(2002) dir. Guillermo del Toro
The first Blade (1998) film, directed by Stephen Norrington, was a fun B-horror/action film, which featured some amusing CGI death sequences for the vampires dispatched by Blade (Wesley Snipes), the half-human, half-vampire vampire hunter. Since Blade II was directed by Guillermo del Toro, whose 2001 film The Devil’s Backbone I had liked so well, I had some hopes that despite its rather lackluster reviews that the film would be worthwhile, maybe even another B-movie gem.
A gem it is not. A moderately satisfying B-movie it is.
The Matrix (1999), as I have mentioned before, seems to have infused its aesthetic into the action genre quite verily, and it is well on display here. The production values aren’t quite as high and some of the action seems even more ambitious, which results in some fun but cheapish looking attempts at the slick and cool that the Wachowski brothers achieved more successfully in their film. The whole production is so serious and sexy, heavy on the slick, post-Matrix leather/goth style, that there are many moments that resemble camp and feel somewhat arch.
The vampires, who are largely villains in the film’s world, have a rather fully developed cultural infrastructure, hidden and codified, underground like a criminal empire and run quite like a monarchy. The vampire elite are developing (spoiler alert) this whole genetic engineering/cloning scheme which the film clearly depicts as associated with the really, really bad guys and whose results are calamitous.
While most of the vampires are depicted as evil, or clearly as the villains, Leonor Varela, who plays the daughter of the Overlord of the vampires, turns out to be a vampire with a conscience, a “good” vampire. I wasn’t trying to make too much headway through the significance of exactly what the vampires’ social structures were meant to represent, but for some reason I feel compelled to say that Leonor Varela struck me as very attractive.
Now that this commentary has devolved to such “insights,” I will terminate it.