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Blade II review

So here it is then, reviewed a month late. Got a problem with that? Then go scream at director Guillermo Del Toro, who pleaded 11th-hour effects work for the delay (probably putting the finishing touches to an exploding urethra or something). Still, it was worth the wait.

The first Blade plodded under the sulky pretense that it was a serious superhero saga - all dour palette, lumpy exposition and a scary-as-worms villain in Stephen Dorff. Blade II, however, ramps up the camp, strobes with a primary colour wallop, has three minutes max of exposition and a truly grisly antagonist. You could also argue it's created a blaring new sub-genre: nu-metal horror.

Wafer-thin plot time: re-animating his undead mentor (Kris Kristofferson), Mr Blade (Wesley Snipes) finds himself forming a combustible alliance with his sworn enemy. Why? Because the Vampire Nation is on its knees due to the Reapers, a breed of mutant junkie bloodsuckers that feed on vamps and humans alike. If Blade doesn't intervene, the human race will soon be no more than a pile of tattered remains, so he strikes an uneasy pact with the Bloodpack, a hit-squad originally trained to assassinate him...

A relentless WWF-style undead smackdown shot through with abbatoir chic and as in-yer-face as a Botox injection, Blade II marks a new peak in unapologetic excess. It's a movie full of flinches and cracks, winces and shocks, intentional laughs ("I feel like hammered shit!") and accidental splutters ("Administer the retro-viral detox!"). A mosh-pit designed by Hieronymus Bosch, it's big on cooler-than-thou cruelty. It's big on leather too. And noise. And gore. And gaping gynaecological mouth-deaths, courtesy of lead Reaper (and ex-Bros popstrosity) Luke Goss.

The overall effect is like opening a bottle of ketchup on a rollercoaster, but Del Toro's aim is brutally simple: to give your adrenalin glands a bootcamp work-out. Granted, the spin-dry visuals and hectic tempo mean the style is the content - but what style, what energy and what a bloody great sequel.

Better, bloodier and bolder than the original, Blade II is a two-Nurofen-and-a-bottle-of-vodka movie, with wrecking-ball style, fantastic fights and sick-bag effects. Bullseye!

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