Let's just get this out of the way right up front. Blade:Trinity sucks. It more than sucks. It's an absolute mess. We're talking right up there with The Day After Tomorrow as Razzie favorites. I enjoyed the first film well enough. It was a fun vampire action movie. Blade II benefited from the presence of director Guillermo del Toro who brought a visual style along with an energy and capable enough storytelling skills to make an above-average-to-very-good film that maintained the feel of the comic book's origins. I don't love either film, but they're both fun and entertaining diversions. But David S. Goyer, who wrote the scripts for all three films and directed this one, just turns the whole endeavor into a disaster. And no, I'm not overstating things: no matter how cynical I can often be, one of my friends who saw it with me last night basically worships Blade II. He considers it one of his all time favorite action films. And he didn't like it either.
There are so many flaws in Blade:Trinity that even its greatest strengths manage to become its most profound weaknesses. First is the entire premise.
This story deals with a group of vampires who decide to awaken the original Dracula (Dominic Purcell) in the hope that he can destroy Blade (Wesley Snipes). The character of Dracula -- in order to be all modern and hip, he goes by Drake -- is actually pretty interesting, not simply portrayed as motivated by pure evil, he has a sense of honor among vampires and regards Blade much better than he does his own minions. The set-up of this "final battle" is a good idea, but the actual story plotting and script execution is abysmal. There are so many holes, coincidences and uber-predictable moments that the great idea simply turns into a great snore. Additionally, Goyer does the one thing that really pisses me off, and yes, tons of movies with a big bad guy do the same. He makes Dracula into this virtually invincible force. So why does he run from Blade in one scene and then have a big ultimate fight sequence at the end. When he turns into this scary full-of-scales figure, he doesn't seem to have too much trouble taking care of Blade. Why didn't he just do that from the beginning and kill the guy. Oh wait … cause we have to see the whole movie. Logic isn't allowed.
The second enormous flaw is embodied in the actor Ryan Reynolds, who (shock of all shocks) plays a wise-cracking member of the group that helps Blade. His character, Hannibal King (sigh, that's really the name), is a former vampire who now kills them. The leader who awoke Dracula (Danica Talos, played by Parker Posey) is his former lover and the vampire who turned him. The banter between the two of them is some of the best stuff in the movie, and many of Reynolds lines come across well. In fact, at a later point in the film (call it an interrogation scene I suppose), the film basically winks at the camera saying, "Look we know this is ridiculous. That's why it's funny. So let's have fun with it." But at no point does Blade: Trinity ever actually want to be some sort of satirical action movie. It's very straight, heavy high-octane action, and instead of adding to the movie, much of the humor simply feels out-of-place. Reynolds literally becomes the best and worst thing in the entire film.
That's due in no small part to the fact that Blade is almost relegated to a secondary character. OK, that may be exaggerating a bit -- he's still the hero and all -- but with Hannibal and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel) becoming his sidekicks, the focus is taken off him a bit. And Snipes seems to sleepwalk through this film with one or two notable exceptions. Most of the time he just grumbles and mumbles, and the boiling anger and menace that appeared in the first two films simply isn't there. In one scene when Blade discovers the Chief of Police is a "familiar" (human aide to the vampires) and tells him to let them in this secret, mysterious warehouse, the Chief says, "I can't. They'll kill me." Blade response, "I'll kill you motherfucker." There is something in Snipes's delivery of this one line that is completely different from any other moment in the film. He comes alive. He's having fun in the role for one moment, and the entire audience watching my screening came alive with him and enjoyed this very simple and brief second of the movie.
But let's say that your standards for an action movie aren't as high as mine. Let's say you don't care if the story is poorly told or the characters are not-even one-dimensional and you just want so good ol' fashioned ass-whooping. Yeah, Blade:Trinity still bites … or rather, it doesn't.
Every action sequence is basically the same. Some loud, pulsating RZA and Ramin Djawadi music pumps through the soundtrack while some martial arts kicking goes on. Portions appear in slow-motion. There are some gun shots and vampires combust into ash. Yeah, they added some new weaponry, but that gets boring after a little while. And the visual elements that del Toro emphasized in the second film are virtually gone here. It's just some running and shooting and kicking – there's the one pseudo-flying sequence in the big finale which I believe appears in the trailer with Blade and Dracula launching themselves at each other, and there's a little bit of Blade's cool jumping and tumbling in the opening of the film (which itself was meant to be exciting but really wasn't). But that's really it.
Oh yeah, and in case you've gotten this far and wondered what the hell all this has to do with an iPod, Apple must have shelled out some big-time product placement dough on this film. Biel (who, from a purely heterosexual male perspective, definitely nails the "be extremely hot" direction for her role) apparently likes to fight vampires while playing carefully constructed playlists on her iPod. At least three times we see her (in slow motion, of course) putting the ear-bud headphones in her ears as she prepares to go to battle. We also get at least two shots of her creating playlists in iTunes on a Powerbook, and one actual explanation (by Hannibal to Blade) about what she's doing. Just in case the visuals wouldn't do it for anybody.
I could rant for a while on this movie because it could have been fun. There is an utter waste of talent on screen (both Patton Oswalt and Natasha Lyonne are criminally underused and misused), but the saddest thing is that for really the first time in all three films, when Blade shows his fangs in this one, all I wanted to do was yawn.