Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David S. Goyer|
|Written by||David S. Goyer|
by Marv Wolfman
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$128.9 million|
Blade: Trinity (also known as Blade III or Blade III: Trinity) is a 2004 American superhero film written, produced and directed by David S. Goyer, who also wrote the screenplays to Blade and Blade II. It stars Wesley Snipes, who also produced, in the title role based on the Marvel Comics character Blade alongside Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Dominic Purcell, Parker Posey and Triple H.
It is the third film in the Blade film series. The film grossed over $128 million at the U.S. box office on a budget of $65 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, Blade: Trinity has a 25% approval rating and a critical consensus that it "seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes" ,although the review in Rotten Tomatoes, the film received generally mixed reviews, praising Wesley Snipes and the cast performances and its action sequences but found its villain and storyline poor. It was followed by 2006's Blade: The Series.
Vampire explorers in Syria uncover an ancient tomb, which they believe belongs to Dracula, the first vampire. To keep Blade from interfering, they frame him for the murder of a human familiar. FBI agents subsequently locate Blade's hideout and kill his mentor and friend, Abraham Whistler. Demoralized, Blade surrenders and is arrested.
Posing as federal marshals, the vampires persuade the authorities to turn Blade over to them. He is rescued by private investigator Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler, Abraham's daughter, who invite Blade to join their band of vampire hunters, the Nightstalkers. From them, Blade learns that Danica Talos, an old enemy of King's, has revived Dracula, or "Drake", with the goal of using his powers to cure vampires of their weaknesses. As Drake is too powerful to kill via normal means, the Nightstalkers have created an experimental bioweapon known as Daystar, capable of killing vampires at the genetic level. However, they have failed to make it effective.
Eager to test Blade, Drake isolates him from the Nightstalkers, as he considers them unworthy of challenging him. He explains that all humans and vampires are inferior in his eyes and that he intends to wipe them from the Earth. Abigail finds evidence of Drake's true plan: a network of farms where humans are drained of their blood for vampire consumption. In an act of euthanasia, Blade deactivates the farm's life support systems.
Returning to the Nightstalkers's hideout, they find all of them dead except for King and a young girl named Zoe, who have been taken captive. A recording left by Daystar's creator reveals that Drake's blood is needed to render it effective, but only at the cost of his life. King is tortured by the vampires for information, but refuses to talk, even when they threaten to feed him Zoe's blood.
Blade and Abigail arrive and free the captives. Drake easily bests Blade in single combat and prepares to kill him with an arrow filled with Daystar. At the last second, Blade stabs him with it, triggering a chemical reaction that kills Danica and the rest of her followers. As Drake slowly succumbs to his wounds, he praises Blade for fighting honorably, but warns him that he will eventually become a vampire.
From here there are several different endings:
- Theatrical ending: Using the last of his power, Drake disguises himself as Blade. The FBI recover the body and declare Blade legally dead, allowing him to continue his war against vampires.
- Unrated ending: Blade faints and is captured by the FBI, while Drake's body is not recovered. Seconds before his autopsy, Blade awakes and attacks a nurse. It is not clear whether Blade has become a vampire as Drake predicted, or if he is simply thirsty for blood. This is the ending seen on the director's cut of the film, and commentary on the DVD indicates it was the ending Goyer intended.
- Werewolf ending: With Daystar having exterminated the vampire race, Blade formally retires from hunting. King and Abigail reestablish the Nightstalkers and turn their attention to a new foe: werewolves. This version of the ending was used in the novelization of the film and is included on the DVD as an extra.
- Wesley Snipes as Eric Brooks / Blade
- Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler
- Dominic Purcell as Dracula / Drake
- Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler
- Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King
- Parker Posey as Danica Talos
- Callum Keith Rennie as Asher Talos
- Triple H as Jarko Grimwood
- Natasha Lyonne as Sommerfield
- Haili Page as Zoey Sommerfield
- John Michael Higgins as Dr. Edgar Vance
- Françoise Yip as Virago
- Mark Berry as Police Chief Martin Vreede
- Patton Oswalt as Hedges
- James Remar as FBI Agent Ray Cumberland
- Michael Anthony Rawlins as FBI Agent Wilson Hale
- Eric Bogosian as Bentley Tittle
- Ron Selmour as Dex
- Christopher Heyerdahl as Caulder
Reportedly, series star Wesley Snipes was unhappy with the film's script and original choice of director. David S. Goyer, who had written all three films in the franchise, was then selected to replace the original director of the film, which Snipes protested. Snipes reportedly caused difficulty during filming, including frequently refusing to shoot scenes, often forcing director Goyer to use stand-ins and computer effects to add his character to scenes. Co-star Patton Oswalt alleged that Snipes would spend much of his time smoking marijuana in his trailer, and that he had become violent with Goyer after falsely accusing him of racism. It has also been alleged that Snipes refused to interact with Goyer or his co-stars, and would instead communicate with them through his assistant or the use of notes. Snipes also allegedly referred to co-star Ryan Reynolds by the racial slur "cracker" on one or more occasions.
In the DVD special features Goyer talks about how cities are often multilingual. For example, Blade: Trinity is shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where signs are in English. Goyer used Esperanto and its flag as part of the fictional city where Blade is set. The Esperanto flag is shown twice, at the entrance to the Police headquarters after Blade is rescued from jail, and in the rooftop scene where Drake threatens to drop a baby over the edge. Background elements such as signs and advertisements include Esperanto translations. Hannibal King is at one point seen watching the Esperanto language film Incubus on television; one reviewer remarked that first time director "Goyer's grasp of directorial fundamentals (such as when to tilt the camera and when to shoot in close-up) is about as strong as Shatner's fluency in Esperanto." The film's director of photography, Gabriel Beristain, makes a cameo appearance as the one-eyed newspaper vendor who talks to Whistler in Esperanto and discusses the public perception that Blade is a menace to society.
The film's American box office gross was $52 million, and the total worldwide gross was $128.9 million. This matched the first Blade's take but came behind Blade II, which grossed $150 million worldwide.
In 2005, Snipes sued New Line Cinema and Goyer, claiming that the studio did not pay his full salary, that he was intentionally cut out of casting decisions and filmmaking process, despite being one of the producers, and that his character's screen time was reduced in favor of costars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel.
The film earned an approval rating of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 165 reviews. The consensus reads: "Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes." Rotten Tomatoes included the film at 76 out of 94 on a countdown (from 94 to 1) of "worst to best" comic book to film adaptations.
Roger Ebert, who gave Blade 3 stars out of 4 and Blade II 3½ stars, gave Blade: Trinity 1½ stars, writing: "It lacks the sharp narrative line and crisp comic-book clarity of the earlier films, and descends too easily into shapeless fight scenes that are chopped into so many cuts that they lack all form or rhythm."
By August 2012, the film rights to Blade had reverted to Marvel Studios. At San Diego Comic Con 2015, Snipes told IGN that both he and Marvel are now in talks about bringing Blade back in theaters.
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