ninth symphony films - movie reviews

BIRTHDAY GIRL (2002)


DIRECTOR  -  guillermo del toro

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  science fiction

LENGTH  -  108 minutes

RELEASED  -  22 march 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  new line cinema

OFFICIAL SITE  -  blade 2

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $55,000,000
blade 2 - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from blade 2 at amazon.com

buy the dvd from blade 2 at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
blade must align himself with a high-powered team of vampires to take on a greater evil than either has ever faced -- a new kind of super-vampire that is itself on a vicious hunt to eradicate both races.




MOVIE FACT:
the corporate artwork in the caliban building, which is knocked over in the climactic fight scene, represents a dna double helix.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from blade 2

picture from blade 2

picture from blade 2



RATING:


three out of four possible stars

It's tempting to say that Blade 2 is a "film with bite," but that phrase would probably invite more than a few insults. But it's true that this sequel packs as strong a punch as its predecessor. Though it's a different punch. Blade 2 stars the same vampire in the title role, but it relies on a different set of techniques to make its story flow. While the original was built around the story, this sequel depends a lot on its characters. Boasting a diverse cast that includes Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, and in a particularly good bit of casting, Ron Perlman, Blade 2 owes its success to a talented casting director.

The story for this film isn't so important as are the action sequences and the actors in those sequences. The plot of the film, which concerns a new breed of vampire bent on destroying both vampires and humans is the focus for an "elite" squad of vampire hunters charged with destroying the new threat. Blade himself was the group's original target, but is convinced that he should help the group destroy this threat. Even though he's had it out for the vampires for years.

with this plot in place, the film takes the viewer in a predictable yet engaging journey from venue to venue where Blade and his new vampire friends must do a little martial arts battling to fight the new vampires. But the predictability aside, the action sequences in this film are quite impressive. though the advertising department didn't boast a campaign that included the slogan "as you've never seen it before...," it would have been the truth. The battles between the vampires are a combination of martial arts, sword fights (cause you can't have a vampire movie without a little swordplay), and digital effects. Since all the fighting occurs between supernatural beings, regular fighting alone would not have been impressive enough. Even The Matrix's interesting choreography would be a little tame for this film. The vampires in Blade move with superhuman speed and the film plays on that idea with a little bit of CGI and some quick movements of the camera.

But though there seemed to be quite a lot of time spent on the fight scenes, the film probably could have benefited greatly from some attention paid to the story itself. The original film was a "better than usual" vampire flick because it had style and substance. Blade 2 has a lot more style, but a lack of true ingenuity like the first one. But perhaps the filmmakers felt that audience members could not handle both a good script and some great fight sequences. This film probably could have become something that would appeal to a wider than usual audience, but its reliance on action alone makes sure that this film isn't spectacular, only entertaining. So that aspect might be this film's strongest draw.

And that entertainment factor is due much to the abilities of Snipes, Kristofferson, and Perlman. These three actors create an atmosphere, which has some humor in it and gives the heavy story of the vampires a bit of light. Indeed, the first installment of this franchise had much of a drought of humor. And the persona of the Blade character is made more entertaining with a bit of the comedy infused into some of the scenes by Snipes's co-stars. Action films without a sense of humor tend to feel a little long. And though Blade 2 runs a full two hours, the film still runs a fast clip. Though that pace in some respects might be to the film's detriment. Because with all the vampires and relationships present in this film, the audience never learns the real history of the vampires.

In fact, the only detailed history the film reveals is the one between Blade himself and Kristofferson's character of "Whistler." And because both of these actors were in the first film, their history is already known. And the filmmakers felt that rehashing an already known relationship is the only back story the audience needs to know. The fact that the story of the vampire overlord (one of the big baddies in the film) is never revealed. He's a mysterious character who has obviously lived for hundreds of years but nothing is said about why he looks so weird or really how long he's lived. Thomas Kretschmann's "Pox" is certainly menacing, but there's no history to his character

This film is an enjoyable experience at the movies if one doesn't look to hard into a few plot holes that shine through all that swordplay. In the end it all boils down to fans of the genre and the cast. Viewers of this film who are fans of snipes or the vampire genre are bound to have a better time than people who don't admire either. At its basest level, this film is a fun, if brainless, action movie that's probably best served with a large dose of popcorn. Wesley Snipes shines, as usual, and as an experience in the theater with no emotional or strings attached, this film delivers.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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