When creating Blade, I wonder whether a sequel was planned. It was thought about, I’m certain, but I wonder if there was a definite plan during its production. If there wasn’t, they did an excellent job of creating one. If there was, I wonder why they didn’t incorporate some of the ideas of Blade II in the first film, because it might have made it even better.
We open with Blade (Wesley Snipes) attempting to locate his father-figure Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Since characters shooting themselves off-screen in an R-rated movie typically means that they aren’t truly dead, he managed to make it through the first Blade, and is now in a suspended state. He was captured by the vampires, and now Blade wants him dead, because he’s been turned. He eventually locates him, but is unable to kill him right then and there. He decides instead to attempt a cure, and open the blinds. If he dies, it needed to be done. If he lives, Blade gets his best friend back.
Of course, Abraham lives. This is good, as I like Kristofferson, and his character is fun to be around. Blade is still downing a serum to restrain his thirst for blood, although his other vampire traits remain; he still has superhuman strength, agility, and regeneration. Thankfully, since we found out that he’s part human, he doesn’t get affected by garlic, silver or sunlight. This makes him an ideal hero, especially one to hunt vampires. This makes it seem odd that they come to him with a proposal, especially after he kills a whole bunch of the creatures just to free his friend.
It turns out that the vampiric virus has evolved into something different. These new creatures are dubbed “Reapers”, and they’re immune if silver and garlic. Sunlight still gets to them though, which means they can be killed. The vampires call Blade to team-up with him to hunt the Reapers — a creature that has to feast every 24 hours, and seems to only target vampires.
Blade questions why he’d want to help the vampires, considering the Reapers are helping him do his job. They explain that after all the vampires are dead, the Reapers would likely target the humans, who Blade is dead-set against letting die. So they team up and decide to go hunt some Reapers, all while not trusting one another, or even themselves. Blade II toys around having none of the characters trust each other, even Blade and Abraham, considering he had been a vampire for over two years. One character remarks that nobody quits being bloodthirsty in just one night. Abraham disappears at one point in the film. Where did he go? Is he going to turn against Blade? Unfortunately, this concept is largely forgotten about.
The vampire team that Blade is given have supposedly been training for two years. Not to kill the Reapers, but to kill him. I can see how that would cause some tension. The two main vampires are Nyssa (Leonar Varela) and Reinhardt (Ron Perlman), although each one is unique. Maybe not unique in their personality, but in what weapon they use. A couple of them use guns, one of them dual-wields swords, while another has a massive hammer. Hunting has never been so much fun.
The story does get a tad more complicated than it’s set-up to be, and there are even a few twists — an element that would have greatly helped the first Blade. Characters don’t stay stagnant, and the final act ends up in a different direction than you might expect. While the twists aren’t amazing, at least an effort was made in attempting to surprise the audience, which is something to be applauded. It still isn’t a complex or deep story, but it’s enough to hold interest, and is far less forgettable than the one in Blade.
Since this is still primarily an action film, you want a lot of action to be present. I’m not positive, but it felt like there was even more action than in Blade II‘s predecessor. The set-pieces are larger too, and I would argue that they’re more creative this time around as well. Everything has been ramped up a notch, with this film being a great example of how to make a good sequel using the “bigger is better” approach.
This time around, the director was Guillermo del Toro. He gave this film a lot darker atmosphere than Blade had, which I think worked to its advantage. At times, it actually works as a genuine horror film, while not sacrificing the action. What results is an incredibly fun film to watch that has more depth and things to watch for than its predecessor.
Wesley Snipes still embodies his character with the gravitas that it requires. He understands Blade, and he gets how to play him. He needs to be confident, a bit of a jerk, but still flawed and at times, unhappy. He does this, all while being able to take apart entire armies without using more than one hand. Blade is a character that I’ve grown to really enjoy watching, and is one that I want to see more of.
For the most part, Blade II takes everything that Blade did and made it better. The action was better, there was more humor, it actually, at times, worked as a horror film, and its story holds your interest instead of simply being an excuse to set-up action scenes. Everything has been improved in Blade II, and as a result, it’s a rewarding action movie that’s definitely worthy of a watch, especially if you enjoyed Blade.