Blade II

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Blade II
Blade II movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Produced by Peter Frankfurt
Wesley Snipes
Patrick Palmer
Avi Arad (executive)
Screenplay by David S. Goyer
Based on Blade 
by Marv Wolfman
Gene Colan
Starring Wesley Snipes
Kris Kristofferson
Ron Perlman
Leonor Varela
Norman Reedus
Luke Goss
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Gabriel Beristain
Edited by Peter Amundson
Production
company
New Line Cinema
Marvel Enterprises
Amen Ra Film
Imaginary Forces
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • March 22, 2002 (2002-03-22)
Running time
116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million
Box office $155,010,032

Blade II is a 2002 American vampire superhero action film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Blade. It is the sequel of the first film and the second part of the Blade film series, followed by Blade: Trinity. It was written by David S. Goyer, who also wrote the previous film. Guillermo del Toro was signed in to direct, and Wesley Snipes returned as the lead character and producer.

The film follows the dhampir Blade in his continuing effort to protect humans from vampires. The movie received generally mixed to positive reviews, but became the best-reviewed and the highest grossing film in Blade series; it also introduced the cinema public to Del Toro's traits.

Plot[edit]

Over the two years since the death of Deacon Frost, Blade (Wesley Snipes), the Daywalker, a vampire unaffected by sunlight and who chooses to defend humans and fight other vampires, has been trying to find his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), who survived his suicide attempt in the first crisis. Blade has been sweeping across Russia and eastern Europe, enlisting the aid of a young man, Scud (Norman Reedus), to design him a new line of gadgetry and weaponry. Blade carves his way through a large gang of vampires, sparing one, Rush (Santiago Segura), when he promises to reveal Whistler's location. Blade tells Rush he will be back for him. Blade finds Whistler locked in a tank by a gang of vampires who were keeping him alive to torture. Blade rescues Whistler and brings him back to the lair.

Meanwhile, a crisis has arisen in the vampire community. A mutated strain of vampirism (dubbed the "Reaper virus") is sweeping through their ranks, giving its carriers new characteristics. The original carrier of the strain is Jared Nomak (Luke Goss), who attacked the blood bank at the beginning of the film. Stronger than common vampires, the Reapers have three-way jaws, leech-like sucker tentacles, and hearts encased in a thick layer of bone, making them almost invulnerable to any weapon barring sunlight. They also have a ravenous hunger, requiring more feeding than vampires, and anyone they bite, Human or Vampire, become more Reapers, even if they died while being fed upon. In order to combat the mutants, the vampire overlord Eli Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) sends his minion, Asad (Danny John-Jules), and daughter Nyssa (Leonor Varela) to find and strike an uneasy truce with Blade. Upon meeting Damaskinos and his familiar Karel Kounen (Karel Roden), Blade learns of the vampire community's plight. They concede to him that the Reapers are the greater evil and once they finish the vampire population, they will descend on humankind.

To this end, Blade teams up with the Bloodpack, a group of vampire warriors and assassins who were originally assembled to kill him. The group consists of Reinhardt (Ron Perlman), Me Chupa (Matt Schulze), Snowman (Donnie Yen), Verlaine (Marit Velle Kile), her lover Lighthammer (Daz Crawford), and Priest (Tony Curran). Blade plants an explosive on the back of Reinhardt's head to keep him under control.

The group starts at a vampire nightclub, while Whistler acts as a sniper to guard Scud in the team's transport. The mission goes wrong when the group finds the Reapers are immune to silver, are physically stronger than normal vampires, and resistant to normally crippling injuries even for vampires. Priest is fed on by one of the Reapers, subsequently transforming into one and being mercy-killed by the rest of the Bloodpack, and Lighthammer is bitten, but conceals it. Meanwhile, Blade fights Nomak, who proves immune even to Blade's anti-coagulant spikes, and in the end, after a stalemated battle, Nomak leaves only because of the sunlight.

While Blade and the Bloodpack are fighting in the club, Scud is attacked by several Reapers, while Whistler disappears. Scud is able to drive off the attacking Reapers using UV lights on the transport. Whistler returns after the battle to show them a dying Reaper at a sewer entrance, revealing the location of the Reaper Nest. Nyssa autopsies the dying Reaper while Scud and Whistler make ultraviolet weapons for the team.

Upon entering the Reaper nest, Lighthammer succumbs to the bite he received at the club and transforms into a Reaper, subsequently killing Snowman. He then chases down Verlaine who kills them both when she opens a sewer hatch to the sunlight. Chupa and Reinhardt decide to punish Whistler for Priest's death, but Chupa is killed when Whistler sprays him with a Reaper pheromone, which attracts the horde. Asad and Nyssa walk into a nest and Asad is pulled underwater and killed. Nyssa is saved by Blade, who uses a cluster-UV device to destroy all the Reapers except Nomak, while Nyssa and Reinhardt escape the blast.

After the battle Blade is betrayed and captured by Damaskinos' forces, along with Whistler and Scud. It is revealed that, in his efforts to create a new race of vampires immune to sunlight and silver, Damaskinos turned his own son, Nomak into the first Reaper. Scud is also revealed to be one of Damaskinos' familiars. Blade however, has been aware of Scud's status since the beginning of their partnership, and kills him with Reinhardt's bomb after Scud reclaims it, believing it was a dud. With the Reapers gone, Damaskinos plans to dissect Blade to learn how to create more Daywalkers. However, Whistler escapes and rescues Blade. Blade fights his way through Damaskinos' henchmen, which ends with Reinhardt being killed.

Meanwhile, Nomak has entered Damaskinos' stronghold seeking revenge on his father. Nyssa, having become disillusioned with her father's extreme methods, betrays Damaskinos by sealing off their escape route to the heliport. Damaskinos is killed by Nomak after trying to negotiate with him. In order to "complete the circle", Nomak bites Nyssa, drinking her blood and infecting her with the Reaper virus. When Nomak attempts to leave, he is then confronted by Blade. After a brutal fight, Blade finds the weak spot in Nomak's physical defenses and jams his sword beneath Nomak's arm, bypassing the bone shield around his heart and mortally wounding him. With his revenge complete, and wanting the suffering of his mutation to end, Nomak then willingly pushes the sword the rest of the way through, killing himself. With Nomak dead, Blade carries Nyssa outside for the sunrise before she transforms, in order to honor her last wish: to see the sunlight for the first time, and die as a vampire.

With the crisis over, Blade tracks down Rush to a strip club in London and finishes him off.

Cast[edit]

  • Wesley Snipes as Blade: A half-vampire "daywalker" who hunts vampires. Wesley Snipes stated that while such a character is not going to have much emotional depth, he then stated: "there's some acting involved in creating the character and making him believable and palatable."[1]
  • Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler: Blade's human mentor and weaponsmith.
  • Ron Perlman as Reinhardt, a member of the Bloodpack, who bears a particular grudge against Blade. He also seems to be a racist, cracking a joke about Blade's skin color. Guillermo del Toro also referred to him as a "Nazi" in the movie's commentary.
  • Leonor Varela as Nyssa Damaskinos: An unapologetic, natural-born vampire and daughter to Damaskinos. She is unaware of his darker activities, and does not realize that he values his experiments more than her.
  • Norman Reedus as Josh / Scud: A young, pot-smoking weaponsmith who aids Blade in Whistler's absence. He often watches cartoons.
  • Thomas Kretschmann as Eli Damaskinos: An ancient vampire who is obsessed with creating a superior race of vampires as his legacy.
  • Luke Goss as Jared Nomak: Patient zero and carrier of the Reaper virus. He bears a grudge against his father, Eli Damaskinos for creating him.
  • Matt Schulze as Chupa: A pugnacious member of the Bloodpack who bears a particular grudge against Whistler.
  • Danny John-Jules as Asad: A "well-mannered" member of the Bloodpack. He seems to be the least volatile and most intelligent member.
  • Donnie Yen as Snowman: A mute swordsman and member of the Bloodpack. Yen also served as the fight choreographer for the film.
  • Karel Roden as Karel Kounen: A "familiar", Damaskinos's human agent and lawyer.
  • Marit Velle Kile as Verlaine: A red-haired member of the Bloodpack and the lover of Lighthammer.
  • Darren "Daz" Crawford as Lighthammer: A hulking, hammer-wielding member of the Bloodpack with Māori facial tattoos. He and Verlaine seem to be romantically involved. However, he is infected during the attack on the House of Pain, and subsequently turns.
  • Tony Curran as Priest: An Irish-accented member of the Bloodpack. He is the first Bloodpack member to be infected by the Reaper Virus, and begins to turn. Blade exposes him to sunlight to finally kill him.
  • Santiago Segura as Rush: A vampire flunky in Prague. He seems to be much more timid and cowardly than most vampires.

Production[edit]

Following the success of the original film, New Line and Marvel made plans to make a sequel back in 1999. It is said that the film was going to introduce Hannibal King and Frank Drake in the sequel as well as a time travel storyline where Blade goes years in the future. Guillermo del Toro was hired to direct Blade II by New Line production president Michael De Luca[2] after Stephen Norrington turned down the offer to direct the sequel. Goyer and Frankfurt both admired director Guillermo del Toro and believed his dark sensibilities to be ideal for Blade II. Frankfurt first met del Toro when Frankfurt's design company, Imaginary Forces, did the title sequences for Mimic. "I admired Mimic and got to know Guillermo through that film," says Frankfurt. "Both David Goyer and I have been fans of his since Cronos and were enthusiastic about him coming on board. Guillermo is such a visual director and has a very strong sense of how he wants a movie to look. When you sign on with someone like Guillermo you're not going to tell him what the movie should look like, you're going to let him run with it." Like Goyer, del Toro has a passion for comic books. "Guillermo was weaned on comic books, as was I," says Goyer. "I was a huge comic book collector... my brother and I had about twelve thousand comic books that we assembled when we were kids, so I know my background." Tippett Studio provided computer-generated visual effects, including digital doubles of some of the characters.[3]

Del Toro chose not to alter the script too much from the ideas created by Goyer and Snipes. "I wanted the movie to have a feeling of both a comic book and Japanese animation," said the director. "I resurrected those sources and viewed them again. I dissected most of the dailies from the first movie; I literally grabbed about four boxes of tapes and one by one saw every single tape from beginning to end until I perfectly understood where the language of the first film came from. I studied the style of the first one and I think Norrington used a tremendous narrative style. His work is very elegant."

Stepping back into Blade's shoes was a challenge Wesley Snipes relished. "I love playing this role. It's fun as an actor to test your skills at doing a sequel, to see if you can recreate something that you did," Snipes says. Peter Frankfurt adds, "Wesley is Blade; so much of the character was invented by Wesley and his instincts are so spot on. He takes his fighting, his weapons and attitude very seriously. He's incredibly focused, but he's also very cool and fun."

"Wesley knows Blade better than David Goyer, better than me, better than anyone else involved in the franchise," adds del Toro. "He instinctively knows what the character would and wouldn't do, and every time he twists something around, something better would come out."

Filming took place in Prague, Czech Republic including the Barrandov Studios, as well as London from March 12, 2001 and concluded July 2, 2001.

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Blade II was released on March 22, 2002. This was during a period of the year (months March and April) considered to be a bad time for sequels to be released.[4] Despite this, the film became the most successful film of the Blade series, making $80 million in the United States and $150 million worldwide. In its opening weekend, the film earned $32,528,016 from 2,707 theaters[5] but dropped 59% of its earnings in its second week, which brought in $13.2 million. The intake is believed to be affected (in part) by the pull of NCAA basketball Final Four games.[6] The film debuted in the United Kingdom at number one, making $3.6 million from 355 theatres[7] and held the spot for the following week, where it had earned $7.9 million, despite a 47% decline. The film was also number one in Singapore, making $214,000 from 30 theatres.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Reaction to Blade II among critics has been mixed to positive. The film earned a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, stating: "Blade II is a really rather brilliant vomitorium of viscera, a comic book with dreams of becoming a textbook for mad surgeons."[10] Conversely, James Berardinelli gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, stating: "Blade II is for those undiscriminating movie-goers who want nothing more from a trip to the multiplex than loud, raucous, mindless entertainment."[11]

Home media[edit]

The New Line Platinum Series DVD contains several deleted scenes, including a flashback sequence showing Blade's first meeting with Whistler.

A Blu-ray version was released in 2012.

Other media[edit]

Main article: Blade II (video game)

A video game of the same name and based on the movie was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on September 3, 2002.

Soundtrack[edit]

Blade II: The Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released March 19, 2002 (2002-03-19)
Genre Electronic, hip hop
Length 55:62
Label Immortal/Virgin/EMI
Producer
  • Happy Walters
  • Jeff Farley
Blade soundtracks chronology
Blade: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
(1998)
Blade II: The Soundtrack
(2002)
Blade: Trinity – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2004)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link

Blade II: The Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film, Blade II. It was released on March 19, 2002 through Immortal Records and Virgin Records, and featured collaborations between hip hop artists and electronic artists. This was similar to other releases from Immortal Records such as the soundtracks for the films Judgment Night (1993) which featured collaborations between rock and hip hop performers, and on the soundtrack for the film adaptation for Spawn (1997) which featured collaborations between rock and electronic artists. This soundtrack appeared on four different Billboard charts.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Blade" (Theme from Blade) Danny Saber & Marco Beltrami 3:04
2. "Cowboy"   Eve & Fatboy Slim 5:31
3. "I Against I"   Mos Def & Massive Attack 5:40
4. "Right Here, Right Now"   Ice Cube & Paul Oakenfold 4:10
5. "Tao of the Machine"   The Roots & BT 3:16
6. "Child of the Wild West"   Cypress Hill & Roni Size 4:14
7. "The One"   Busta Rhymes / Silkk the Shocker & Dub Pistols 3:44
8. "We Be Like This"   Fabolous / Jadakiss & Danny Saber 5:45
9. "Gorillaz on My Mind"   Redman & Gorillaz 4:29
10. "Gangsta Queens"   Trina / Rah Digga & Groove Armada 3:54
11. "PHDream"   Bubba Sparxxx & The Crystal Method 3:52
12. "Raised in the Hood"   Volume 10 & Roni Size 3:26
13. "Gettin' Aggressive" (Mowo! Mix) Mystikal & Moby 3:38
14. "Mind What You Say" (bonus track) Buppy 3:59
Total length:
55:62

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bill Higgins (April 1, 2002). "A party with a bite". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  2. ^ Michael Fleming (March 25, 2002). "Helmer scales mountains". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  3. ^ Ellen Wolff (July 21, 2002). "Artists flaunt character development at confab". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  4. ^ Variety staff (March 22, 2002). "Weekend Box Office Preview (March 22, 2002)". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  5. ^ "Blade II". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  6. ^ Dave McNary (March 31, 2002). "Col's "Room" at the top". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  7. ^ Don Groves (April 1, 2002). ""Ice" the rage o'seas". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  8. ^ Don Groves (April 8, 2002). ""Ice" ages well overseas". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  9. ^ "Blade 2 Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  10. ^ "Blade II :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  11. ^ "Blade II - Reelviews Movie Reviews - James Berardinelli". Reelviews.net. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 

External links[edit]