♦ Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water comes out in UK cinemas on Valentine’s Day and so Tripwire’s editor-in-chief will be reviewing every film he has made up to this point. Today starts with his his fourth film, Blade 2, released in 2002
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Luke Goss, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman,
Just a year after The Devil’s Backbone, del Toro directed this film, the second in Marvel’s hit movie series. Blade II is a very different beast to the three films he directed beforehand. The second in Marvel’s hit horror franchise, Wesley Snipes is Blade, the half human half-vampire hero who usually hunts the more traditional creatures of the night. But here he is approached by the vampires themselves to help them hunt down and destroy the Reapers, a new strain of evil who are a threat to the pointy teethed everywhere. But of course, you can’t really trust a vampire and so Blade gets double-crossed by them before the film is over.
Blade II saw the return of Ron Perlman as del Toro’s onscreen collaborator as villainous vampire Reinhardt. The king of the vampires Damaskinos played by Thomas Kretschmann under a great deal of prosthetic makeup offers Blade their assistance in hunting the Reapers. He lends him their Blood Pack, a group of vampires who have been trained for this purpose which includes Reinhardt, his daughter Nyssa (Leonor Varela) and Snowman played by Donnie Yen. Blade II is also the first time that del Toro worked with Luke Goss, who also appeared in Hellboy: The Golden Army, who is chief Reaper Nomak.
The years haven’t been kind to Blade II as much of it looks like a video game and Snipes is not a very good actor, missing no opportunity to preen on the screen. Kristofferson does look like he’s slumming it here. There are touches here where you can tell it is a del Toro film and the presence of Perlman helps to lift things a bit. It is also notable because it is one of the earliest appearances of future Walking Dead superstar Norman Reedus as Blade’s sidekick Scud.
Blade II is very much style over substance but it isn’t totally devoid of flair and imagination. Visually, there are some clever moments and the vampire design manages to feel contemporary yet classic at the same time. I believe that comic artists Tim Bradstreet and Mike Mignola worked on this which explains its look and feel. As with many quality directors, sometimes they have to make something more mainstream to keep the wolf at their door. It is still the best-made of the Blade trilogy but that is almost damning it with faint praise. It is a decent stab at a mainstream horror film but it feels like the director is too hamstrung here to really create anything of the quality of his more personal projects.
Here’s Eight Days of del Toro Day One: Cronos
Here’s Eight Days of del Toro Day Two: Mimic too
And here is The Devil’s Backbone review as well…