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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Beyond Vampires
by Betty Jo Tucker

Because vampire fans need frequent movie fixes, Blade satisfied them only for awhile. Now they can sink their teeth into Blade II, starring Wesley Snipes again. I, too, looked forward to the sequel of this sci-fi thriller, mostly because the original provided such intriguing facts about vampire culture. Where vampires are concerned, the more you know, the more you want to know. You never can tell when it’ll come in handy.

From the first Blade, I learned that a class system exists among these eerie creatures of the night. Those born as vampires are considered the elite. Humans "turned" into vampires rank much lower on the social scale. I also found out why vampires buy so much sun block and so many pairs of sunglasses. How else would they be able to go out during the day? But, day or night, danger lurks for them in the form of Blade (Snipes), a part-vampire superhero whose mother was bitten while pregnant with him. Blade’s blood was infected at birth. Now, as a grown man, he feels responsible for destroying as many evil vampires as possible.

I don’t think any other actor could play Blade quite as effectively as Snipes. He’s all muscle, menace, and machismo. And he looks great in that classy black leather costume (with silver accessories, of course). While watching Snipes as Blade, I always feel certain he will save the day. But this time he faces the Reapers, creatures so ferocious and deadly he must unite with his enemies to destroy them. After rescuing Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), his mentor who’s about to be turned into a nightwalker, Blade and his friend join a band of vampires in a mission that leads them literally into the jaws of hell.

In creating the Reapers, director Guillermo del Toro (Mimic) claims he was drawn to the idea of having a thing with a mouth that occupied half its face. "What would happen if a leech in its function is not worried about its features?" he explains. "You cannot see a handsome leech or an ugly leech; they’re all just there to do what they do, extract the blood. So we came up with a concept for a creature that would keep its feeding apparatus hidden and protected until it was time to feed."

Like the first movie, Blade II almost gags on its own gore. "We made gallons and gallons of blood," says Nick Allder (Alien), the film’s Special Effects Supervisor. Everything --- explosions, gunshots, fight scenes --- are exaggerated. "It’s not meant to be anything but a really fun live action comic book --- a beautiful, shiny thing that moves and constantly amuses us," Allder declares.

Beautiful? That’s stretching it, although the movie boasts a sense of style with its unconventional sets and use of dark color schemes. Shot entirely in industrial warehouses in the suburbs of Prague, Czech Republic, Blade II emerges with a goth-tech look --- one that fascinated me more than its continuous mind-numbing action. Ten enormous but very different sets were built in seven locations, and everything appears gigantic --- from wading pools filled with blood to chambers of inexplicable horror.

Guess I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer vampires to be more seductive and mysterious than the ones depicted in Blade II, a flick that made me nostalgic for Bela Lugosi and Frank Langella (my two favorite Count Draculas). For me, creepy suspense involving an innocent person in danger wins out over non-stop slashing, kicking, and chopping every time.

Did I learn anything new about vampires from Blade II? Yes, indeed. Even vampires shouldn’t fool with Mother Nature.

(Released by New Line Cinema and rated "R" for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content.)

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