The movie begins at a blood bank. A homeless man walks into the clinic and sits by another homeless man (Luke Goss) with a scar running down his chin. He sees that the scarred man looks nervous and tries to relax him by telling him that they pay well there. The other man still looks uneasy as the nurse takes him into the clinic. They walk down a very dark and deserted hallway until they reach a room with several people waiting. The man starts to panic and is forced into the medical chair in the center of the room. One of the people starts a blood draining device and is about to suck out the homeless man’s blood when the man’s whimpering turns into derisive laughter. He grabs one of the guards and drains her blood. He fights back with super strength as he kills everyone in the room. He looks at the surveillance camera and speaks in the vampire language, “Vampires, I hate vampires.”
Two years have passed since the ending of the first film, and Blade has been keeping himself busy in the hunt for Whistler. He has been sweeping across Russia and eastern Europe searching for his old friend and mentor, enlisting the aid of a young man named Scud to design him a new line of gadgetry and weaponry. In the first scene of the film, Blade fights his way through a large gang of vampires, leaving one of their number, Rush, alive yet telling him he’ll be back for him. Blade finds Whistler locked in a tank of blood by a cruel gang of vampires who were keeping the old man alive for purposes of torture. Blade rescues him and brings him to Prague.
Meanwhile, a crisis has arisen in the vampire community. What seems to be a more developed strain of vampirism (dubbed the “Reaper virus“) is sweeping through their ranks, giving its carriers fearsome new characteristics. The original carrier of the strain seems to be Jared Nomak, a one-time vampire who appears to have mutated. Far stronger than common vampires, the Reaper have three-way jaws, leech-like suckers and un-stakable hearts encased in a thick layer of bone, making them invulnerable to any weapon barring sunlight. In order to combat the virus, the vampire elder/overlord Eli Damaskinos and his lawyer Karel Counan send their minions Asad and Nyssa (who is Damaskinos’ daughter) to find and strike an uneasy treaty with Blade, proving to him that the Reapers are the greater evil and once they finish the vampire population, they will doubtlessly descend on humankind. Whilst Blade may hate vampires, the Reapers are far more dangerous and neither side can attack them without uniting first.
To this end, Blade teams up with the Bloodpack, a group of vampire warriors and assassins who were originally assembled to kill Blade. In order to obtain some measure of control over the group, Blade singles out Reinhardt (played by Ron Perlman), one of the group’s more primary members, and installs a remotely-activated explosive device in the back of his head. Setting their mutual hatred aside, Blade leads the Bloodpack in the fight against the Reapers and the investigation into their origins. During this time, Blade forms something of an intimate relationship with Nyssa, the daughter of Damaskinos and member of the Bloodpack.
After a climactic battle against numerous Reapers in their hive in the sewers, Blade is apprehended by Damaskinos’ forces, along with Whistler and Scud. As it turns out, the Reaper strain is not a virus at all, but rather a genetic experiment gone wrong. In his efforts to create a day-walking vampire race, Damaskinos had numerous experiments performed on Nomak, who is in fact his estranged son. He remarks that Nomak was the first carrier of the strain but ultimately flawed, seeing as he was vulnerable to daylight, as were all the other carriers whom he’d infected. Damaskinos then reveals another horrible truth—he has been creating many more Reapers, all of them incubated in the form of a fetus. All they require now is Blade’s biological make-up and in order to extract this, Damaskinos plans to have Blade killed and dissected.
During his captivity, Blade attempts to activate the pre-placed explosive in Reinhardt’s skull, at which point Scud reveals the bomb (which he himself had crafted) was never designed to go off. He himself is in fact one of Damaskinos’ human servants (i.e. a familiar) and planned to side with the vampires rather than fighting against them. However, Blade has a trump card – he has always known of Scud’s servitude to Damaskinos, and his backhanded double dealing. Activating a second switch on his remote, Blade kills the unfortunate Scud, who unluckily happened to be holding the bomb at the time. Blade fights his way through Damaskinos’ henchmen, slashing Reinhardt in half in the process, and heads towards the lead vampire himself.
Meanwhile, a vengeful Nomak has entered Damaskinos’ stronghold, seeking revenge on the father who mutilated him and turned him into the first Reaper. Just before he can escape, Damaskinos is betrayed by Nyssa (who became disillusioned with her father’s extreme methods) and killed by Nomak. In order to “complete the circle”, Nomak also bites Nyssa and then makes to leave, whereupon he is confronted by Blade. After a very physical fight scene, Blade finds the weak spot in Nomak’s physical defenses and jams his sword beneath his arm, bypassing the bone shield of his heart. With Nomak dead, Blade then carries a weak, soon-to-be-Reaper Nyssa outside for the sunrise, where she disintegrates in his arms.
In the film’s last scene, Blade disposes of Rush, the vampire he left alive at the start.
The Blade trilogy continues with Blade II, which picks up a couple years after Blade.
Sequels aren’t exactly high on my list, especially one that seemingly were made just to capitalize on a film’s popularity. Blade II doesn’t follow that pattern, though. It stands alone from the other parts of the trilogy, save for some references and continuity between the three pictures. This is one of the reasons I belive that I find these movies so appealing. They were made more for the fans and not to just make some bank.
The bad parts of this film are few, but they are there. The first part is the sudden need for Blade to have help. I’ve always thought of Blade as a loner, his only help being Whistler. This is why his teaming up with the Bloodpack seemed so odd to me, especially when you take into consideration that they are vampires, the very thing Blade exists to kill. Another thing that bothered me was the whole Whistler turned into a vampire thing. In the first film, the audience is left with the impression that he killed himself, but with this film we suddenly find out that he somehow lived and became a vampire that Blade has spent the past couple of years searching for. What’s even more of an unresolved topic regarding Whistler is that when Blade does get him, he gives him the “cure” and all of a sudden he’s perfectly healed with no sense that he was ever a vampire. I don’t know, something just seemed fishy about all that to me.
On the plus side of things, it is more than obvious that the filmmakers had a bigger budget than they had in Blade. Director Guillarmo del Toro usually creates some of the most beautiful works of art with his film. He doesn’t do that here, but with the material, it is kind of hard to do so, however, he does prove he is more than a competent director. I like the fact that Blade (and Snipes) seem to be having fun with what they’re doing. In the first film it seemed like more of a chore. While I think the effects could have been better, they were still pretty good, especially when it came down to the army of reapers in the sewer and the sunrise scene at the end.
Vampire movies these days are all about sparkly, emo tween “vampires”. Maybe someone should bring in a team of vampire hunters to take care of the overabundance of vampires in TV and cinema these days, led by Blade. This film proves he can handle leading a group of rif raff, even if I believe he should be a loner. With all the elements this film has going for it, though, I expected it to be better, but instead it was a bit of a let down from its predecessor. Still, it is worth watching, especially if you’re a comic book fan.
4 out of 5 stars