Back to the Kim Newman Archive | Main EOFFTV page for this title
Blade Trinity (2004)
For this third installment in the vampire-slaying franchise, scenarist David S. Goyer – whose commitment to Marvel Comics includes writing the David Hasselhoff TV movie Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD - steps up to replace Blade's Stephen Norrington and Blade 2's Guillermo del Toro as director. The formula is much the same, but repetition has worn it down - the established aspects seem rote, and the newer frills are a mixed blessing.
As in the earlier installments, half-vampire hero Wesley Snipes is pitted against a more dangerous breed of undead while a vampire establishment hovers in the background. Here, in an effort to up the stakes, the main menace is not a new mutation like Blade's Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) or Blade 2's insect-mouthed Reapers but the progenitor of all vampirekind, called Dracula or Drake but having more in common with Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned than the character from 'Bram Stoker's fable'. This allows for bursts of self-referentiality, with a glimpse of the Marvel comic (Tomb of Dracula) where Blade made his four-colour debut and an odd, scenes-we'd-like-to-see bit as the hulking vampire prince wanders into a goth joke-shop and is appalled at the range of Dracula merchandise on display from vampire vibrators to Count Chocula breakfast serial. A problem is that off-the-peg muscle man Dominic Purcell is the latest in a run of disappointing screen Draculas, from Dracula 2000's Gerard Butler to Van Helsing's Richard Roxburgh; in recent years, the only impressive Dracula has been the dancer Zhang Wei-Qiang in Guy Maddin's Dracula Leaves From a Virgin's Diary. Dracula ought to be Blade's most formidable foe, and give him a tougher fight than the less-iconic villains he polished off in the earlier films, but Purcell – augmented by a lot of CGI for his dragon-face moments – is just a vacuum, too-easily bested in the finale.
The greatest entertainment value comes from indie pixie Parker Posey's
bizarre turn as a trashy vampire bitch, who is supposed to have 'fangs
in her vagina' (no confirmation is forthcoming) and struts through like
Sandra Bernhard in Hudson Hawk trying every possible
acting style in the hope of getting some effect. For the most part,
she's terrible - but at least she's interestingly terrible, and fits
with a script that includes vampire pomeranians and unusually inventive
insults (Hannibal calls ex-lover Danica 'thundercunt'). Just as Dracula
is constantly upstaged by minions, Snipes's glum, dour, tattooed and
unlikeable hero is done no favours by the teaming with Jessica Biel's
bare-midriff Buffy clone and Ryan Reynolds' funky-talking Hannibal King.
A long-standing Marvel also-ran, former vampire Hannibal popped in and
out of Tomb of Dracula, Doctor Strange (where the
kill-all-the-vampires-in-the-world storyline originates) and Nightstalkers
and here gets more expository dialogue than everyone else combined.
The most pertinent line comes when he quizzes Blade about what he intends
to do if vampires become extinct and gets only a blank look. The actual
ending ducks the issue by not confirming whether the plague has wiped
out all of Blade's enemies and having him ride off like the Punisher
on a war which never ends. Even if there are one or two vampires left
around, it might be an idea to call it a night now.
First Published In: Sight and Sound February 2005
All text on this page © Kim Newman