If you enjoyed the originality of the original “Blade”, and thought Del Toro’s “Blade 2” was hells on wheels, mannerisms and good taste be damned, then David Goyer’s “Blade: Trinity”, the third and supposedly final installment in the comic book superhero turned successful movie franchise, is something of a letdown. For one, there’s that nagging notion that the entire movie is little more than an introduction to the Nightstalkers — the younger, hipper, and the MTV generation of Blade, as embodied by insanely perfect physical specimens Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds. Then again, it is the third installment of a comic book franchise, so why did people expect so much out of it?
“Blade: Trinity” returns Wesley Snipes to the only role in the late ’90s that has garnered him any semblance of commercial success. Snipes is the titular Blade, a half-vampire, half-human vampire slayer who spends his nights killing vampires and his days dreaming of new ways to kill vampires. Aided by his trusted weaponsmith and father figure Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), our hero has continued his vampire slaying ways with no signs of slowing down. The vampires are understandably sick and tired of Blade, and they’ve concocted a slick PR stunt to get him under control — namely tricking him into killing a human in front of a dozen witnesses (and capturing it all on video). Soon, the FBI is after Blade.
After an FBI raid on Blade’s warehouse nets Blade and leaves Whistler blown to smithereens, Blade finds himself alone and at the mercy of the vampires, led by the very prissy Parker Posey (taking a break from low-budget independent films just long enough to pay off any outstanding financial debts with her “Trinity” paycheck, no doubt). Fortunately for Blade, the Nightstalkers ride to the rescue. Now joined forces, the gun-toting trio gets ready for a final showdown with the bloodsuckers, a task made more difficult because the vampires have resurrected Dracula, the progenitor of the vampire species. Alas, the purpose of Dracula’s resurrection is a tad perplexing to the viewer and, one suspect, to writer/director David S. Goyer as well.
More regurgitation of the last two films than anything overly original, “Trinity” isn’t how you’d like to see everyone’s favorite vampire hunter in tight black leather go out. As mentioned by critics everywhere, the movie seems more like an attempt to spin-off the Nightstalkers rather than anything having to do with Blade. It’s almost incidental that Blade and Wesley Snipes somehow got to be a part of the movie, considering just how little effort Goyer puts into justifying the sequel. The plot is so slapdash, in fact, that at one point the vampire nation gets their own reason for resurrecting Dracula confused. We share in their confusion.
Goyer, whose only previous directorial credit is 2002’s “Zig Zag” (which also starred Snipes), handles the action sequences well enough, if only because he’s seen it set up, staged, practiced, and executed about a million times courtesy of directors Stephen Norrington and Guillermo Del Toro. Which is to say Goyer seems to be simply repeating what he’s seen Norrington and Del Toro do in their own “Blade” movies. There’s little imagination or originality in the action or the narrative, which is a bit of a mystery, especially since Goyer has been the only writer of record for the series. Knowing Blade, and the world he inhabits, as he does, one would think Goyer could provide something more intimate or worthy of fanfare. “Blade: Trinity” is just…blah.
Still, for the undiscerning genre fan, “Trinity” offers up decent enough entertainment, helped in no small part by its Hollywood gloss and attractive actors. Ryan Reynolds, late of “Van Wilder” and the obscure “Buying the Cow”, has enough perfect abs for an army of complaining fanboys. His partner in crime, Jessica Biel, is the perfect gun-toting (and sometimes bow-toting) superheroine, even if her propensity for listening to loud music while battling armor-clad vampires makes you scratch your head. Then again, complaining about Abigail Whistler’s fighting prowess or choice of music is something of a stretch, considering this is a series about vampires and vampire slayers.
The villains are not entirely impressive, with the exception of Parker Posey, whose Danica Talos is not the girl you’d call for help in a scrape, since she’s liable to flee first and wonder about your health tomorrow, if at all. As the vampire who originally turned Hannibal King, Talos and King share a history, and their exchanges toward the end make up some of the movie’s funnier moments. Less successful is “John Doe’s” Dominic Purcell, who is sporting a larger physique than usual these days. Fans of Purcell’s cancelled “John Doe” must be wondering when this guy got so big. Not that his size helps him against Blade, because Purcell, like underling Talos, is prone to running away from a fight. Not exactly what you’d expect out of the king of vampires, but there you go.
Without a doubt, “Trinity’s” biggest handicap is its script, which offers nothing new, innovative, or even remotely “cool” to add to the Blade lore. It’s simply another installment in a moneymaking machine, which is a real shame. Granted, it’s an expensive and mildly entertaining popcorn movie, but certainly nothing more. As the final installment in the “Blade” franchise, it’s a disappointment, but the movie’s ending certainly doesn’t solidify “Trinity” as the last. If anything, it leaves room for more than one path, with the further adventures of the Nightstalkers being just one.
David S. Goyer (director) / David S. Goyer (screenplay)
CAST: Wesley Snipes …. Blade
Kris Kristofferson …. Abraham Whistler
Dominic Purcell …. Drake
Jessica Biel …. Abigail Whistler
Ryan Reynolds …. Hannibal King
Parker Posey …. Danica Talos