The Art of Slaying
"Blade II" could be described as "Blade" but bigger and badder with more action and more special affects and a lot more blood and gore. As such it is a success it delivers the sort of escapist vampire slaying action it sets out to do and most audiences who watch will love it for its visuality. But, and yes there is a but, for me at just short of two hours of action with a storyline which doesn't really fill fifteen minutes and action sequences which go on too long "Blade II" left me wanting something more, something with a bit more substance to engage my brain.
Having not killed Whistler (Kris Kristofferson - Dance with Me) when he should have Blade (Wesley Snipes - The Art of War) is hunting down his friend and on having found him tries to save him so that he can once more work with him and his new partner Scud (Norman Reedus). But not long afterwards they are approached by Nyssa (Leonor Varela) and Asad (Danny John-Jules) who want Blade and his friends to go with them to meet Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) the Vampire Overlord who has a unique proposition for him. He wants to form a temporary alliance as there is a new breed of rogue vampires not only terrorizing humans but also vampires and he wants Blade to lead his blood pack on a mission to destroy them and their leader Nomak (Luke Goss).
So what is "Blade II" about, well simply it is about the action and special effects. It is about watching Blade dispatch vampires in his cool martial arts way and being smart enough to be one step ahead of all those who want to kill him. It is also about the special effects, be it those used in the fight sequences or in the look of the rogue vampires who appear to have inherited the jaw of a Predator. All of which is in fairness very good and there is less slickness to the action thanks to director Guillermo del Toro going for an almost dirty style.
But whilst this heavy action basis will entertain many it did leave me wanting something extra and that is a more prominent story. Yes we have a story in fact we have two as firstly they have to get Whistler back and then go after these rogue vampires but it is too slim for me. Now if "Blade II" had only been 90 minutes rather than scraping in just under the two hour mark then it probably wouldn't have mattered but long gone are the days where escapist action is enough to sustain me for two hours.
As for the acting well Wesley Snipes is cooler than cool and Kris Kristofferson is wonderful again as his old side kick, without Kristofferson it just wouldn't have felt right. But beyond that the only truly memorable characters are Leonor Varela who brings a touch of sexy to proceedings as Nyssa and Ron Perlman who delivers some tough attitude as Reinhardt, the sort of thing Perlman has done in a few other movies.
What this all boils down to is that if all you are after is two hours of escapist action and special effects than "Blade II" will be great. But for those like me who need more than just 2 hours of action "Blade II" will start to feel monotonous.