Heroes of the Zeroes: Blade II
Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films from 2000 to 2009.
Socially, it sucked to be half-human, half-vampire. But Blade avoided depression thanks to his vampire-killing semi-automatic. And he sure as hell didn’t sparkle, unless his sword reflected light while decapitating a “suckhead.”
“Twilight” and “New Moon” popularly defined vampire cinema in The Zeroes. But Team Blade could execute every last sullen Cullen. 2002’s Vlad-to-the-bone “Blade II” was to “Blade” as “Aliens” was to “Alien” — a raucous, breathless, armament-heavy action-film multiplier of the original’s muscle. (Forget 2004’s limp No. 3.)
Teaming with vampires he loathes to battle Reapers —genetically mutated bloodsuckers targeting vampires and humans — Blade blazes forth in a second act showcasing a vice-grip tension of guns blazing and hell-raising.
Like “Aliens,” the directorial task fell to a different filmmaker — Guillermo del Toro, for whom this served as introduction to the majority of American audiences. As is his wont, del Toro used “Blade II” to explore an alternate career — historian in “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” anthropologist in the “Hellboy” films.
Here, he summoned his inner coroner and biologist — cracking the Reapers’ chest cavities for a look at how they breathed, infected and fed. It’s crucial — viewing their decrepit composition accelerates the fearfulness.
“Blade II” went toothless in a few spots — a showdown between Blade and Ron Perlman’s vampire henchman Reinhardt felt especially anticlimactic. But it blasted badass bits of blaxploitation-sounding music with a trilled-and-plunged trumpet. And when Blade turned full vampire in the end — suplexing and flying-elbow-dropping people like a crazy Mexican luchador — well, ’twas pure fanboy nirvana.