Dull ‘Blade’ plot fails to cut

The third installment in the "Blade" series has less vigor than a nursing home, less flair than a high school chess club and is less entertaining than subtitled "Full House" reruns in French class on a hung-over Monday morning.

"Blade: Trinity" doesn't fail because of one or more bad aspects. The movie fails because all of the individual elements that go into making the movie are terrible in their own right.

There is the acting, which features Wesley Snipes as a slab of Formica hunting vampires while wearing expensive sunglasses. Then there is the writing, which warps the greatest literary bad guy of all time into a disfigured porn star/alien monster. Then there is the film editing, which blurs all of these elements into a barely distinguishable muddle of lights, sound and movement.

Jessica Biel's (as Abigail Whistler) lines of the script may well have been taken from an English-translated version of an elementary "How to Speak Spanish" book. Ryan Reynolds (who plays Hannibal King) may have a future as an action star, if he can find a screenwriter that limits his abundant one-liners.

Snipes is, well, Snipes. He's played the same role in every movie since 1993's "Demolition Man." It doesn't get any cooler, but it doesn't get any lamer, either. The highpoint of the film comes when Snipes breaks his chiseled demeanor to dress down "The Nightstalkers" (Biel and Reynolds).

Even as a straight action movie, the movie fails. There are no impressive stunts and no high-flying hi-jinks. Snipes prances around in black leather while computer-generated explosions go off around him and blood splatters from punched faces. Not just fake blood, but computer-generated fake blood.

A negative aspect of the movie may be the big-screen debut of Paul Michael Levesque as Jarko Grimwood, known on the WWE circuit as "Triple H." It is little more than a thinly veiled feint to lure in 13-year-old professional wrestling fans. When Grimwood goes one on one with Reynold's King for a steel-cage death match, the film aspires to a whole new level of terrible.

The plot is the worst twist of the knife. After setting up the death of the title character for more than two hours with poignant emotional narrations from King and the use of anti-vampire weapons of mass destruction, Blade gets off with a slap on the wrist.

The worst element is the appearance of Dracula, played by Dominic Purcell. Walking around in daylight with an open shirt and dozens of superfluous necklaces, Purcell is the least vampiric of all the vampires.

He comes off as little more than the vampire sex machine, appropriately named Drake, so as not to defame the original.

"Blade: Trinity" rides off into the sunset, having successfully drained the audience's wallet of $7 (or more) and the audience's brain of any will to keep on living.

Grade: F

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Dec. 9 2004.,”Brian O'Connor”