modified, adapted vampires. It has become, more than before, a derivative and/or combination of the WWF (now WWE) in its shameless decorum of randy wrestlers-as-decked out baddies. The action sequences, pumped as they are, contain the same effect as the first: no more, no less. One element that is automatically associated with del Toro is darkness atop darkness, important already insofar as this is a vampire movie, and then increased by the black hole mentality of the sewer system, subway tunnels — reminiscent of Mimic — and other underground lairs. Most of what Blade II has is leftovers (requiring a prologue from the previous issue), meaning that the little new terrain available will be special effects. Del Toro meets that edict with excitement, creating a wide array of deformations from the anatomy (particularly clitoral allusions), a device he often explores even within his most personal films. Contrary to my feelings at the end of the 1998 introduction, and despite the stronger directorial treatment (plus a hoot-of-a-villainous role by del Toro-regular Ron Perlman), the franchise no longer appears to have the fangs to carry it much farther.
With Kris Kristofferson and Norman Reedus.[Worth-seeing.]