Blade: Trinity (2004)
The first Blade, directed by Stephen Norrington, has become a minor cult hit despite the fact it is a rather mediocre film with terrible special effects. Blade II, on the other, actually gave the series a reason to exist, with Guillermo del Toro's direction overcoming David S. Goyer's questionable writing and plotting. Wesley Snipes loved playing the character, Blade was now a bona fide superhero franchise and, with X-Men and Spider-Man joining in, it looked like things were just going to continue to get better as Marvel began to dominate the flashy new superhero trend.
Goyer wanted del Toro to direct the third installment, but his work on the second got him a project he really wanted: Hellboy. Norrington took one look at Goyer's script for Blade: Trinity and decided he wasn't going to return either. That left Goyer, whose only previous directing credit had been the small 2002 drama Zig Zag, to suddenly helm the new movie. Unfortunately, things only got worse from there.
Blade (Snipes) and Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) have moved to yet another city to hunt vampires. This time around a gang led by Danica Talos (Parker Posey) sets up a complicated plot to have Blade brought in by the FBI when he is filmed killing a familiar. The reason they want Blade is that Talos and her associates went to Syria to bring back the first of their kind: Dracula (Doninic Purcell), also known as Drake or Dagon, a creature that was born around the time that civilization was emerging in the Middle East. They hope that Drake will be able to kill Blade, thus allowing the vampires to enslave and harvest humans.
Their plans are complicated by the fact that Blade is not the only one out there hunting vampires. The Nightstalkers, a group led by Whistler's daughter Abigail (Jessica Biel) and ex-vampire Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) is also trying to stop them and hope Blade will be able to use Drake's blood to activate a new virus that will kill most of the vampires. Drake has little use for Danica's group other than as a means to use humanity for his own purposes, seeing the modern vampires as weak imitations of himself. Still, he sees a worthy opponent in Blade, thus using the circumstances to force a confrontation.
A good portion of the reason Blade: Trinity turned out the way it did was because of Wesley Snipes. Much of the time that Blade is seen on screen is not Snipes, but a computer-generated Blade, stunt double or stand-ins. There were times Snipes never left his trailer, often communicating through Post-It Notes. When he was with everyone else he was constantly in character, not interacting with many of his co-stars, and ultimately filing a lawsuit complaining about the amount of screen time he had.
Even if Snipes had been fully cooperative David S. Goyer's script did nothing to further the story along. The writing had been the weakest part of Blade II, with Goyer pretty much insisting that del Toro keep most of what he wanted in the movie, right down to the dialog. Predictably, with no one to even push back a little, Goyer's terrible pacing and horrible dialog is even more pronounced. Ryan Reynolds, even prior to playing Deadpool, was saddled with being the comedy relief. He's good at it, as can be seen in the little he's allowed to talk in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and when he got to play Deadpool correctly in his own movies. It's as if Goyer thought Hannibal King was Deadpool, but based the way he was written on someone explaining to him who Deadpool was over a few beers and later trying to write the character based on blurred notes from a cocktail napkin. It just makes Reynolds annoying whether he wants to be or not, which is not a good thing because he and Jessica Biel are pretty much tasked with carrying the movie.
That also contributes to the mess since Abigail is written as angry vampire-killing chick, King as smart-aleck sidekick and everyone else in one-note roles as well. Patton Oswalt may get to play a little basketball, but he's still awkward computer nerd, while Natasha Lyonne plays blind single mom with extraordinary hearing skills and a medical degree. Triple H gets to play big dumb vampire while Parker Posey pretends she's Helena Bonham Carter. Everyone else, vampires and humans alike, are indistinguishable from one another. Dominic Purcell merely gets to emote a few lines here and there.
There are a few good things. Abigail's baiting and killing a bunch of vampires in the subway, for instance, as well as a brief appearance by vampire dogs. Confusingly, rather than just have fangs, they have mouths like the Reapers from Blade II, which supposedly should only happen if they were vampire dogs bitten by vampires, but Drake in his true form has the same bifurcated jaw as well. That means that, sadly, Goyer can't keep his own mythology straight. On top of that, the generic city where the action takes place has Esperanto as a second language. The only thing I can find is that Goyer wanted to the city to be bilingual, but decided Esperanto, a language largely spoken by linguistic enthusiasts, would be it. It does give him an excuse to show a clip from Incubus, once again violating a major rule of film making. Almost any viewer would be better served enjoying the quick 80 minutes of Incubus than sitting through the nearly two hours of Blade: Trinity.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Time: 113 minutes
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell
Director: David S. Goyer