Scream, Blacula, Scream! 

Blade trilogy thrives on humor and action

Blade trilogy thrives on humor and action

While trilogies like The Matrix and Stars Wars progressively lost their sense of humor (or, like The Lord of the Rings, never really had one), the Blade series has only gotten more fun—and funnier. Based on the cult Marvel comic book, and starring Wesley Snipes in the title role, the movies tell the very loosely connected saga of The Daywalker, a half-human/half-vampire blessed with "all the vampires' strengths but none of their weaknesses." Immune to the effects of sunlight and the acute allergic reactions induced by silver and garlic, Blade holds a tremendous advantage over his nocturnal foe—and somewhere along the way, the brother learned some serious kung fu.

Part of the fun of the series has been its combination of martial arts action with a modern spin on the vampire myth. Like AIDS, vampirism here is a deadly, sexually transmitted disease threatening to engulf all human life—a subplot that has given each addition to the series an apocalyptic sense of dread. Add to these contemporary riffs the fact that Blade is an Uzi-toting, tattoo-covered black man in a tricked-out GTO, and you've got a movie that could get deadly serious or, worse, implode out of sheer ironic density. Happily, Blade: Trinity teeters between both but manages to do neither.

In this third installment, the vampires have launched a two-pronged attack against Homo sapiens: the first is the awakening of Dracula from his eons-long sleep in, no kidding, Iraq. Drake, as he's called for short, is a daywalker like Blade, and the vampires hope to use his DNA to create a daylight-immune breed of their race. At the same time, they have framed Blade for the murder of several humans, making him Public Enemy No. 1: not only does Blade have vampires on his tail, he's got the pigs after him too.

If all of this sounds formulaic and corny, it is. Luckily, Parker Posey has been cast as Danica Talos, a vampire bitch from hell who has masterminded the plots to awaken Drake and smear Blade. In what could possibly be the comic role she was (un)born to play, Posey struts around in high heels like a socialite-cum-dominatrix or Paris Hilton with fangs, her coltish mouth stuffed so full of vampire teeth that she looks like she's sucking half an orange. (In one scene with Snipes, you almost expect her fake choppers to tumble into his lap.) For more comic relief, there's Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King, a wisecracking member of The Nightstalkers, a human band of vampire hunters trained to assist Blade in the war against the undead. Reynolds, doing his best Ben Affleck Jr., can't help but poke fun at everyone and everything, including his own superteam's name. King, as it turns out, was formerly Talos' love slave, and when the two are thrown together in a torture sequence, their repartee is crassly hilarious.

Along with a goofy sense of humor, action has always been one of the strengths of the series. Long before Spiderman, X-Men or even The Matrix, Blade was the first movie to use wire-fu seamlessly. All three installments are more like a comic book than any other comic-book movie out there, and Snipes' balletic executions of one vampire after the next are as amorally satisfying as ever. No doubt, the trilogy has run its course. But the minute vampire slayer Jessica Biel draws her composite bow and delivers another silver-tipped arrow into a bloodsucker, there's no denying that Blade: Trinity is flat-out cool.

—Adam Ross

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