CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Robert K. Elder (Chicago Tribune), Gary Thompson (philly.com), Leonard Maltin (hottickettv.com) , Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Kevin Thomas (latimes.com), Frank Swietek (oneguysopinion.com), Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com), Steven Rosen (denverpost.com), Chris Fujiwara (boston.com), Blake French (filmcritic.com) ^ * * * * out of 5 stars (R)
The first time I saw “Blade” at the theater, I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this vampire film. But does Blade II have just as much bite as the original?
Blade II is part two of a Marvel Comics-based story about a half-man, half-vampire superhero named Blade (Wesley Snipes). While Blade’s mission is to kill vampires and protect humans, he joins forces with his vampire enemies to eliminate a common enemy – the Reapers. They are vampires on steroids! Reapers prey on normal vampires to produce more Reapers.
Robert K. Elder (Chicago Tribune) dislikes the plot and reasons, “Why kill vampires when you can cure them?”
Elder makes a good point. Blade himself drinks an “anti-vampire” potion that keeps his bloodthirsty desires tame. However, who said this cure worked on Reapers? Silver bullets and garlic don’t phase them! A plot centered on spreading a vampire cure might work in a “Blade 3,” though.
Gary Thompson (philly.com) complains, “But what does it add up to? Not excitement. Maybe not even entertainment. While ‘Blade’ was an unexpectedly fun action romp, ‘Blade II’ plays like a gory, somber tragedy.” Leonard Maltin (“Hot Ticket”) said on his TV show, “This was a surprisingly boring movie.”
You both surprise me! Blade II is fun and exciting. In fact, this sequel has a bigger bite than the original! Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) said, “The movie is an improvement on ‘Blade’ (1998), which was pretty good.” Kevin Thomas (latimes.com) also said, “While it helps to have seen the original ‘Blade’ for a full understanding of this so-called ‘Daywalker’ (Snipes) and his character and the nature of his relationship with Whistler, ‘Blade II’ is more enjoyable than the original.”
Frank Swietek (oneguysopinion.com) gripes, “But as stylish as Del Toro’s take on this material is, and despite its occasionally amusing moments, ‘Blade II’ seems in desperate need of more imagination.”
More imagination? Swietek’s swine is too much here. The director (Del Toro) is the reason this film worked – and it’s a sequel! Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com) got it right: “While Snipes looks and plays the part well in the film, the real hero of ‘Blade II’ is Del Toro; he ups the ante from the film in every respect. The action is more heavily stylized and energetic, not to mention Del Toro gives Snipes greater opportunity to show off his martial arts moves.”
The Reapers were just plain frightening. Steven Rosen (denverpost.com) describes their horrific chin, which “rips apart to reveal a bulldozer-shovel-like throat with fangs and multiple tongues. Visual-effects supervisor Nicholas Brooks and his staff deserve kudos for this weird, shocking creation.”
Chris Fujiwara (boston.com) complains, “No one does any acting, certainly not Snipes, who’s little more than a wall-size poster in motion, a slick killing machine. Leonor Varela is strikingly inadequate as the vampire who somehow arouses Blade’s nonlethal emotions.”
Snipes isn’t like that in real life. Gee, Chris – I guess he is acting. If the character Blade weren’t believable, exciting, mysterious or superhuman – he wouldn’t work. Snipes nailed it. And you think Varela is “inadequate?” You must be attracted to Reapers! She was very beautiful and the chemistry was there. I only wish they had explored their relationship more.
Blake French (filmcritic.com) summed the movie up best: “It’s a blast sitting in a darkened theater and soaking up the dark, creepy atmosphere, the stunning special effects, the gruesome makeup effects, and the predictable story. ‘Blade II’ is not a masterpiece of modern cinema, but as a comic book action movie, it’s pure escapism.”
While the original “Blade” offered us a nice set of teeth, Blade II has fangs that bite deeper than its predecessor. You’ll have fun watching this one. ^ -CRITIC DOCTOR
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