Blade: the Marvel Comic book hero who takes Corey Hart’s synth-pop hit “Sunglasses At Night” a bit too serious. The daywalker returns in this sequel, simply titled “Blade 2”, to take on an advanced species of vampire named Reapers. To do this he forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council and teams up with a group of vampires named the Bloodpack. They were originally trained to take on Blade himself, but since Reapers feed on vampires, it’s in their best interest to work with Blade instead of killing him. It should come to you as no surprise that there will be a lot of tension during their time together and as Blade himself at one point mentions: They’re gonna fuck us the first chance they get.
A lot can change in 4 years especially since a little movie named The Matrix was released between this movie and its predecessor. The original Blade had some great fight scenes, all grounded in reality and seemingly without the use of special effects or wires. Since The Matrix upped the ante for these scenes, Blade 2 can’t stay behind resulting in a vastly different approach, sadly not all for the good. A lot of the fight scenes have been enhanced by the use of the so-called “wire-fu” or CGI. In some cases the use of CG is very easy to spot, especially in one of the earliest fight scenes in the movie where Blade fights two vampire ninjas. It might have looked cool then, but these CG-characters defy every law of physiques related to gravity. Especially when the characters jump you’re getting the idea you’re playing Mortal Kombat rather than watching a movie. Just take a look for yourself:
It’s a display on how over the top the early 00’s was in using CGI to enhance stuff. A lot movies at the time used CGI like this often resulting in distracting moments as they are so obviously not real. Movies like Catwoman, Underworld and Torque immediately come to mind. Luckily in all other aspects Blade 2 is superior to those examples.
Under the direction Guillermo del Toro, Blade 2 is a movie with a stylized tone that sets it apart from the previous movie. Where Norrington went with a grey and blue tone throughout the movie, Del Toro uses a more colorful approach, often using a yellow/ocher light in his sets. Together with a lot of inventive camera angles and the use of the maligned CGI, Blade 2 is a more hyper-kinetic movie, rarely taking a pause of the action.
Del Toro would go on to become one of Hollywood’s “visionary” directors, often being named in the same sentence with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. After Blade 2 he made two Hellboy movies and the critically acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth. All of these movies feature fantastic creatures and Del Toro’s talent in creating these creatures is already evident in Blade 2 as the Reapers are truly imaginatively designed. While they are very much zombie-like at first glance, they have the possibility to split their jaws and reveal an intricate and gory “tongue” capable of latching itself onto a victim and sucking it dry.
If there ever was one scene in a movie defining “style over substance” it can be found in Blade 2. After defeating an opponent Blade is thrown his sunglasses by Whistler, which he then puts on. Why would Whistler even carry around an extra set of sunglasses, or why does Blade even need them? He only hunts vampires at night.
It’s a moment that has no further purpose than to make Blade look cool, which is his one and defining trait. They should have made a techno version of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at night” and put it on the soundtrack.
The fast pacing and seemingly never-ending action can’t hide that Blade 2 is thin on plot. The movie goes from one action scene to another with only short scenes that are meant to forward the plot. This makes it in some cases a better movie than the first, which was too heavy on the goofy plot about a “Blood God” and dragged certain scenes on for way too long. Also Nomak is a way better villain than Deacon Frost.
Blade 2 is generally considered to be the best of the Blade trilogy, making this one of those trilogies where the second movie is the best. Being able to be named with the Godfather, original Star Wars, X-Men and the Dark Knight Trilogy: that’s quite a feat.