“Blade II” was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, is a sequel to the 1998 previous film and is the 2nd film in the Blade Trilogy. The film is based on the Marvel Comic of the same name and was written by David S. Goyer. The film sees Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson return to their respected characters. The film’s new cast included Leonor Varela, Ron Pearlman, Norman Reedus, Luke Goss, Donnie Yen, Matt Schulze and Thomas Kretschmann. Despite David S. Goyer returning to write the sequels, New Line Cinema wanted to go in a different direction rather than the ultra violence of the first film, which is why Del Toro was bought on board. The movie did keep the violence and an R rating but toned down just a bit in favor of darker story.
2 years after the events of the first film, Eric Wright a.k.a Blade (Snipes) continues his hunt of vampires. His old friend and mentor, Whistler (Kristofferson) is kidnapped and moved all of over the world until Blade finds them in Prague, Czech Republic. After he rescues him, Blade and his new help, Scud (Reedus) are attacked by vampires who which to offer Blade a truce and ask for help in hunting a threat that feeds on bother humans and vampires. Damaskinos (Kretschmann) is an elder vampire and brings in Blade, Scud & Whistler to warns them about Jared Nomak (Goss) a new form of vampire known as the Reaper. Unlike vampires who kill with their bites, Nomak’s victims turn into Reapers. Blade is then introduced to a small tactical team known as the Blood Pack who were originally trained to kill Blade but now must work together. Rheinhart (Pearlman), Chupa (Shulz), Snowman (Yen) and Damaoskins’ daughter, Nyssa (Varela) among others make up the Pack. After his first encounter with Nomak, Blade realizes that these Reapers are tougher to kill than vampires. With time running out & Reapers steadily multiplying, Blade and the Blood Pack must their differences aside and stop this deadly foe from spreading like a plague and wiping out the world.
The first “Blade” movie was a surprise to me as far as comic book films goes. Dark and super violent, that film would set the standard for an R rated superhero films to come. Blade II was no different and major upgrade from first as far as visuals and action go. The storyline however was a bit cliche and not all that great with the inclusion of The Blood Pack. David S. Goyer wanted to introduce new characters but this was a bit much as the only real standout from that group was Ron Pearlman. Wesley Snipes, once again, kills it at Blade. He gives him a bit an emotional quality here that wasn’t explored in the previous film. Leonor Varela was an interesting character but kind of a throw away as the film progresses. She gives a solid performance and holds her own against Snipes. Goss as the main villain was a bit over the top but it worked in this film and made for a menacing and badass character to go against Blade. The previous villain was more charismatic and charming while Goss was more ruthless and relentless.
Overall, this was probably one of the best superhero sequels at the time following “Superman II”, that would actually surpass the previous film prior to other films like 2003’s “X2: X-Men United” and 2004’s “Spider Man 2”. Ironically, the 2 Blade movies seemed overlooked as 2000’s “X-Men” & 2002’s “Spider Man” would be considered the launch of the superhero movie genre despite “Superman” & “Batman” already having successful film franchises by then. David S. Goyer would go on and write as well direct the 3rd installment in the series. Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson would also return alongside Jessica Biel & Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, that film is considered to be the worst of the 3 and in 2011 Marvel Studios regained the right to the character and is set for a reboot in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Mahershala Ali playing the titular character.