Deadly Pleasures: BLADE: TRINITY

2016/02/17 19:31:59 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

The truth is, it started with Blade, and it ended with him. The rest of us were just along for the ride.

I won’t try and pretend that Blade: Trinity is anywhere as good as its predecessors—it simply isn’t. What I will say, though, is that it is still a decent sequel that squanders a lot of potential but ultimately has a few cool tricks up its sleeve, which has made me a longtime defender of this often-maligned third installment in the Blade franchise.

In Blade: Trinity, our titular hero has more to contend with than just bloodsuckers, as he’s quickly become a vigilante in the eyes of humankind. City officials and other governmental agencies have refused to publicly acknowledge the existence of vampires and have targeted everyone’s favorite monster hunter. During the film’s opening chase sequence, Blade has the misfortune of mistakenly killing a human pretending to be a vampire—part of a diabolical plan by Danica (Parker Posey) who, along with her gang of undead thugs, has dug up Drake (Dominic Purcell), aka the very first vampire ever. Drake’s blood offers her kind the endgame solution they’ve spent hundreds of years looking for: the ability to become daywalkers like their nemesis, Blade.

But little do Danica, Drake and their cronies realize that this time around, our titular hero has some help by way of “The Nightstalkers,” a secretive group headed up by Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel) and former vampire/Danica’s cabana boy Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), who have been researching a biological weapon that would wipe out the vampires once and for all.

You might want to consider blinking once in a while.

Since it was released in 2004, Blade: Trinity has often been treated like the red-headed stepchild of the Blade franchise and while I don’t necessarily agree with all the outright vitriol it has received, I completely understand that it’s nowhere near a perfect film by any means. Whereas the first two installments were far more focused and story-driven, and also featured MUCH better villains than Purcell’s laughable performance here, there are a lot of things that really work for me in Trinity despite Snipes’ attempts to completely suck (pun intended) all the life out of this second sequel.

First of all, Posey rules in Blade: Trinity and much like she did in Scream 3, she once again elevates this sequel with her quirky sensibilities and brilliantly dry comedic timing that made me wish Danica had received her own spin-off movie, because that’s a character I’d follow for 90 minutes. The moment when Danica first meets Blade, where we see her quietly fangirl out around the vampire slayer, is such a subtle stroke of brilliance, I wish Posey had been given more of those moments in the movie because every word she utters is pure gold.

And how about everyone here not saying the word “dick” anymore? It provokes my envy.

Over the course of the two prior movies, the Blade universe had always felt very male-dominated (and rightly so), where women were either sidekicks or potential love interests. But the introduction of Posey, as well as her co-star Biel, helps inject Blade: Trinity with some much-needed estrogen that proves boys don’t get to have all the fun in this world. I’ll even admit that Biel won me over with her role in Trinity; she’s normally got this sort of cool, disconnected delivery which always felt a bit out of place with some of her previous roles, but that approach really serves her character well in this film and I love her introduction scene in the subway terminal.

Another Blade: Trinity MVP is undoubtedly Ryan Reynolds, who seems to be having much more fun in this than Snipes ever does with his trademark wise-cracking delivery as Hannibal King. In retrospect, you can see even in Trinity that Deadpool is a character looming in the back of Reynolds’ mind, as he plays King akin to what we see in this month’s Deadpool and there’s no denying that both he and Posey are truly two of the best aspects of what would be an otherwise dour and lifeless sequel.

Being a huge wrestling fan, utilizing Triple H as one of Danica’s thugs, Jarko Grimwood, was just an awesome touch for me, even if HHH’s performance isn’t nearly as smoothly confident as it should be (he falls squarely right in the middle of wrestler-turned-actor spectrum, as he’s no Dwayne Johnson but is still miles better than anything we’ve seen from Hulk Hogan). This was during the “Evolution Triple H” era in WWE, meaning he was one of the company’s top heels during that run, so seeing him pop up as an evil henchman here—and ultimately becoming Hannibal King’s nemesis to boot—made it seem like writer/director David S. Goyer had custom-made Blade: Trinity just for me.

My friends are coming to kill you. 

Another aspect to Blade: Trinity that I thought was really badass was the design of Drake’s monstrous vampire form, which looked like it was plucked right out of the deepest, darkest depths of Hell. It’s such a shame that Goyer shot most of those scenes in total darkness, because there are a lot of really interesting details to that design that the special effects geek in me loves to pour over during any rewatches of the film (pausing the showdown scene between Blade and Drake is sadly the only real way to see the magnificent work done by the fine folks at Spectral Motion).

Because it was the third installment in the Blade series, that also meant Goyer had to ramp up the vampire factor this time around, as we had seen the mythology evolve in both the original Blade and Blade II. This time, we saw that the vampires had been messing around with their DNA and had created vampire dogs that were another fun touch to Blade: Trinity’s story. I mean, who doesn’t love the site of Triple H playing kissy face with a bloodsucking Pomeranian? It was an interesting touch that needed to be explored more, much like the human blood bank subplot that also felt a bit like it was tossed aside by Goyer after he realized he was trying to do a little too much with Blade: Trinity.

I know there’s not a lot I can say that will probably change all the naysayers’ minds, but that doesn’t mean Blade: Trinity still isn’t a lot of fun, especially if you just focus on what works well in the film and disregard what doesn’t, which is what I like to do whenever I’m watching it. Goyer may have made a few missteps with his second directorial effort, but he does an admirable job of trying to open up the Blade universe, which I’ve always appreciated as we’d already seen the character’s normally inclusive world covered thoroughly throughout the first two Blade movies.

Even Snipes’ best efforts to look like he can’t possibly be any more miserable than he is in Blade: Trinity has never been able to diminish my love for this perfectly imperfect sequel that features top-notch performances from both Posey and Reynolds, made a bonafide badass out of Biel, and introduces us to vampire Pomeranians. It may not be nearly as well-conceived as its predecessors but to me, Blade: Trinity is still a ton of fun and gave the franchise the energetic boost it needed at the time. It also earns bonus points for its nod to the 1970s Marvel comic series The Tomb of Dracula, which gave birth to the character of Blade. Although it was very evident that Goyer may not have been the best choice to helm this third Blade film, his heart was certainly in the right place.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.