Let’s not pretend that “Trinity”, the third chapter in the ongoing tale of a human-vampire hybrid out to kill all vampires, is a good movie and instead say it is a solid “Blade” movie – meaning, if you are not already a fan, don’t bother.
Wesley Snipes still plays the title character, a tattooed human whose mother was bitten by a vampire as she was giving birth, imbuing him with both his abilities, such as his super-strength, pointy teeth and knack for walking away from fights without a scratch, and his invincibility to the typical bloodsucker’s no-no’s like sunbathing, silver and garlic. True to his original 1973 comic book origination story, Blade is a powerful vampire-hunter and one of the first black heroes in the genre.
This time around, writer-director David S. Goyer (who wrote all three in the “Blade” saga and directed the forgettable “ZigZag” before trying his hand at directing here) drags out the UR-vampire, Dracula, for Blade to fight and perks up the movie with a couple of eye-candy, joke-cracking sidekicks. The plot is there solely to accessorize the big fight: Blade is framed by the vampires; Blade’s sidekick, Whistler, is killed; the vampires dig up (literally) Dracula; things look bleak; new allies appear; a long-shot plan is hatched; and –et voila— we get our big fight.
Snipes no longer plays Blade for humor, as he did in the first “Blade”. Indeed, the role has lost character, humor and emotions over the length of the trilogy. Whether busy trying to grimace through his prosthetic orthodonture or exploding doors with his kicks, Blade exhibits the whole range of moods from grumpy to grumpier. With his perpetual mock-turtleneck and leather overcoat, Blade now relies upon his sidekicks to provide the sexy physiques as well as the one-liners.
With the loss of Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), the dry, rough banter of old is replaced by the snarky, self-effacing irony of Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds, of “Van Wilder” and TV’s “Two Guys and a Girl” fame), providing most of the movie’s laughs. For the vampires, it is indie-movie queen, Parker Posey, who adds humor by unleashing her inner bad-girl with unapologetic, over-the-top glee as Danica Talos, the brains behind Dracula’s return.
Good old Dracula aka Drake (Dominic Purcell) is no longer an effete aristocrat, but is re-imagined as a bare-chested heart-throb out of Ancient Sumeria, who, like Blade, is invincible to the usual vampire weaknesses. Purcell is, however, entirely vulnerable to the difficulties of acting in a script that calls for non-stop action, one which renders “talking” scenes sluggish and necessary only as a bridge to the next fight scene. Like the attractive but forgettable Jessica Biel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, TV’s “7th Heaven”) as Abigail Whistler, Purcell’s acting has the sensitivity of a lead-pipe and makes one grateful for Snipes’ two-dimensional Blade.
The fight scenes are plentiful, the characters familiar and the end predictable. For “Blade” fans, “Trinity” will be fine popcorn fare and provide fodder for comic-book store discussions about which movie had the best fight scenes and whether WWE’s Triple H will have a future career playing numb-skull heavies (since he does a yeoman’s job in this one). For those not already bitten by the “Blade” bug, there is nothing here that can withstand the light of day.
Parents should know that these are extremely violent action movies, that often veer into carnage usually reserved for the horror genre. Characters are shot, sliced, dismembered, burnt, tortured, and bled. There is a scene where a blind woman is hunted down and killed within ear-shot of her daughter. There are scenes of kidnapped humans in drug-induced comas being bled to feed the vampires. Frequent profanity is played for humor in this movie and sexual references are extremely explicit, including incest and sex toys.
Families who see this movie could talk about the concept of honor that Drake discusses with Blade, about which character –if any—acts in an honorable way, and whether the concept here is used as justification for acting monstrously. Nietzche’s much-used warning to “battle not with monsters, lest you become one” is the leitmotif of Blade’s existence. What separates Blade from the vampires? Why does the audience revel in someone who seeks to solve all his problems with violence?
Families who enjoyed this movie might enjoy the original “Blade” and “Blade 2”, as well as John Carpenter’s “Vampires”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (the movie, not the TV series), and the Japanese anime “Blood: the Last Vampire”.