Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by:David S. Goyer
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Reedus, Leonor Varela, Ron Perlman
Released: July 11, 2002
Grade: B+

God, I just loathed the original but Blade 2 is a different kettle of fish.  There’s an interesting plot, a few cool twists, some decent characters and some incredible special effects.  Like Men In Black 2 illustrated, most sequels just cash in on the original through mere repetition.  This film goes beyond this technique and takes chances by exploring new avenues.  Sure it’s just a gory vampire flick but credit should be acknowledged where due.

Blade (Snipes) is a cross-breed vampire/human.  His thirst for blood is controlled through special injections and his mission in life is to rid the world of those vampires preying on the human race.  But there’s been an unusual development.  A new species of vampires, known as reapers, has been developed that is far more savage than anything seen before - it feasts on the blood of both ordinary vampires and humans.

So an unusual compromise is reached.  The vampires approach Blade for him to join forces against these reapers.  After years of trying to kill each other, the two sides have been united.  It’s quite ironic that the vampire team that Blade has been given to work with is the same team that was created to hunt and kill Blade himself.

The battle then begins and it’s brutally, brutally violent.  I don’t believe in censorship but I do believe in classification - there are some films that shouldn’t be seen by younger audiences.  How can I describe how gruesome this film is?  The body count is monstrous and the methods disgusting.  I can’t even imagine how much fake blood was required.  In the very opening scene, a vampire sucks the face off a guy leaving a massive blood spray all over the wall.  I object to the fact that a 15-year-old in Australia can see the film.  An R-rating was deserved.  Especially since non-violent films featuring a little sex receive tougher judgment.

For those unwavering, it’s a strong film visually.  Directed by the revered Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, Mimic), it’s unrelenting action packed entertainment.  You don’t see a film like this and expect anything more so it delivers where it matters.  Wesley Snipes plays it cool and has some fun.  Kris Kristofferson seems miscast as his buddy but the vampires are the real stars.  The make-up team has done a wonderful job bringing them to life.

Let’s not overlook the special effects either.  The reapers are hideous creatures and can open their mouths very wide as a creature from within spurts from the mouth and sucks the blood of their prey.  It happens with such abundance during the film, you forget the novelty of the effect and it becomes a seamlessly real part of the story.  Quite stunning.

Released in the week of the Brisbane International Film Festival, it’s funny that I’m praising such a film in the same week as appreciating a wide range of original cinema from varied countries.  Cinema is all about providing entertainment and if a film about blood thirsty super-vampires is fun, then there’s no difference between it and a heartbreaking drama.  Films are there to be enjoyed.