A superior sequel from Marvel Cinema’s cornerstones which truly makes Wesley Snipes a force to reckon with!
Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 No. 10 was published in July 1973 through Marvel comics. Here is where Eric Brooks made his first appearance, the rendition of the character by Writer Marv Wolfman and Artist Gene Colan was mediocre and boring that he was given a new look in the succeeding comic book series Strange Tales: Blade No. 1 which was more aggressive, dark and tactical, a little ante up for his swagger!
The take on vampirism can be taken as a political, social, scientific, religious and of course in a sexual stand point! That is why this monster became so popular in modern culture from literary works and movies alike. It has been regarded as a legend or in some truth being considered especially in the European hemisphere.
In this sequel, Wesley Snipes (US Marshals) returns as Blade, he continues the fight in the underworld and has always been a bastion of hope for mankind from these supernatural entities. Here, he still chases after his surrogate father’s captors, Kris Kristofferson (Payback) who reprises his role as Whistler who was assumed dead and kidnapped from the last film!
To make things more complicated, he is tasked to lead a strike force called the Blood Pack from his sworn enemies ruled by Overlord Eli Damaskinos who is played by Thomas Krestchmann (Wanted). The plot gives more emphasis on a new species of vampires called Reapers who are infected by a virus which brings the vampire community on its knees…and Blade won’t have it any other way! Always been character driven, silent and yet he gives more angst, leadership, determination in hunting down these “suck heads” and a whole lot of martial arts kick assery mayhem for the entertainment of fans and viewers alike.
Director Guillermo Del Toro has been bringing us films based on fantasy and horror depictions, it gave him this trademark from “Pan’s Labyrinth”, “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Hellboy” (hopefully it’s a trilogy). His fanaticism to both anime and comic books has given him the right type of world his characters would live in and it keeps getting better! For he does his research quite extensively, he drafts things, makes sketches and he actually carries a notebook which he uses as a guide for making stories and films, learning in every possible angle on how things work. The moment you see a film with elaborate designs and themes that inhibits eccentricity, other realms and monsters you would know it came from Guillermo’s repertoire!
I admire this Director and his take on films and how he presents it is amazing! But I’ve learned that he has this discipline that whatever works he carries it out with precision! It does not matter how simple or complex this particular technology or scene should be taken as long as it delivers the intended purpose. It shows how he can still be that conservative and definitely a smart film maker and he knows his field of expertise very well but still, one could widen more his horizons.
Writing these stories has made him a definite asset in the film industry for the Story; David Goyer (Batman Begins) had been effective as always, working in tandem with Marv and Gene to give an improved take on Marvel’s vampire hunter.
A huge credit for Production Designer Carol Spier, in a word awesome! Her designs added up to scenes make it coherent and with modern times and ancient constructs. She makes it more aesthetic and surreal, already prepares and draws up plans for contingencies which make Guillermo take her without second thought in his movies. She collaborates not just intensively with his direction but also give very satisfying results in the process. On a side note, concept artwork from Mike Mignola (Hellboy Creator) was also incorporated into the sets to give it more a comic book based feel.
Tone definition in comparison with the first movie were focused more on the urban setting with light and plain dark hues gave the film its color, while in this film in the set of Prague, Czech Republic you can feel its gothic undertones that hits the spot for the grittier, more menacing mood towards vampires and their environment.
The film surpasses its predecessor in terms of visual effects, animatronics, CGI (but not in all aspects in the film) and green screen capture elements that made it more encompassing for the characters to merge with and adapt in its nocturnal world of the undead.
Though, short in terms of the plot it only gave efficiency with its fight sequences but not entirely on story, delivery of Luke Goss (Tekken) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) was on par where they play Nomak and Reinhardt respectively. But with the likes of Leona Varela (The Man in the Iron Mask) as Nyssa and Donnie Yen (Flash Point) as the mute Snowman they were there just to give face value. Even making the latter a fight choreographer, have a little more respect man! I know Wesley is Rex here but you got to give Donnie some credit!
Another one is he always have this opening where he runs down an abandoned warehouse, a secret meeting place for vampires to congregate…I know he’s the hunter but can the story at least tweak it a bit with a stake out or reconnaissance leading to a nest? It wouldn’t hurt now would it? (don’t ask the third film ok). Point is, it could have a different approach but still retain the dynamic of the film’s plot!
Blade 2 more than makes up from what it left off, a kind of film that defines the rudimentary art of fantasy laid out in a dark world of the supernatural and the unknown. It could have been better but at least I enjoyed its adrenaline pumped action sequences and fantastic sets that gave life to the blood sucking parasites! It makes a run of a mill for vampire films anywhere especially for those who even glitter in the sunlight! Since the said property has returned to its home studio, Marvel does know it has great plans waiting for the Daywalker! Two fangs up!