I am instantly reminded of Beyond Turner-dome and Return Of The Ewok when watching this film. Except both of those slightly lacklustre films still had some great moments to offer and managed to remain faithful to the spirit of the earlier pictures. What a fuckin' massively, supreme disappointment this really was - especially when witnessed immediately after two excellent entries by Norrington and Del Toro. It's difficult to fully comprehend quite why New Line decided to risk such a weighty franchise on the inexperienced directorial skills of David S.Goyer, who despite his best efforts and a few moments of true worth (ie, the first 15 mins) is quite frankly, just not up to the job.
The script doesn't help much. The Blade franchise didn't need to become the cinematic equivalent of The Groovy Ghoulies. Way too much humour, not enough Blade in action, virtually no gore whatsoever and way too many irritatingly pointless supporting characters with little or nothing to offer bar an occasional line of exposition. And to top it off, I'm still shocked by one specific, and hilariously bad moment with the Blade stunt double swinging a sword around with a (horribly obvious) Wesley Snipes cgi head clumsily rendered on top of his shoulders. A work colleague informed me that he'd borrowed this dvd off a mate who'd pronounced the film as "a load of shit!" - I wouldn't go quite that far perhaps, but he's not too far wrong.
I know that Snipes had become a major arse on this production, with his constant refusals to come out of his trailer, preferring to pot smoke himself into oblivion instead. Trouble is, I can kind of understand how Snipes must have felt. The script wasn't that hot to say the least, and the choice of director was just plain bad. I might have also played truant. Even more depressing news for Blade fans, is that the Extended Version is a lot worse than the theatrical release!! I shit you not. If I'd only seen the short cut of the film, I'd probably have been more generous and given the film a grudging 3 out of 5. These additional, or lengthier scenes, do not do the film any favours at all! It's little wonder New Line wanted the film to be trimmed down.
When I first heard that Hannibal King was to be a principle character in Blade 3, I was stoked. The first Marvel comic I ever read was Tomb Of Dracula (it was called Dracula Lives over here in the UK), and King was always my favourite Marvel anti-hero. Ironically, he was a far more interesting character than the two-dimensional Blade. Whilst Blade wasn't a vampire in the original Marvel comic book, King was. One that loathed what he had become and constantly made great efforts to exterminate the others. King would survive by breaking into blood banks and draining blood from dead bodies, preferring to utilise his vampiric skills as little as possible since he found that the more he used them, the stronger his vampire blood lust would become.
Now Goyer obviously used some of those traits when re-inventing the Blade persona so his Hannibal King would have to be a little different. How different? Completely different apparently. What a complete waste of time! Ryan Reynolds' wise cracking character might as well have been called Joe Bloggs or Fred Perkins instead. Biel's Abigail Whilstler is clearly the Rachel Van Helsing character from Tomb Of Dracula. And this time around, Dracula finally makes an appearance in an attempt to bring this franchise closer to that original source material.
You get the distinct impression that Goyer was striving to make a Nightstalkers 1 rather than a Blade 3. Only he's bungled it so badly that it's extremely doubtful whether even a Blade 4 will ever emerge, never mind a Nightstalkers sequel. By trying to inject so much humour into the project, and by making Blade share too much screen time with Biel and Reynolds, and then by virtually loosing any traces of gore or shocks whatsoever, Goyer's managed to completely alienate the core fan base that loved both the first and second flicks. Goyer is certainly a competent director but I don't expect mere competency, I want something truly great for a third and possibly final chapter.
I noted that this sequel uses the same cinematographer as Blade II, which only goes to prove that nothing can compensate for the loss of a great director. Even worse, Parker Posey (in particular), Triple HHH and Ryan Reynolds all give great performances, similarly proving that nothing can compensate for the loss of good scripts. As for Jessica Biel, well she certainly looks pretty and obviously beefed up for the role so full marks for the effort. Trouble is, I'm not so convinced by her attempts at acting. Poor ol' Wesley Snipes sleepwalks throughout almost all of the film, no doubt still in shock that he's gone from playing a hard-core vampire killer in horror films, to appearing in comedic adverts for I-Pod technology.
The dvd? As you'd expect, the anamorphic print is solid stuff, with the disc actually offering choices of either the Theatrical or Extended Versions. Irritatingly only the inferior longer version is in DTS, so if I want to hear truly stomping sound quality, I have to watch a shittier film. This is a two disc set with two commentary tracks and over two hours of extras on the second disc covering the entire making-of process. Five star dvd treatment for a distinctly two and a half star film. A pan and scan Psycho II dvd is crying somewhere. Oh, and note the conspicuous absence of Snipes on 99% of the supplemental material!
Our UK "extended cut" appears to be exactly identical to the "unrated cut" from Region One land. Don't be fooled by that unrated description, there is no additional violence (bar one bite in a removed vampire love scene). btw Just wait until you see the deleted and alternate ending scene...