Saturday, December 11, 2004

Here at The League, we see shitty movie so you don't have to.

For whatever reason I got it in my head to go see Blade Trinity. Full disclosure: I saw Blade and Blade 2 on opening nights and just enjoyed the hell out of them. Blade Trinity? Not so much.

From the opening scene of the movie, something just feels... off. Something is wrong. I don't mean in a good tension building way. I mean, the editing seems sloppy, the scenes don't really make sense. Special editing techniques seem borrowed and poorly used. Even the audio seemed muddy a few times (but that's also Snipes playing a character who never unclenches his jaw long enough to speak). Camera shots are okay, but not great. Dialogue is covered, but there are some scenes that just feel as if the director has no idea where to put the camera or what the intention of the scene is, which is weird. David Goyer wrote and directed the movie.

Additional disclosure: I used to read David Goyer comics, so I was really pulling for this guy. He used to write JSA and some other comics, and word on the street is that his next project might be a big-screen adaptation of The Flash. Which I think would be swell. Except that large chunks of this movie have the feel of a particularly well crafted undergraduate student film. That is not a compliment.

In the interest of even more disclosure, I had read something WAS wrong with Snipes while the movie was being made. I don't remember where I read it, but it seemed to suggest Snipes may have been charged with domestic assault charges during the filming of Blade. So, you know, maybe there are good reasons why Blade seems so, uh... tense. I cannot confirm or deny these rumors, so I do not believe these allegations (note the clever way in which the League avoids yet another charge of libel).

The movie is full of simply dumb inconsistencies.
-The vampires, who burn up in daylight, live and work in a sky scraper which is big and mostly glass. Sure, they COULD be hiding out during the day, but that's like keeping a big ol' jug of chlorine gas in your house and just thinking nothing could possibly go wrong.
-Cops are armed with... nothing. So when that chick from 7th Heaven appears in the movie armed only with a bow, no biggie. She doesn't need to worry about being riddled with bullets while selecting an arrow and taking aim.
-People escape from a half-dozen police cars by... driving away in a late-80's model SUV down a normal city street.
-Our lady-hero gets a stern reprimand from Blade because she isn't prepared (ie - isn't wearing armor vs. the vampires...) and she STILL goes into t he final battle in a really cute belly shirt she found at the GAP.
-She is, however, armed with a sort of laser hack saw which is reportedly "half as hot as the sun", but which folds up comfortably onto your belt without scalding you, and which needs a power supply no bigger than a pack of gum. And the thing doesn't melt your eyes out of their sockets when you kick it on (forget needing a welders mask).

Parker Posey, who I really, really do like, plays exactly the same role she played in Josie and the Pussy Cats (a movie which I secretly love but try not to admit to enjoying). The director manages to make Ms. Posey look awkward and stilted from the very first shot of the movie (in which the vampires, for no good reason, unearth Dracula in the middle of the day in the middle of the Sumerian desert... nice stealth mission, guys). I think that's hard to do. They also seem to put her in some pretty funky hairstyles which do less than flatter Ms. Posey.

Jessica Biel seems both out of her league and element in this film. And someone should have pointed out to her character that listening to MP3's with ear-buds while people are trying to kill you is sort of like intentionally closing your eyes while someone is trying to kill you. It doesn't make you tough. It makes you silly.

Ryan Reynolds will be the reason people like this movie. He's great. Seriously. He's really funny and fits well with the modern action film as a wise-cracking tough-guy. In the SPider-Man comics, Spidey is always talking trash while he's picking fights, and the writers of Spidey 3 would do well to watch Reynolds performance here to see how it's done.

The rest of the cast are pretty much fill-in-the-blank slots. Sure, there's a big, tough bruiser vampire (played by the guy who was Sabretooth in X-Men), but not a whole lot else to take a shine to. One actor plays a blind geneticist, and I'll say she does a lot with a small role. But it's not much to save the movie.

Oh, and the Zoe character gets to riff off of Newt from Aliens. Bleah. And she completely disappears during the final firefight which she sort of sparks.

Plotwise: Dracula is dug up, ostensibly, to capture/ kill Blade. Dracula is TOLD this. Then, upon returning home, the exact same five vampires who dig up Drac immediately set-up Blade and get him captured by the cops. However, instead of just putting a bullet in Blade and going off for blood-slushies, they play with him for a while. No idea why.

Having awoken their God for apparently no reason, Dracula is then supposed to somehow be helping the vampires with some sort of formula, but for what? I'm not sure. I THINK it's to allow vampires to go out in the sunlight (which Dracula can do), but it's never really clear what master plan Parker and Co. are working out. The plan is the sort of hazy mess you usually only see at large, public universities. As they work out the details, Parker and Co. ditch Drac by giving him some clothes nobody in their right mind would wear out except to go "clubbing", a little walking round money and then letting him wander the streets of what is clearly Vancouver.

Never mind the fact the FBI is operating here in Vancouver (we see that big space-needle doo-hickey a dozen times in the film) like it's no big deal. Or that it seems like sort of a let-down to go from being the scariest vampire in the world to having to live in Canada.

Natural resources are wasted.
-Patton Oswalt show up, toss out a few lines and then are tossed away.
-Vampire dogs are introduced and then just dropped (literally).
-Even a relationship between Seventh Heaven refugee-girl and Kris Kristofferson is muddily established and then goes absolutely nowhere.
-Kristofferson backs up all his computer files (to where?) and then blows up the building he's in to, I guess, protect Blade. Never mind that his files, should they have fallen into the hands of the police, might have actually shown the police Blade might not be just some kooky guy with a great car.

Look, this is one of those movies I could go on and on about, and people who liked it could argue, "Hey, League... It's not that kind of movie, quit taking it so seriously".

And, God help me... I am not taking it all that seriously, but this has got to be one of the laziest, sorriest feature films I've seen this year (including AVP). The Blade series, which was sort of a one-trick pony to begin with, maybe never should have gotten beyond the first film. But the second one was okay, if not a great improvement. One would have hoped the cast and crew connected with this flick would have done a better job.

I assume this is it for ol' Blade. I'm kind of hoping the Blade movies have now fulfilled America's obsession with rich club kids as bloodsuckers and will move on to some new idea. The idea was great when it was fresh, but like all sci-fi fantasy ideas, its being done to death (see Underworld or Dracula 2000).

No comments: