2004, R, 113 min. Directed by David S. Goyer. Starring Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell, Eric Bogosian, Natasha Lyonne.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 10, 2004
There are many reasons to dislike this third and hopefully final entry in the Marvel Comics-adapted series about Wesley Snipes’ high tech vampire slayer, but of all the missteps made and absurdities offered, the most glaring is the casting of what appears to be a steroidal Eurotrash pimp as no less than Dracula. The actor’s name is Dominic Purcell (of TV’s BeastMaster), and his essaying of the Prince of Darkness leaves much to be desired, falling somewhere between Wallace Shawn and Mark Wahlberg on the "Actors Unsuited to Portray Dracula" chart I have in my foyer. With his chiseled jaw, wide-set eyes, and prominent brow, Purcell is hopelessly miscast, exuding none of the iconic fear and loathing the prime exsanguinator should. It’s as if Calvin Klein had cast the film with an eye toward the Paris runways, and even Udo Kier’s limply effete deflowerer had more panache than this hulking throwback. But perhaps that’s the point: In the swirling, obtuse plot line, Purcell’s Dracula is a literal throwback, unearthed and resurrected by the modern-day Vampire Nation as part of their nefarious scheme to … bleed people dry? Apparently, originality is in as short supply as shirt buttons in Blade: Trinity, as the men are frequently bare-chested. When Blade (Snipes) finds himself framed by his nemeses for offing innocent humans, the fearless vampire killer is drawn into an elaborate plot mainlined by indie film icon Parker Posey. Her Eurotrash accent is, amazingly, above and beyond Purcell’s, but only because her prosthetic fangs are too bulky and she’s forced to lisp her lines around them. Blade, however, has no such problems – he’s as stoic as a tombstone this time out, silent and deadly and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. One thing he’s not, however, is on his own, which is a shame because his allies are a group of youthful, underground vampire hunters saddled with the unfortunate moniker of the Nightstalkers (even Blade makes fun of this), who resemble nothing so much as a black-leather turbocharged version of Scooby-Doo’s Mystery, Inc. gang. Jessica Biel is apparently subbing for Daphne, and as the illegitimate daughter of Blade’s pal Whistler (Kristofferson, looking as aged as a sunlit Dracula), she leads into battle the wisecracking former vamp Hannibal King (Reynolds) and comic Patton Oswalt, among other bloody misfits. Biel, for all her high-kicking athleticism in the role, is burdened with what must be the most obvious bit of product placement in recent memory, namely an Apple iPod, which she spends an inordinate amount of time fiddling with before laying waste to various and sundry evildoers. Never mind the ridiculousness of a hand-to-hand fighter leaping into the fray minus her sense of hearing, what’s really awful is the generic thud ’n’ grind of the cheesy industrial nu-metal that she prefers. What, Wagner cost too much to download on iTunes? Director Goyer, who penned Guillermo del Toro’s exemplary Blade 2, strips down this sequel to the bare bones as far as style and substance, resulting in a choppy mélange of straight-to-video editing and a surfeit of disintegration effects. Even Blade looks more pissed-off than usual, which is saying a lot. The poor guy must realize this is the end of the line, barring an unlikely team-up with Ghost Rider in the near future.