Blade II is the Best in the Trilogy, Here’s Why
As they say, the sequel is one of the hardest things to get right –and director Guillermo del Toro (if that name sounds familiar, just think of giant robots that fight monsters called Kaiju) pulls off the amazing feat of bringing a highly successful sequel to the Blade franchise. In this second film, Blade becomes privy and part of the solution to a major problem that is tearing through the vampire’s inner ranks. The result is action filled cat and mouse chase and Blade and his team hunt down the Reapers, which is basically the vampire equivalent of a zombie.
The More the Merrier
The movie opens with Blade rescuing Whistler from vampires who have abducted the old man, as well as introducing Scud. As it turns out, Scud has been filling in Whistler’s job of maintaining and creating weapons for Blade to use.
At the same time, a new form of vampirism has been creating Reapers –super charged and rabid vampires that hunt and drink other vampires (and humans). The worst part is that they are immune to pretty much anything that hurts vampires except for daylight (and UV rays), to add to the problem, any vampire they bite also turns into a Reaper. To solve this, the Vampire Overlord (yes, they have those) asks for a truce with Blade, wanting his help in fighting the Reapers.
Blade is given charge of a squad of specialized vampire soldiers, the Bloodpack. Ironically, the Bloodpack’s original purpose was to hunt down Blade. Their team up is an uneasy one, and the dialogue exchange between Blade and his new team is nothing short of Hollywood gold.
The film then becomes an action slasher-flick, with the Reapers (and some other mishaps) picking off the Bloodpack members slowly over the course of the movie. It works to a great effect, as it emphasizes the strength and power of the Reapers more. With each encounter, Blade comes closer to the truth behind the mutated vampires.
The big reveal at the end consists of the Overlord finally admitting that the Reapers are a failed vampire experiment at self-enhancement, and Blade has to deal with both the vampire forces and those of the Reapers.
All Star Team-Up
What is not quite obvious at first is that this film is full of amazing people. Naturally, Wesley Snipes plays Blade in a way that Blade is Wesley Snipes. Even del Toro admits that Snipes probably knows the character better than anyone else on the set. This is comparable only to the way that Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, or Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. They have taken real ownership of the role.
Director Guillermo del Toro was still not that widely known at this point –his biggest film prior to this would be Mimic. While Mimic is very well known to horror and suspense fans, Blade II is his first major comic adaption.
There are a few other notable talents in the cast as well. Playing the role of Scud is none other than Walking Dead fan favorite Normal Reedus. And Ron Perlman plays Reinhardt (who is the violently wild and unpredictable one in the Bloodpack), who would later appear as the lead hero in del Toro’s Hellboy adaptation.
What are Vampires Scared Of?
The Reaper dissection scene is one of the best moments in the film. Here, the Bloodpack literally dive into the guts of a Reaper corpse to figure out why it is so hard to kill. The crazy armor ribs that protect the heart from being staked, the tough skin, new fangs, and other formidable traits are laid out for the audience to see and appreciate. The fact that it can only be killed by being exposed to UV light means that the group has to have new weapons that exploit this weakness.
Adding the Reapers into the story is a great idea. While it strays further from the comics, it is the perfect plot for the film –after all, vampires are often depicted as having a superiority over many other monsters (in the same way that Dracula can be seen as the boss of the Frankenstein monster or werewolves). The suddenly shift in the balance of power from the vampires to the Reapers gives this film its narrative strength.