Blade 2

Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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Blade was a DVD staple for a long time. The initial action pact bloodbath in the first 15 minutes sold many a home theater to many a yuppy. With the release of the Blade 2 DVD, we can be assured that we have a new home theater staple. It isn't the greatest vampire movie of all time, but it is true to itself and true to the "all vampire movies are good" rule. Blade 2 is a good film.

Throughout the entire movie, Blade 2 never forgets what it is supposed to be or who the audience is. Some may think of it as a paint by numbers vampire comic book, but had it over-stepped these bounds, it wouldn't have succeeded. Unlike the subtleties of Interview with a Vampire, Blade is all about action, gore, and hip-hop club music. It knows that the audience requires a big action sequence every seven to fifteen minutes so it succeeds in doing just that. Just when the conversation between Whistler and Scud get boring, two ninja vampire come floating in on the rafters. Just when the reaper autopsy starts to get out of hand, we're deep in the sewers with a hundred of the beasts flowing through the tunnels. Just when the ending starts to get cheesy, a vampire is stabbed in the head. The movie's pace is always moving.

One of the things lacking in the original Blade was the way it followed Deacon Frost rather than the major vampire families that hovered in the background. A deep and detailed vampire society would have made it a lot more interesting. Blade 2 doesn't make this mistake. We are introduced to the head of the largest vampire family and to a special forces vampire ninja team specifically designed to hunt blade. They're over the top, but like the rest of the movie, they're fun.

It's the action that makes Blade a good movie. Knowing he's half vampire gives us a lot of wiggle room when we watch the over-the-top action. We hoot and holler rather than sigh in disbelief when he shoots, stabs, slices, dices, kicks, bodyslams and burns every vampire we see. The special effects blend perfectly with the martial arts fights as the camera follows the silver sword all the way into and through the burning vampire corpses. It's great action with only a little bit of cheese.

The DVD of Blade 2 is reference quality. It has a 1.85 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture - my favorite aspect ratio - that shows every detail we wish to see. It includes both a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS ES soundtrack. The DTS track is rich and full without being too overpowering. I was not conscious of it, but I was feeling every bullet, every sword cut, and every jump kick. The DVD is a two disc set including a directors commentary, deleted scenes, and making of features. If you're an action fan and don't mind a little gore, it is a wonderful addition to any action collection.

Blade 2 isn't going to change the face of film forever. It isn't art. It doesn't push the industry into a higher plane of being. It won't make you a better person. It is, however, very entertaining. In a world where action movies generally suck, Blade 2 is leaps and bounds above the pack. Compared to many of the manipulative pieces of crap that most studios hope will turn a buck, Blade 2 is true to itself and true to the action genre. Don't miss it.