Inside Pulse DVD Review – Blade: Trinity


(Credit: www.dvdtown.com)

Writer/Director:

David S. Goyer

Starring:

Wesley Snipes……….Blade
Ryan Reynolds……….Hannibal King
Kris Kristofferson……….Whistler
Jessica Biel……….Abigail Whistler
Parker Posey……….Danica Talos
Dominic Purcell……….Dracula/Drake
Triple H……….Jarko Grinwood
Natasha Lyonne……….Sommerfield

New Line Cinema presents an Amen Ra Films production in association with Peter Frankfurt. Running time: 123 minutes. Unrated (contains strong pervasive violence and language, and some sexual content).

The movie:

The setup is continuation of the first two Blade movies. Vampires are still waging a war to infect the human populace; and humanity’s only hope is the half-human, half-vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes). After a vampire killed his mother, a man named Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) raised Blade from childhood. Early on he recognized Blade’s uncanny ability of being able to move among the two worlds. As a “daywalker,” Blade can roam the streets during the day. There are only two known daywalkers, Blade and Dracula.

David S. Goyer has written all three Blade movies. For this third feature Goyer was given the opportunity to sit behind the director’s chair; Stephen Norrington and Guillermo Del Toro, respectively, directed the first two features. His second shot at directing is a mess. With the luster of the vampire narrative gone, Goyer retreats to MTV-stylized kickboxing and chase sequences as a plot device.

Blade: Trinity opens with an interesting twist. Blade is “Public Enemy #1.” The FBI is pursuing him for an unspecified number of federal law violations. The publicity campaign waged against the vampire hunter renders him guilty of all sorts of crimes committed against humanity. When apprehended Blade tells a psychologist that he has killed 1,182 people. But if the person killed is undead, should it count? If not, put an asterisk by the victim’s name then.

With each film Goyer has tried to up the final body count. The first Blade featured Frost (Stephen Dorff), a vampire turned “Blood God.” The sequel featured a new and deadlier breed of super vampire. The third installment features (…drum roll please…) Dracula, the baddest of the bad. This character should have ended the trilogy with a bang. Sadly, his appearance in the film is underscored. Danica (Parker Posey) and the rest of her Vampire Nation – including WWE wrestler Triple H – unearth Dracula in Iraq. Apparently, Dracula was so disgusted with the changing world that he decided to enjoy the sleep of the dead and hide in Iraq. (Insert your own metaphor here.)

As the psychologist questions Blade inside an interrogation room, a ragtag bunch of vampire hunters comes to his rescue. The two kick-ass hunters are Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), Whistler’s daughter. Called the Nightstalkers, though Hannibal wanted to name them “The Care Bears,” this group has information that the Vampire Nation wants Dracula so they can spread the vampire virus. Vampirism, as it is called, is a disease that urges predatory rage and sexual sadism. The Nation needs Dracula’s blood because his DNA isn’t tainted. Who knew that DNA could be watered down over centuries through copulation? Interesting. Nobody pays attention to science anyways so why stop now.

Dracula is played by Dominic Purcell, who suspiciously looks like Colin Farrell’s stunt double. Gone is the classic vampire evening attire. With no overdeveloped canines, his lower jaw unhinges and a series of miniature, but more horrifying, fangs are revealed. (Hollywood monster effect creators are seeing dollar signs.)

Ryan Reynolds steals the movie as Hannibal King, a former vampire who has had a change of heart. Not only does he throw down with Triple H, he gets all the best lines. So I guess you have to take the good with the bad. His vocabulary is limited, though. He constantly repeats a word that rhymes with “tuck.”

The women in Blade: Trinity, both Parker Posey and Jessica Biel, aren’t bad either. Parker Posey a star of independent features switches gears to play the vampire vixen. It’s a risky transition, but she makes the character work. In one scene Posey’s Danica character thrusts her stiletto heel in Hannibal’s chest while berating him at the same time. As she listens to hip-hop music on her iPod, Biel slashes the vampires to burning embers with her bow-and-arrow light-saber device. Jessica Biel is the bona fide babe in the movie wearing those loose-fitting pants and tank-top of hers.

Both Blade and Blade II were fun movies. The first feature was tongue-in-cheek entertainment that became a huge hit. It was also the first movie to use bullet-flying special effects. Sorry Wachowski brothers, you lose. In the sequel, a true horror filmmaker, Guillermo Del Toro, directed the feature with blood-curdling precision. So what went wrong with part three?

Blade has become stale. We know his backstory and his half-human, half-vampire traits. There isn’t really a way to develop his character anymore. The origins of characters Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler could have been explored in detail, but they are mere anecdotes in this story.

Okay, vampires are undead beings who still have all their motor functions, right? If there are thousands of vampires around the world, then why do they continue to fight the Nightstalkers? Be like a McDonald’s fast food restaurant and open up shop away from the competition. Sure, they’ll come for you eventually, but you can still dish out the vampire virus to a couple of hundred unsuspecting humans.

Having Dracula as your villain, in the second sequel no less, is a sign of desperation. It took three Blade movies until Dracula showed his face. The confrontation both he and Blade have is another disappointment. The super vampire in Blade II did more damage to Blade than Dracula.

Blade: Trinity is proof that not everyone can be Quentin Tarantino. David S. Goyer seems inspired, but lacks vision. His real talent is with the written word, having penned numerous screenplays. (His latest is Batman Begins with Christopher Nolan.) Goyer will grow as a filmmaker from his experiences on the set. But with Dracula out of the picture, he can’t possibly fathom a fourth film, can he?

Score: 5/10

The DVD:

VIDEO: How does it look?

Edge enhancement is slightly visible during some scenes. But that’s about it. All the facial tones are perfect. Color saturation is rich. No object detail or pixelation issues. In a nutshell the picture is close to perfection as you can get. The film has a its theatrical widescreen viewing presentation (2.35:1) and it is enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions.

Score: 9.5/10

AUDIO: How does it sound?

There are a total of three audio soundtracks for the movie. (Well, five if you count the commentary tracks.) The fight sequences are intense in DTS ES: 6.1 Stereo Surround Sound. Don’t have DTS capability? No problem. The Dolby Digital 5.1. track is a great substitute. Definitely some of the best audio I have ever heard on a DVD.

Score: 10/10

SPECIAL FEATURES: Two versions of the film, a fun commentary featuring Ryan Reynolds, a 16-part documentary, and more!!!

David S. Goyer has provided two discs loaded with special features. I don’t know if all the extras were warranted, though. Is this really the type of movie that deserves two commentary tracks? Besides, I’m sure the average viewer won’t watch all the extras associated with Blade: Trinity.

The extras begin as soon as the DVD keep case is opened. Inside is an exclusive comic created specifically for the DVD entitled “Blade: Nightstalking.”

On Disc 1, there are two versions of the film. The R-rated version runs 105 minutes. The unrated version is 123 minutes. Why the rated version is even included is a mystery. It has its own separate release.

Also on the disc are two commentaries. The first involves the writer/producer/director David S. Goyer and two of his stars, Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel. Ryan is hysterical when he comments on the film. He is never hesitant to cuss or make jokes on the making of Blade: Trinity. Jessica also has a great time talking about the movie. In one scene she talks about how disappointed she is that her character isn’t wearing a codpiece.

The second commentary is more technical. Joining Goyer are Producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, Cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, Production Designer Chris Gorak, and Editor Howard E. Smith. With the number of individuals involved one would think that they would be constantly talking over each other. That’s tough to hear. The problem is that there are so many people associated with this commentary that trying to figure out who’s talking can be confusing. Thankfully, they are clear and concise.

(Please be aware that the two commentary tracks are only available when watching the Unrated cut of the film.)

Those that play the first disc in the DVD-ROM drive of a computer, will be treated to exclusive extras including: a script-to-screen option and an enhanced viewing mode.

That’s it for the extras on the first disc. Disc 2 houses the bulk of the special features.

The first extra on this disc is the documentary alluded to in the special features teaser. Daywalkers, Nightstalkers, & Familiars: Inside the World of Blade Trinity is a comprehensive 16-part behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the third Blade movie. It comes with the option of viewing the documentary’s parts individually or as one complete feature with the “play all” option. The sixteen parts break down like this:

The Urban Vampire – Story Development (4:27)
The Familiar Leader – David Goyer Directs (7:47)
Fresh Blood – Casting (18:20)
Nightstalker Boot Camp – Cast Training (9:38)
From Tombs to Towers – Set Design (8:08)
Dressed to Kill – Costume Design (7:23)
UV Lighting – Cinematography (4:15)
Beyond the Basics – Facts for the Uber-fan (5:29)
Silver, Swords & Sundogs – Designing the Blade Weaponry (2:55)
Creating Mayhem – Stunts and Action (4:12)
Sword Against Celluloid – Editing (8:14)
The Perfect Ash – Visual Effects (4:29)
The Beat of Blade – The Music (7:39)
The Sounds of Slaying – Sound Design (4:57)
The Color of Blood – Enhancing the Colors (3:46)
Who Shall Die – The Future of Blade (2:04)

The overall running time for the documentary is 106 minutes. Frankly, the documentary didn’t need this many parts. Learning about the costume design for a vampire movie is unnecessary. A ten-minute Robert Rodriguez-esque film school would have sufficed.

One funny coincidence is it that the music featurette gets more screen time than story development. Most of these featurettes can be combined. The music and sound design sections could be one featurette. “The Perfect Ash” and “The Color of Blood” could also be combined.

Another pet peeve is the documentary showing scenes from the previous Blade movies. When a scene is played the graphic “From Blade (or Blade II) Now available on DVD” appears. It happens all the time.

The best parts of the documentary are about the cast. Prior to production both Reynolds and Biel trained for months. At the end of their training Reynolds had 3.8 percent body fat; Biel had 8 percent. When asked about his diet, Reynolds responded by saying, “I’m eating drywall and wood chips, mostly.”

Also on the second disc is a five-minute feature entitled Goyer on Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director. Sitting in a movie screening room the two talk about the weaponry used in Blade: Trinity. Other topics included are the addition of new characters and the rumors regarding a Blade 4 or a Nightstalkers spin-off. It would be interesting to see if a Nightstalkers movie is made. There are probably throngs of teenagers that would want to see Reynolds and Biel hunt some more vampires.

There is an alternate ending that has Hannibal and Abigail hunting for a half-werewolf, half-vampire in a casino. The scene doesn’t add anything the movie, however.

The 11-minute blooper reel isn’t as funny as one would think. The saving grace is Hannibal telling Blade about his favorite musician. Is it Kenny G., Clay Aiken, Don Johnson, or Celine Dion? You decide.

Photo galleries of the visual effects and weapons and trailers complete the extras on the second disc of the latest (or is it last?) installment of the Blade franchise. The movie’s teaser and theatrical trailer are included. Other trailers are for the Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy The Wedding Crashers, Terrence Malick’s The New World, King’s Ransom, Constantine, and The Lord of the Rings. The last trailer is really an advertisement for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Edition release.

Score: 8/10