Blade (1999) and Blade: Trinity (2004)

I watched a classic the other night with my friend J.: Blade. We watched Blade: Trinity (2004) first, and as it turned out, it didn’t much matter that we watched them out of order. The episodes in the narratives have a certain interchangeable quality to them. Blade: Trinity with a voice over by a guy named Hannibal King (how’s that for a name?). He says “In the movies, Dracula wears a cape, and some old English guy manages to save the day at the last moment with crosses and holy water. But everyone knows the movies are full of shit. The truth is, it began with Blade, and it ended with Blade. The rest of us were just along for the ride.” Ah! So true, so true….

Both Blade films are really about Wesley Snipes posturing and cool techno music. Actually, Blade: Trinity was weak on the techno side but did have a lot of product placement for the original iPod. In a nutshell, Wesley Snipes is Blade – half-human and half-vampire. He also kills vampires. Kris Kristofferson plays Whistler, a crusty old vamp killer who’s tougher than nails. He has a vendetta against vampires because one of them tortured and killed his wife and daughters (which we find out wasn’t true because Jessica Biel, fresh out of Seventh Heaven, plays Whistler’s daughter Abby in Blade: Trinity and takes over from where her dad left off). And even though Kristofferson gets killed in the first movie, he manages to come back for all three. And not just in flash backs. It’s quite astounding, actually. But then again, he IS Kris Kristofferson.

Jessica Biel’s job is to look fierce. Sometimes she gets the slo-mo walk too

In a nutshell, the vampires are cooler than cool, leather clad, decadent sophisticates. Blade is Blade and humans are sort of stuck in the middle and along for the ride. One rule of the movie seems to be that whenever Blade walks, he MUST be filmed in slow motion – the classic Hero Walk. Always. He also does a lot of crazy martial art moves and uses a katana to kill vampires, although strangely enough, this seems to happen less as Wesley Snipes gets older. Blade I was a bit more snazzy than Blade: Trinity, it has a certain purity about it because Snipes is at the top of his game and cool and tough and everything you want him to be. But Blade: Trinity has an amazing Parker Posey as one of the vampire bosses named Danica Talos. Awesome name and she wears even more awesome shoes. You just know she had so much fun making the movie. It also has John Michael Higgins as a psychiatrist/ vampire familiar. Watching him try to do a therapy session with Blade is actually pretty funny.

I haven’t yet watched Blade II. Or rather, I haven’t yet re-watched it. Guillermo del Toro directed it and, as I SEEM to recall, it was a lot more sophisticated than the other two. I realize, of course, that that would not be very hard to do. But del Toro can spin straw into gold, as far as I’m concerned. Plus, Blade II has these scary Reaper Vampire things. Awesome.

Do I like the Blade movies? Oh, sure. They’re fun and campy. Actually, I think it’s the camp that saves them. If the directors tried to play it too serious it would have been pretty pathetic. But since you know that Blade is supposed to be badder than bad, then the slow motion thing actually seems appropriate. You find yourself saying, “Of course he’s walking in slow motion,” and getting goose bumps. And the soundtracks are awesome. They’ve got Moby, Massive Attack, the Gorillaz, Mos Def, Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, Crystal Method, Black Lab, etc. Anyone you’d want to hear at a rave. I used to listen to the soundtracks while grading. I’d always feel so powerful and like I should be walking in slow motion. Which is pretty much how one wants to feel when one is grading….