Blade II is a 2002 American superhero horror film based on the fictional character Blade from Marvel Comics, directed by Guillermo Del Toro and written by David S. Goyer. It is a sequel to the first film and the second part of the Blade film series, followed by Blade: Trinity.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Guillermo del Toro|
|Written by||David S. Goyer|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Peter Amundson|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$155 million|
The film follows the human-vampire hybrid Blade in his continuing effort to protect humans from vampires, finding himself in a fierce battle against a group of mutant vampires who seek to commit global genocide of both vampire and human races. Blade and his human allies are coerced into joining forces with a special elite group of vampires.
Blade II was released on March 22, 2002 and was a box office success, grossing over $155 million. It received mixed reviews from critics, earning praise for its performances, atmosphere, direction, and action sequences, although its script and lack of character development have been criticized.
In 1999, two years after the events of the previous film, Blade searches Prague for his mentor Abraham Whistler, who was thought to have died after being attacked by Deacon Frost and his vampire pack but was instead turned into a vampire. Blade discovers Whistler being held at a vampire safe house. After returning to their headquarters, Blade gives Whistler an accelerated retro-viral serum to revert him back to human. Whistler meets Scud, Blade's new weapons and vehicle technician.
Unbeknownst to Blade, a pandemic known as the "Reaper virus" has spread through the vampire community. Infected vampires turn into 'Reapers', a mutation of vampires immune to most vampire weaknesses, who kill humans and turn any vampires they feed on into Reapers. Unable to contain the Reapers, Vampire Lord Eli Damaskinos sends two emissaries, Asad and Nyssa, to seek Blade's assistance. Damaskinos explains that Jared Nomak, a vampire, became infected with the Reaper virus and is purposefully feeding on other vampires, spreading the virus. Damaskinos warns Blade that after Nomak is done feeding on vampires he will begin to feed on humans. Blade reluctantly agrees to help. Asad introduces Blade and his group to the Bloodpack, a group of vampires trained to kill Blade. In addition to Asad and Nyssa, the Bloodpack consists of Reinhardt, Chupa, Snowman, Verlaine, Lighthammer, and Priest. To keep them in line, Blade plants an explosive charge on the back of Reinhardt's head.
On Blade's advice, the team starts by investigating the House of Pain, a nightclub frequented by vampires. They encounter the Reapers and discover they are much stronger and tougher than normal vampires. Nomak arrives and holds Nyssa hostage. Nomak tries to recruit Blade to his cause, as they both hate vampires. Blade strikes Nomak with his anti-vampire weapons but the effects are minimal. Nomak gains the upper hand but a burst of sunlight reflects off of Blade's sword, burning Nomak and causing him to flee. Blade kills Priest after he becomes infected and begins to transform into a Reaper. Lighthammer is also infected but elects to hide it from the group.
Whistler reveals that he followed a Reaper lagging behind and discovered it trapped at a large sewer entrance. The group takes the lone Reaper back to a safe house for further examination. After the Reaper dies from thirst, the dissection of its corpse reveals that Reaper metabolism burns out within 12 hours if they do not feed, as well as having an additional layer of bone protecting the front of the heart, leaving the sides of the heart exposed. Nyssa and Blade conclude that the Reapers are only vulnerable to sunlight/UV light. Whistler and Scud create UV projectors and grenades for the team. Blade states that their best advantage is to search for the Reaper nest in the sewers at dawn, placing the entire Bloodpack at risk.
While searching for the nest in small groups, Lighthammer succumbs to the infection, kills Snowman, and chases Verlaine up a ladder. Verlaine removes the manhole cover and they are both killed by sunlight. Chupa turns on Whistler and attacks him, only be killed by a group of Reapers. Asad is ambushed by a different mob of Reapers, dragged underwater, and killed. While attempting to escape, Whistler is stopped by Nomak, who reveals information about Damaskinos and gives him a ring bearing the Damaskinos royal seal. Using a special UV emitter bomb pack, Blade kills all of the Reapers, saving the lives of Reinhardt and Nyssa. Nomak flees as Kounen arrives with a group of soldiers, who stun Blade unconscious and take them all prisoner.
Back at his lair, Damaskinos reveals that he engineered the Reaper virus in order to create a new race of vampires based on Blade, immune to any vampire weakness. Whistler throws the royal seal ring at his feet and demands the full truth. Damaskinos confirms that Nomak is in fact his son, but was cast out for being a failed experiment. Scud reveals himself to be a familiar loyal to Damaskinos. Blade replies that he always knew of Scud's true allegiance and kills him with the explosive charge he had placed on Reinhardt earlier. Damaskinos orders Kounen to dissect Blade so they can replicate his abilities. Nyssa confronts Damaskinos about his lies. Damaskinos states that for the survival of the vampire race he is willing to sacrifice everything, including his own family. After killing Kounen, Whistler takes Blade to a blood pool, where he regains enough strength to kill Reinhardt and his men. Whistler destroys Damaskinos's collection of mutant vampire embryos.
Nyssa and Damaskinos attempt to escape but Nyssa locks the exit door, preventing Damaskinos from escaping. Seeking revenge, Nomak tracks Damaskinos to his private heliport and kills him. Nyssa then offers herself to Nomak to be bitten; he infects Nyssa with the virus and drinks her blood. Blade arrives and Nomak offers Blade the same alliance he did at the House of Pain. However, Blade stabs Nomak and the two fight. Blade eventually stabs his broken sword-blade through the side of Nomak's chest and into his bone-protected heart, slipping through the bone plates on the side. Mortally wounded, Nomak commits suicide by shoving the sword all the way into his heart. Fulfilling Nyssa's wish of dying as a vampire instead of as a Reaper, Blade takes her outside and embraces her as she dies while watching the sunrise.
- Wesley Snipes as Eric Brooks / 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."
- Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler: Blade's human mentor and weaponsmith.
- Ron Perlman as Dieter Reinhardt: A member of the Bloodpack, who bears a particular grudge against Blade.
- Leonor Varela as Nyssa Damaskinos: An unapologetic, natural-born vampire and daughter to Damaskinos.
- Norman Reedus as Scud: A young, pot smoking weaponsmith who aids Blade in Whistler's absence.
- 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.
- Donnie Yen as Snowman: A mute swordsman and member of the Bloodpack.
- 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. The script originally said that she was the twin sister of Racquel from the first movie.
- Daz Crawford as Lighthammer: A hulking, hammer-wielding member of the Bloodpack with Maori facial tattoos.
- Tony Curran as Priest: A Irish-accented member of the Bloodpack.
- Santiago Segura as Rush: A vampire flunky in Prague.
Following the success of the original film, New Line and Marvel made plans for a sequel in 1999. It is said that the film was going to introduce Hannibal King and Frank Drake in the series 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 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, while Steve Johnson and his company XFX were hired to create the prosthetic makeup and animatronic effects.
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".
A soundtrack to the film was released on March 19, 2002 through Immortal Records and Virgin Records, and which featured collaborations between hip hop artists and electronic artists. This soundtrack appeared on four different Billboard charts, reaching number 26 on the Billboard 200. It spawned two singles: "Child of the Wild West" and "Mind What You Say".
The New Line Platinum Series DVD contains several deleted scenes including a flashback sequence showing Blade's first meeting with Whistler, a music video for "Child Of The Wild West", performed by west coast hip-hop group Cypress Hill and featuring drums and bass performer Roni Size in the DVD Special Features on disc-2, VHS Capture and theatrical trailer.
A Blu-ray version was released in 2012.
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. Despite this, the film became the highest-grossing 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 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. The film debuted in the United Kingdom at number one, making $3.6 million from 355 theaters 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 theaters.
Reaction to Blade II among critics has been mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 57% based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 5.94/10. The site's consensus reads: "Though Blade II offers more of what worked in the original, its plot and character development appear to have been left on the cutting room floor." On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100 based on reviews from 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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." 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."
A sequel, Blade: Trinity, was released in 2004.
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