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Blade II (2002)
Rated R

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, and Ron Perlman

Rating:
**1/2
out of
*****

"Been there, done that," says Whistler as a vampire attempts to kill him. That's pretty much a summary of how I feel about this sequel to 1998's Blade. It's a lot of the same stuff from either the first movie or other action films. It's not horrible, but it's certainly nothing special.

Blade (Wesley Snipes), the one man vampire-killing machine, picks up where he left off in the first film. He's hunting down Whistler, who was thought killed in the first outing. Once he finds him -- being held in stasis by vampires, as apparently he is no longer completely human -- Blade brings him back to the workshop to revive him by giving him a shot that will turn him from a vampire back to human in one night. Soon afterwards, before Blade can be completely sure that Whister is cured, the workshop is infiltrated by two vampires with a message: A new strain of vampire-like creatures -- called reapers -- is feasting on vampires and is capable of reproducing at incredible speed. Once the vampires are wiped out, the reapers will turn on humans, which is something that Blade cannot allow. Former enemies -- the vampires and Blade -- form a tenuous bond to battle the new menace that the reapers present to both of their individual interests.

Blade II is definitely stylish, with action sequences that pack the necessary wallop to be entertaining and over-the-top, but it's rather soulless. In the first film, Blade's original motivation was that he was hunting vampires because vampires killed his mother. In this outing, one never feels much of a connection to his original motivation. He just gets to whomp some reaper butt and, as exciting as that is, it's not as fun to watch as it was the first time out.

Blade II is comparable to Aliens in a way since a large portion of the film is devoted to the hunt of the reapers. Unlike Aliens, though, there's no real threat of danger and the suspense is minimal. I felt oddly disconnected from the action and didn't really ever feel that what happened was believable even in the world in which it takes place. (The fake looking CGI action sequences don't help things much either.)

Snipes is still the best thing about the film. He is Blade. His attitude, facial expressions and mannerisms are perfect. Kris Kristofferson's Whistler is just as grumpy and charming as he was in the first film. New sidekick Scud (Norman Reedus) is somewhat akin to Scrappy Doo in the Scooby Doo cartoons, supposedly hip but ultimately annoying when compared to the old and crusty Whistler. New villain Nomak (Luke Goss) makes a much better adversary than the original's Frost, but the movie doesn't devote as much time to develop any kind of banter with Blade. In fact, more tension is developed with a supposed ally (Ron Perlman) than the true villain.

Blade II isn't horrible; not by a long shot. It's just disappointing that it feels so run-of-the-mill, especially since it follows the exceptional Blade. That said, I really wouldn't mind a Blade III.

Trivia: Danny John-Jules, who plays Asad, a member of the vampire's attack team, plays The Cat in Red Dwarf, the long-running British sci-fi comedy series. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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