Movie Review with the Vampire (Player): Blade II

Alternate title: Blader

So despite my extreme backlog of regular writeups, my last movie review post seemed pretty well-received, so I decided to keep this project going, for awhile at least. I will admit, though, despite promises otherwise, I actually rather liked this movie. Apparently the people of 2001 agree with me, since according to Wikipedia it earned the most of the entire trilogy. Compared to the first one, it’s a lot better made, more tightly plotted, and has interesting worldbuilding accents. So I’ll probably have less snarky-shit to say, but there definitely are things to comment on, so here goes:


OPENING SEQUENCE

As soon as the movie opens, I was drawn in by the clear sense of style. The dark, wet streets; the baroque buildings; the asylum feel of the blood-bank. The location-card places this movie in Prague, and apparently it was filmed in Prague as well, which is a genius move, cause from the stories I’ve heard and the pictures I’ve seen the whole city is already gothic-Disneyland with cheap beer.

The scene focuses on this sickly-looking street kid who visits a bloodbank and gets dragged down to a basement with just all sorts of OSHA violations. Bloodstained concrete floors, vats of unidentified shit, creepy operating tables, open flame…. So, I’ve never actually played Bloodlines, but something about this scene tells me that every major Tremere-themed area looks a lot like this.

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They even have Nazis!

Fraulein Nurse tells the kid there’s something strange about his blood phenotype, which is  a word that I for the life of me can’t get my students to use correctly, so good job to her. There’s Something Strange about the kid, though, and before they can drain his blood he takes out the whole room in a rapid burst of violence with just enough glimpses to tell us that something fishy is going on.

ACT ONE

We open on a scene of Blade chasing down a pack of vampires, just in case the expository title sequence didn’t fully establish that he’s a vampire hunter. This scene also clearly establishes that the action and effects budget is much better this time. The whole scene is excellent action, ending with Blade trapping a feather-boa-bedecked vampire thug and questioning him on the location of some unknown guy. Then, in the very next scene, we cut to a closeup of what can only be blood-cocaine, and for a heart-stopping second I thought he was looking for a resurrected Deacon Frost.

But no, thank god, it’s just another pack of generic Eastern European guys, ones on which Blade lays the beatdown as well. So far the action has been nicely scripted, but the most important element of the scene is showing off Blade’s updated outfit.

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The red lining inside the coat is an excellent touch, but I am just glad they kept the gratuitous buckles and straps.

Blade fights his way down to a dank laboratory filled with tanks of blood and other creepy Tremere bullshit.

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Okay, now I’m 100% sure this sort of shit has been in Bloodlines somewhere

Floating in one of the tanks is the guy he’s looking for. And thank god, it’s Kris Kristofferson. His survival seems to be due to the vampire virus he was infected with in the last movie, indicated by incisor teeth which are slowly lengthening. Blade hauls him out of the lab and back to Team Blade base.

This base looks much like the previous one but comes stocked with a grease monkey. The kid–Scud, apparently, is his name–refers to Blade as “B,” which sounds awkwardly twee in a Scooby-gang sort of way and makes me dislike him even more than his stoner-douche demeanor already does.

Anyway, since apparently those blood chambers were being used for a kind of stasis, the vampire virus hasn’t taken complete hold of Kris Kristofferson yet, so Blade injects him with a “retroviral detox” and throws him into a cell to see if he recovers or not. Fortunately he does, to grumble and curse another night. Scud, though, expresses doubts, claiming Kristofferson could be a half-turned vampire agent. Kristofferson counters by snapping at the boy and calling him Skid, which I like much better so we’re going with that now too.

Just as tensions are peaking between Kristofferson and Skid, the movie injects a nice dose of plot when the surveillance system announces intruders in the base. Heat cameras set up around the perimeter check specifically for moving bodies at room temperature, which is an excellent example of thinking critically about the realities of a vampire world and leveraging it into plot points.

Meanwhile, the intruders–apparently literal ninjas of the night–are making their way acrobatically across the ceiling. While watching them, my mind immediately screamed “Assamite.” With this, plus the heavy Tremere vibes, it’s good to see the Blade-world pantheon expanding beyond the previous movie’s Brujah vs. The Worst Ventrues in the Fucking World. Blade battles the ninjas–though they’re already at a disadvantage because there’s more than one of them–and eventually fights to a draw with one of them. The other calls a truce, since they actually broke in to deliver a message.

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I mean…it’s 2001, do you guys still not have email?

They’re there on behalf of the ruling body of the vampire nation (fucking GOOD, thank GOD those scrubs from the last movie aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of vampire leadership in this world).  They identify themselves as Asad and Nyssa and, with their North African names and the harquus dots on Nyssa’s face–the Assamite-vibes increase ten-fold.

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Also the fact that Nyssa clearly wants to cut a bitch.

Really, the whole feeling about these two is…different. At the end of the fight, for example, we see Nyssa resting a hand on Asad’s shoulder, and as they face Blade there’s no sign of the usual cold calculation or thuggish debauchery that defined the vampires in the first film. Everything about these two screams reserved strength; not monsters, but warriors, working together as a team.

I love both of them instantly.

Anyway, they report that a threat worse than Blade is plaguing the vampires, and thus they are looking to parlay in an effort to join forces to battle it. Team Blade seems skeptical, but grudgingly agree. Blade, though, ensures their safety at the sit-down meeting by loading up his coat with pounds of Semtex, which–considering the ongoing role the Russian explosive has played in our game–lead to me laughing for two minutes straight.

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“I borrowed it from this big viking mother-fucker.”

Team Blade gets taken to a heavily fortified compound dotted with ghouled guards, and I got excited because this is what an elite vampire stronghold should look like. Clearly, these guys saw what happened to the last elder council and decided not to fuck around. Nyssa and Asad lead them to meet the “true” power of the vampire nation, and I have to admit I missed the first few minutes of this scene because my eyes were fucking glued to Nyssa’s cloak. It’s this amazing hybrid of diesel-punk with Victorian-military double-breasted lines and piping and if you have any idea where I could find a cosplay version of my own tell me in the comments immediately.

Anyway, they meet Overlord Damaskinos, “true” leader of the vampires, father of Nyssa, and the first unquestionable sign that a bit of Nosferatu has leaked into this world. Also, it’s clear that Nyssa got her looks from her mother’s side.

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Nosferatu, the sad pandas of the vampire world

Next, we meet Damaskinos’s lawyer, of all people, who immediately thanks Blade. What for? “For eliminating Deacon Frost,” he says, “You did us a favor.”

He did the whole world a favor, son.

Damaskinos sort-of answers a question from the previous movie, explaining that the vampire condition is spread to humans because of some sort of retrovirus endemic to vampires which spreads vampiric DNA into human cells. But, like any virus, it mutates, and some weird mutation has popped up. Patient Zero is a dude named Nomak who has apparantly been preferentially feeding on vampires. Just as Blade–and the audience–is thinking, “So what?” Asad points out that just like the wildtype vampire virus, this new virus Turns its victims, and the result is a vampiric-creature even more dangerous and bestial than anything seen before. Seeing the sorts of scrub-ass thugs these assholes usually roll with, I believe it.

Fortunately, though, Nyssa and Asad are leaders of an elite tactical squad which I can only hope is made up of more Assamite-analogs. They all themselves the Blood Pack, which is just about the douchiest douche-Sabbat name you could come up with. To add extra tension, Nyssa casually mentions that the Blood Pack was originally formed to hunt Blade. Now, though, they are formally extending a truce to work with him to hunt down this new threat.

And just to establish how scary these ubervampires can be, the very next scene is a shot of Nomak and his growing pack hunting nightlife on the streets of Prague.

Powerful arch-enemies forced to work together toward a common goal? I love it. On to Act Two.

ACT TWO

Most important business first, let’s meet the Blood Pack! I didn’t catch their names, so imma make up new ones, ala Honest Trailers:

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Yes, just as Kris Kristofferson is pretty much only labelled as Kris Kristofferson in my head, Ron Perlman will only ever be Ron Perlman. Except when he’s Hellboy. Because Hellboy is Ron Perlman.

Anyway, none of the pack particularly seems to like Blade, but Ron Perlman actually tries to start something–perhaps an argument over who has the tiniest sunglasses–and gets himself lojacked by Blade with a remote-trigger incendiary device lodged in the back of his head. With that lovely start to things, they head out to hunt some ubervampires.

Using hunter’s logic, they go to where their prey is most likely to feed; specifically a vampire club called House of Pain, because of course that’s what it’s called. They show up with a bevy of weapons, most of them variations on ways to deliver stakes, silver, and UV light. Skid also shows off some sort of injection device using a blood toxin which I can only assume is the one Karen invented in the last movie. Everyone takes guns, except One Man Boyband who insists on katanas, because it’s only two years since the 90’s so of course he fucking does.

Once loaded, they roll up to deliver vampire retribution, each and every one of them knowing they’re slow-mo walking through the most bad-ass shot in the entire movie.

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The club is about what you’d expect from any early-00’s goth club scene, though I found myself intrigued by the shots of vampires taking hits with razorblades and undergoing extreme body modification. I started to ruminate on how a vampire subculture would function, considering the difficulties in rebelling at the edges of society when your society is already pretty much on the edge every single night. Shitty Transmet, though, brings me back to reality by proposing to take out every one in the club, which is a messy but straightforward solution, and further cements the fact that vampires have a caste system between the “pure-bloods” and the Turned vampires, one that they are apparently able to act on with impunity.

The party splits up, because of course they fucking do, and spread through the main floor of the club and attached derelict rooms, which I can only assume were actual locations scouted in Prague that didn’t need anything other than a tinted lensfilter to look legit-creepy.

Nyssa and Blade are wandering through just such a space–hung with musty drapes and peeling arabesque-damask wallpaper–when suddenly Novak shows up and grabs her. Awesome! I thought, We’re gonna see some Assamite princess whoop-ass! But Nyssa…freezes. Um, okay…? This is a woman who almost cut Blade up like a turkey the first time we saw her and she’s not even gonna try to grab a knife or any one of the dozens of weapons strapped to her body at the moment? Fortunately, though, Novak doesn’t kill her, but before we can find out why, Blade bursts in to shoot him with silver, which he shrugs off and runs away.

Down in the club, Novak’s buddies have also revealed themselves and chaos erupts around them.

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This is why Nosferatu don’t get invited to parties

All these guys seem immune to silver, which is a bummer, but it doesn’t stop the Blood Pack from opening up on them with whatever they have. At one point, Boyband runs to center-screen sporting a pretty sweet look that looks like traditional samurai armor crossed with motorcycle gear, and just as I think this sword-wielding idiot is toast, he unleashes with some flying kicks that actually look like they were done without a wire, followed by seriously skilled sword work. I immediately took back everything I said before and promoted his name to Samurai Jack.

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Also I was wrong, he is carrying guns

Hodor and Ron Perlman continue to chase down the ubervampires with their silver shot, firing with extreme prejudice, uncaring of bystanders in their way, which are the only ones actually getting burned by the silver rounds. Amidst the fuckery, Shitty Transmet gets himself caught by one of the ubervampires and we finally get the reveal of what’s going on with the lines down the front of their faces:

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Some sort of Alien Vs. Predator Vagina-face. Okay, great. Thanks for that.

Shitty Transmet gets bit, followed by Maori Max in a different room a few seconds later. Max, though, is able to throw his attacker off, but when his girlfriend Madeline Khan comes to check on him, he lies about being bit, claiming ’tis but a scratch. Cause apparently he’s never seen a zombie movie to know how this is going to turn out.

Skid, bless his heart, while defending the surveillance van outside, figures out that the ubervampires are still weak to UV, which is convenient because daylight is coming. Blade confronts Novak on a catwalk in a nearby church chapel and they have a brief and narrow battle strangely reminiscent of side-scrolling combat games before the sun floods through a window and drives Novak away.

The party regroups back on the main club floor where Shitty Transmet dies an excruciating death under the ubervampire virus, only finally put out of his misery by a dose of solar radiation. Kris Kristofferson shows up and Skid picks up the mistrust-thread back up by accusing him of abandoning his post to leave Skid to be devoured by the monsters. Kristofferson probably could have confirmed this and no one would have thought the lesser of him, but instead he claims that while everyone else was running around with their dicks out, Kristofferson actually used his brain and followed one of the ubervampires to the entrance to their secret sewer lair. The thing is weak, trapped, and dying from lack of blood, so they collect it to bring back to the base to examine.

Meanwhile, we cut to a scene of Damaskinos talking with his lawyer, and by their word choices and insinuation, not everything is as it seems. What, you mean the elder vampires are manipulating the younger vampires for their own ends? Perish the thought! This scene is interesting, though, because Damaskinos is sitting at a baroque table with an ornate silver flatware set on one side of the screen, talking to his three-piece-suited lawyer and watching an entire bank of television screens displaying various broadcast news on the other. This is a clear juxtaposition of old power and new technologies, indicating that even though Damaskinos is probably a methusula-level elder, he has the position he has because he’s able to leverage modern technologies and study how humans work on their own level. Some things, though, you just can’t break a vampire of, and he ends the scene by wading into a literal bloodbath.

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Also, I don;t know if the people in those frescoes are fighting or fucking, but either way, it’s the sort of bullshit decor vampires are totally into

Back at the lab, Nyssa is examining the now-dead body of the captured ubervampire, and she must have some sort of forensic object-read ability because she starts declaring the biology of the thing after poking it for about five seconds. Unlike regular vampires they run hot, their metabolism burning through their bloodpool at neonate rates, which means that without constant infusions of blood they die. Novak, though, as Patient Zero, is different, and how she knows this without having studied him yet is beyond me. Anyway, the other merits afforded the ubervampires include Venomous Bite and Enhanced Skeleton. There’s a brief Alien-like scene where she drops fresh blood into the abdominal cavity and some of the organs pulsate back to life. It’s…pretty genuinely creepy. But despite her “research,” she doesn’t discover any hints on new ways to kill them that don’t involve UV light, though she does mumble something about stabbing them through the side of the ribcage instead.

Hmm, I wonder if that will come back around. So far this movie has definitely improved upon the last one’s plot structuring by actually introducing plot points well before they’re needed so they’re woven more naturally into the overall arc.

Speaking of weaving things into the plot, Maori Max is starting to look a little peaky, even under his girlfriend’s ministrations. Not sure why he’s resisting the virus far longer than anyone else has, but it sure doesn’t bode well.

Anyway, since the ubervampires are only weak to UV light, Blade proposes hunting during the day, which doesn’t sit well with the Blood Pack, since apparently they never got Deacon’s memo about sunscreen. Still, they begrudgingly agree, and Skid makes himself busy building some sort of UV-grenade.

Next we get to Blade’s Emotional Exposition scene, as Blade struggles to come to terms with his dual nature, only this time instead of discussing it with human-Karen, it’s brought up by vampire-Nyssa. While Karen was afraid of his vampire nature, Nyssa is frustrated that he isn’t embracing it more, insinuating that yeah, some of it sucks, but she’s known nothing else her whole life and made peace with it a long time ago, so it can be dealt with without totally eroding one’s soul. Interestingly, though, Nyssa has no other choice but to accept being a vampire, but Blade, quite uniquely, does, but doesn’t know what to choose, so the scene ends with confusion and no little amount of sexual-frustration on everyone’s part.

We get a pretty good rap-music dolly-camera montage of everyong suiting up in armor that’s half Stormtrooper, half Daft Punk. Skid shows off the new grenades and a “bomb,” aka a box that sets off the entire cache at once. Blade adorably mansplains to Nyssa that when the grenades go off, she should find cover. Kris Kristofferson notices this interaction between them and pulls Blade aside to give him a lecture about choosing his girlfriends better. Blade sulks, then lashes back by pointing out he’s still not sure Kristofferson isn’t some sort of brainwashed vampire secret agent.

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“Also you’re not my real dad!”

Allies torn apart by plots, mistrust, and backstabbing? Sounds like vampires! On to Act Three!

ACT THREE

The group descends into the sewer system in search of the ubervampire nest. Not sure why the vampires were all so concerned about hunting during the day, then, if they’re all just going fucking underground. Also none of them are wearing helmets. Isn’t that the first thing you’d want to protect from UV damage? I mean, burn your arm, that sucks, but burn your eyes out in the middle of a fight and you’re fucked.

They immediately split the party again, because that worked out so well in the club. There are long, tense shots of the different groups searching through tunnels, stumbling over dead body parts, etc.

Once they’re alone, Ron Perlman and Hodor decide they need to exact revenge for losing Shitty Transmet by taking out Kris Kristofferson. But instead of just, you know, killing him instantly–like a vampire should be able to do–Hodor decides to beat the shit out of him, while Ron Perlman splits the party further by wandering off on his own.

Now, we still got a lot of extraneous characters, so the plot decides to simplify things. Maori Max finally succumbs to the ubervampire virus and takes out Samurai Jack. Madeline Khan sees him, has a poignant moment of clear heartbreak, then immolates them both by throwing open a manhole cover above, letting in the sun. So I guess there was a plot reason for setting this scene during the day afterall.

Nyssa and Asad find a cistern full of skeletons and rancid water and immedately decide that the best thing to do is wade right into it, leaving no one except them surprised when ubervampires explode from the muck and take out Asad. Luckily Blade shows up with a flash grenade to take them out, while Nyssa…literally runs and hides. Great. I mean I know it’s UV but so far you haven’t been living up to your warrior name there, girl.

Ron Perlman tries to set up us the UV bomb, fumbles with it’s faulty controls, then looks up to see ubervampires scrambling down the tunnel toward him.

General fuckery ensues. Ubervampires flood out of the woodwork, taking out Hodor, which allows Kris Kristofferson escape. They also chase Blade, Nyssa, and Ron Perlman back together, then immediately apart again as Blade sets off another light grenade. Blade runs back to try to set off the bomb, but Perlman tells him lol, it’s broken, good luck with that, bro.

Perlman and Nyssa get pinned down in another cistern by a huge mass of ubervampires and Nyssa finally fights like the Assamite princess she is.

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Though I’m not sure why she’s using guns. I mean, a silver blade doesn’t instantly kill the ubervampires, but surely limbs and heads falling off would at least slow them down.

Finally, though, Blade gets the bomb working again and sets it off.

 

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And apparantly I have to give Skid more credit, cause the thing is able to bend space and time to send UV light flooding around corners.

Kris Kristofferson, meanwhile, wandering around on his own, runs into Nomak, who once again doesn’t kill him, but instead gives him some secret whispers and a ring from his hand that looks suspiciously like the ring on Nyssa’s hand that was shown earlier in the movie.

When the UV-smoke clears, Ron Perlman is missing, but Blade finds Nyssa, alive but very badly burned with at least four boxes of agg-damage. However, he does what a good party member should do and shares some of his own blood so she can heal.

Now, I’d like to mention, this is a huge improvement over the similar scene in the last movie. It has the same themes of vulnerability and sacrifice, but done in a more equitable way while still being compelling. There’s a tender moment of him holding her close, clearly considering his identity and the nature of community connection–

Which is shot to hell when goons show up out of nowhere and taze him, bro. Oh and guess what, they’re being lead by Ron Perlman, who rounds up everyone left alive in the sewers and drags them back to Damaskinos’ compound.

Blade wakes up in a lab, surrounded by myraid guards and an open-air cistern of bubbling blood, which doesn’t seem like the most sterile way to store it but fine. Skid and Kris Kristofferson are there too, and Kristofferson comes in with the last exposition dump, relayed to him by Nomak in the sewers: Apparantly, the ubervampire virus strain isn’t a mutant, it was designed on purpose. Damaskinos himself shows up to confirm, saying he was using recombinant DNA technologies to attempt to breed vampires immune to normal vampire weaknesses.

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Which I find hard to believe considering they can’t even get their sunscreen technology in order

Damaskinos also confirms that the duplicate ring isn’t an accident, he gave it to Nomak because he is his son. Nyssa, apparantly the only person in the movie who hadn’t figured this out yet, storms off in shock. After Damaskinos goes after her, Ron Perlman moves to start his long-awaited beat-down and Blade tries to trigger the bomb in his head to stop him, but it doesn’t work because lol, Skid has secretly been the mole this whole time! Skid gets his moment to shine, plucking the dead bomb from Perlman’s hand and swaggering around the lab in his sagging-pants monologue. Blade, however–being A) a professional vampire hunter and 2) not an idiot–reveals he’s known the whole time, and jklol, the bomb isn’t a dud afterall.

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MR. F….UCKED.

Skid becomes nothing more than his namesake on the floor, while Kris Kristofferson and Blade get grabbed and dragged off, the former to be kicked around some more by Ron Perlman, the latter apparently to have his blood drained. Again. But at least this time it’s for science.

Meanwhile, Nyssa confronts her father, rightly upset that he threw her and her pack completely under the bus, yelling about her men and their people, but Damaskinos grabs her by the throat and she…does nothing about it? Seriously, girl?

Basically, everything is looking pretty shitty for everyone….

…Till Novak comes roaring into the building, taking out an entire hallway full of guards on his own and causing a distraction for the entire compound, which Kris Kristofferson uses to his advantage to break free and rescue Blade. Blade perhaps should have been a little stingier about spending blood points earlier, cause after being bolted to the exsanguination table for only a couple minutes, he’s super weak and unable to do much. Desperately hungry, is he going to succumb to his vampiric nature and attack someone?

No, apparently the GM chickened out and reminded them of that damn cistern of blood back in the lab, which Kris Kristofferson drags him to for a brisk soak, followed by a long ass-kicking of Ron Perlman.

Novak, meanwhile, fights his way through the compound after Damaskinos, who’s retreating with Nyssa to a waiting helicopter. Nyssa, though, betrays her father, locking them in so Novak can catch up. He and Damaskinos have a father-son heart to heart…

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Apparently Nyssa got all the looks in the family

…But some daddy issues are just too much to be reconciled and Novak kills him, albeit apparently sparing him the ubervampire virus.

Now, it’s just Nyssa and Novak left, and I’m watching this and I think, okay, now we get some interesting shit. Nyssa clearly cares about their people–why else would she have been so upset at her father’s genetic engineering plots and his betrayal of her and her team–and Novak represents the core threat to her people at the moment. Yeah, he’s super strong, maybe like Gen-12 in this world, but she’s a fucking Assamite princess. Look at all the bad-ass ninja fighting she had in the opening scene, the scene explicitly written to establish her as the equal of Blade. At the very least, even if she’s not enough to take Novak, from a plot standpoint she can keep him busy until Blade comes in to save the day–

Seriously, what?! She just…surrenders to Novak with some mumbled explanation about “closing the circle,” whatever that means. I mean, creepy incest-vibes aside, what the hell is the character motivation for this?! Yeah, she’s upset at her father and I guess maybe transferring that self-hatred onto herself, but that’s the sort of complex emotionally-masochistc gymnastics that take a while to settle in (trust me, I’d know). Yes her father was a shitty betraying asshole, but in the immediate situation, this thing standing in front of her is the thing that ACTUALLY killed her men!!! Even if you think the fight is ultimately futile, at least fucking try!! You’re a fucking VAMPIRE, woman!!! Get!!! Fucking!!!! ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!

To add extra tragedy to the situation, about ten seconds after Novak bites her, Blade does show up to save the day. So yeah, she probably could have held Novak off if she had just taken a dramatically long time to back across the fucking room.

Anyway, Blade and Novak fight in a protracted battle that relies a little too much on computer animated acrobatics and finally ends when Blade jams his sword up through the side of Novak’s ribcage, trying to reach the weak spot to the heart Nyssa telegraphed earlier. He gets it most of the way in, but not all, but fortunately Novak surrenders and ends up jabbing it the last few centimeters himself. Because apparently self-loathing really runs in this family.

Blade rushes to Nyssa, who isn’t dead yet, just very badly bitten, and since she knows she’s infected with her brother’s virus, she asks Blade to help her die by taking her outside to see the rising sun.

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Good-guy vampires get gentle dissolving effects instead of painful spontaneous combustion

The movie fades out on Blade staring into the sun, unaffected by its rays, cementing the differences between him and the woman who just died in his arms.

…Oh, but lest we leave the movie on a sad note, we get an epilogue where Blade tracks down feather-boa vampire to London and kills him in the middle of a porn shop.

CONCLUSION

Overall, despite my obvious frustration with Nyssa getting on-screen fridged, I actually quite enjoyed the movie. It’s a better-made movie than the first one, with a more intricate and well-worked plot set against a gothically-lush backdrop. One of my favorite things about this movie is that, unlike the first movie, nothing is set outside during the day. Shafts of sunlight leak into buildings, of course, but the first time any of the characters see the sun under open sky is the very end where Nyssa dies. This structure is extremely appropriate for a vampire film, letting us the audience subtly feel the weight and oppressive darkness of a nocturnal world.

Of course, though, it’s not perfect. The plot pacing is a little uneven and relies a lot on info-dumps. This is a common fault of Guillermo del Toro movies, though, and honestly I enjoy his movies enough that it doesn’t bother me anymore. Still, many have said they don’t like it–one friend even says he likes this movie the least of the three–and I’ve been trying to figure out why. The best answer I can come up with, I think, comes down to the action, and I’ll tell you why.

Blade 1 is not a very well made movie, but it is good in one key area, and that is showing Blade fight. His character has complex motivations that Wesley Snipes does pretty much nothing to emote properly, but that’s fine because he kicks fucking ass and looks absolutely gorgeous doing it. Like any good action movie, in Blade 1 the plot is mostly to tie together a bunch of action setpieces which are the actual point of the movie. Here, though, in Blade 2, Blade shares the fighting spotlight with a whole menagerie of characters. Since the party is constantly splitting up, pretty much every action scene is split as well, so even though Blade fights with just as much skill and frequency as before, we lose a ton of energy whenever we cut away to the lesser fighters (Samurai Jack excluded. I’d watch a whole movie of him). In other words, even though the overall narrative-story arc is focused on Blade, the action-story arc–building up the strength and seriousness of fights till the climax–is muddled. Also, I mentioned before, I felt this movie relied a little too much on computer animated acrobatic effects. As pure visuals they are okay, but they seriously lack the weight of practical martial arts stunts.

But still, I am one who focuses primarily on storytelling in my movies, and I feel this movie did an excellent job. It used a lot of cool plot devices endemic to the Blade vampire-world, things I complained about lacking in the first movie. And, quite frankly, I might let the Nyssa thing slide if we just assume that–as vampire royalty–she inherited the same bullshit gene that let all the vampire leaders in the last movie give up without a fight the first time something didn’t go their way.

Man, these reviews take a long time. At the very least, though, I will review Blade Trinity. I’ve already watched it, so I can tell you now…I will have a lot of things to say.

Other Movie Review Posts:

Blade

Blade Trinity

Interview with the Vampire

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13 Responses to Movie Review with the Vampire (Player): Blade II

  1. garvin says:

    This movie didn’t really make an impact for me. Other than making WWE jokes. Trinity on the flip side, oh man… Show no fear! Show no mercy! Only Justice!

  2. MorienneMontenegro says:

    About 20 minutes after you have posted this review my ST from the Sabbat game I’m playing messaged me on facebook. I am playing a Tzimisce that has a “vagina mouth” as you put it. Apparently my ST (and rest of the coterie) decided to nickname me “vagina mouth” from this day and forward.

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous “vagina mouth” sounds in Turkish? I hate you now 😛

    Seriously, it is a nice review I was also extremely disapponited with the way Nyssa died as well when I first watched the movie.

    • Colleen says:

      Ah-hahahahahhaha! I’m glad I could help! 😉

      Yeah. I mean, I’m not even saying she didn’t have to die, but she could have been bit while, you know, FIGHTING BACK, or something 😛

  3. That Guy From Reddit says:

    I’m loving this series. After Blade Trinity (which is “Deadpool Begins” in my book) may I ask that the next ones to be Interview with the vampire and Only Lovers Left Alive (obviously)?

    • Colleen says:

      I’m definitely thinking IwtV next, cause its another seminal text and pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from Blade 😉 And hopefully OLLA soon too, but there are so many movies I *havent* seen that I want to. Like literally *all* of the Dracula movies, and I’d kind of like to see the original Nosferatu. And all this is on top of my regular writing of our game, so we’ll see 😉 I do love that people seem to enjoy them so much.

      • MorienneMontenegro says:

        Reviewing IwtV without familiarity without the knowledge of the books is a bad idea in my opinion.

        IwtV is an extremely good movie, despite that it pales in comparison to the books.

      • Corvidae says:

        Fair, but dear god, I barely have time to write, let alone read those tomes >.<

  4. Josh says:

    Please do keep reviewing movies. Obviously most of us came here because we love reading about your game, but personally I think one of the things that elevates it is your writing style itself. Plus, as someone who saw most of the movies you mentioned BEFORE getting into VTM it’s been a lot of fun to see someone come at them from the other direction with clan biases and setting expectations I didn’t have.

    • Josh says:

      Oh, and I saw a conspicuous lack of the Underworld franchise in your list. Is it because you’ve seen them already? They’re uh… something, but the art direction is on point in my opinion.

      • Colleen says:

        🙂 Thank you, it really means a lot to hear. Hopefully I will have more time this summer once school lets out, though I will be teaching some summer camp classes too, so we’ll see.

        Oh crap, I totally forgot about Underworld! I have seen a few of them, but it was ages ago, I dont remember anything about them. I definitely have to at least see the first one cause there’s sooooo many jokes to make about werewolves there too 😀

  5. Lee Winters says:

    Nyssa was an interesting character , killing her off was a big mistake.

  6. Winters says:

    To be honest, Nyssa was horribly written, which bordered on Mary-Sue. When they get to Club Pain, she shows Blade HOW to track down their hideouts! What the fuck? You claim to protect your people in best interest, and you show the very man who is out to hunt you how to track you down?

    The biggest one for me was her argument! Nyssa is very privileged. She’s the daughter of the head organization, trained to be one of the elite fighters, and probably one of their top scientist. She’s had a very comfortable life compared to Blade’s own. Her only argument was just ‘I live in a society where my kind is highly praised so it’s my duty, so like?? Bye, get over it and accept yourself ;)’. And then walk off like she’s actually contributed something to Blade accepting his identity. It’s like a white or black person telling a biracial person that they’re not just both races, they’re the one they pass for. Blade has every reason to be the way he is, and Kris, who is like his only family, has a mutual understanding with his hardship. Nyssa practically shit on it, and acted like she was right.

    You’ve practically gotten down many of the points I would have brought up. She starts out strong and then just? Is just awful. I hated watching her on screen, and I hated her and Blade’s “romance”. The whole entire time Nyssa just puts herself on a pedestal, and the movie just feeds into her bullshit. For a move that put less characterization than 50 Shades of Grey in their supporting cast, Nyssa needed a rewrite. Honestly, she was so bad, I wanted Karen back. At the same time, they probably would have came up with some shit love-triangle. Oh my god, don’t even get me started!

    Other than that, I really did like Blade 2 and agree with a lot of your points. It was funny, action-packed, the atmosphere was on point, and it had an alright story. EXCEPT, I can’t agree that it was better than Blade 1. To me, the lore addition felt really lack luster like, “vampires are edgy as fuck in this gothic trash club.” The one thing it really had going for it was the Reapers, and that was just… yikes. Immune to everything but sunlight? Um, shouldn’t that have been the first thing you figure out? If you knew what happened to Frost, why didn’t you just… turn a pregnant woman and then clone and mutate the child. Movie logic needed a resolve, but it still, it just seemed to fall flat. The biggest plot hole was just the entire notion of “let’s work together! :)” is useless when Blade immediately knew they were going to fuck him over (and ding ding! They did!). I expected Blade to act more like it… rather then just come out of the blue like, “Yeah I knew this the whole time.” The whole thing needed another revision.

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