Blade II (2002) – Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro’s other vampire movie is the next title I came across in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book. A stronger entry than the first film, del Toro proves he can handle action beats with ease, and can work within the confines of a franchise.

Wesley Snipes returns as Marvel’s day walking vampire Blade, who gets recruited by the most unlikely of allies, vampires when a mutated form of vampires, known as reapers begin feeding on them.

Pairing with vampire royalty in the form of Nyssa (Leonor Varela) and her crack vampire strike team, including del Toro regular Ron Perlman as Reinhardt, Tony Curran, and Donnie Yen. Blade travels with his assistant Scud (Norman Reedus) and a recovered Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) – thought lost in the events of the first film.

It moves on at a pretty good pace, has some flaws, one of which is Snipe’s portrayal of Blade, it feels uneven at times that doesn’t do the character enough justice I feel. He has most of the cool needed, but there are a few choices that just don’t seem to be right. That being said, the film rests pretty easily on his shoulders.

There are some cool fight sequences, as well as horror beats, but some of the computer generated work isn’t as strong as it could be, but given the time the film was made, it is what it is.

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So before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into being, before Deadpool came along, Blade proved that a R-Rated comic book movie could work, even if the scripts weren’t all they could be.

Still this film has star power both in front of and behind the camera that this is totally worth looking at.

Of the three films in the series, this one is probably the strongest of the trilogy, and that has a lot to do with the story by David S. Goyer but also del Toro’s directing (his fourth feature, following on the heels of the brilliant The Devil’s Backbone).

The downside to this film is that the vampires in the film, despite being all kitted out to look violent, cool and tough, definitely do not seem to be worthy of our fear. Even in the first film they don’t seem to be particularly frightening, dangerous, sure, but scary, never. So by bringing in something new, something supposedly scary vampires are afraid of, is a pretty solid touch.

They would have been scarier if the vampires were scary.

Still, it’s a nice take on the vampire lore, and while not necessarily embracing it’s Marvel side, the film was definitely an early proving ground for what was to follow with the MCU.

There are still some vampire titles to go, not to mention all other types of beasties coming up in DK Books’ highly enjoyable Monsters in the Movies! Pick one up, and sink your teeth into something macabre tonight!

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