Ahhhh, yes. This is the sound of a satisfied amateur film critic. Did ya miss it? Here it is again...
Those behind Blade 2 spent the better part of a year dropping scintilating bits of information, imagery, and rumor, as well as having the good sense to hire the incredible Guilermo Del Toro to helm the film, and I am happy to say that this film lives up to the hype and then some.
When we last saw Blade (Snipes), he had just defeated the megalomaniacal Deacon Frost, saved the world from a vampire apocalypse, and lost his long time friend and mentor, Whistler (Kristofferson). Or did he? It seems that Whistler was swept up by the vampire government and held in stasis, healed of his wounds, and kept alive to simply be tortured as a way to get to Blade. Of course, our vampire hunter's loyalty leads him to Whistler and the duo return to Blade's new digs where his young partner Scud (Norman Reedus) has taken on the old man's duties of weapons design and comic relief.
Before the three can get cozy, a group of undead ninja's invade Blade's lair, not to kill him, rather to offer him a truce. It seems that there is something more deadly to them than Blade. A new breed of vampire, Reapers, are feeding on the vampire nation and spreading a contagion that increases their number and Blade's help is needed to stop them. With the assistance of the Blood Pack, an elite team of vampires trained to kill him, Blade puts on the shades and fights alongside his usual prey to rid the world of the Reaper and look damn cool doing it!
Blade 2 is, in a word, exhilarating. The action never stops to take in Del Toro's haunting scenery, which is really the film's only fault. Their isn't much by way of characterization or non-violent interaction, with the exception of Blade and the lovely Nyssa's (Varela) barely touched-upon attraction, but, then again, this is Blade 2, not the fucking English Patient, so we're here for the thrilling and the killing, and we get that in spades! Loads of CGI is used here, and I can't recall a film in which it was used to such great effect. While purists will cry foul when they see some of the fight scenes involving the CGI Snipes, I think it's quite an exciting leap in action cinema technique! There are things done here that no amount of wires and harnesses could achieve. You really, well....you just have to see this to believe it.
The Reapers are literally terrifying, from their hideously "evolved" biting technique to the animalistic way they scurry across floors, walls, and ceilings. When the beasties attack en masse it is nail-biting stuff, making Blade as effective a horror film as it is an action vehicle.
Once again, Blade 2's only fault is the fact that it never takes a breath, which is great for die-hard action fans, but if you're not a fan of the martial arts (which are apparently an inate skill in all vampires!) Blade 2 may get a tad repetitive real fast.
As for me, I loved this flick. It isn't a very cerebral experience, but then again, sometimes the brain needs a bit of a break and likes to let the eyes take over, and Blade 2 gives one of the best occular workouts in recent memory.
New Line has always been a friend to the DVD collector, with such fantastic extras packed releases of films like the original Blade, Boogie Nights, and others having the good graces to be released under their Platinum Series banner. Blade 2 is no exception. Pop in this 2 disc DVD and you won't be seeing daylight for several hours.
First up, we have the film, presented in a pristine anamorphic transfer that looks better than it did on the big-screen. The sound (Dolby 5.1 OR Dolby 6.1!!) is nothing short of superb. The surround mix is totally immersive, and begs to be cranked up to the maximum. Even at window rattling volume there wasn't any distortion or break-up beyond what my 400 watt speakers couldn't handle, and with those throbbing bass techno tracks, be prepared to piss off some neighbors (and small towns).
The extras on Disc One include two commentary tracks; One with director Del Toro and producer Peter Frankfurt, and one with star Snipes and writer Peter Goyer. I personally favor the Snipes/Goyer track because it's funny, informative, and Snipes is obviously in love with this character. Soundtrack fans will also be thrilled to find an option to listen to an isolated version of Marco Beltrami's entire score in 5.1!
Disc 2 is where the nuts and bolts are. We get a good chunk of deleted and alternate material with Del Toro commentary, a feature called "A Pact in Blood" which is basically a string of mini documentaries that allow you to switch in between segments and "interact", a music video from Cypress Hill and Roni Size, a kick ass art gallery, an "interactive" reproduction of Del Toro's notes on the film with an intro from the man himself, theatrical spots, Blade 2 video game survival guide, and a host of DVD-ROM materials.
Basically you are fucked if you want to do anything besides eat, sleep, live and breathe Blade 2 for a long while, but if you're up to the challenge, New Line has drawn the line in the sand.
Step up, nipplehead!