Blade II: Platinum Edition DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
2002, Region 1 (NTSC), 114 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on September 3rd, 2002
Wesley Snipes as Blade
Kris Kristofferson as Whistler
Norman Reedus as Scud
Ron Pearlman as Reinhardt
Leonor Varela as Nyssa
Thomas Kretschmann as Damaskinos
Luke Goss as Nomak
Blade 2 kicks off an unspecified length of time after the fisrt movie ended. Whistler, Blade's sidekick and weapons designer/manufacturer has been taken by the vampires (not killed as we were led to believe by the first movie) and Blade's search to find him has been relentless. Aided by a host of new weaponary provided by doper tech-head Scud, Blade manages to track down Whistler and release him from the stasis chamber the suck-heads have him imprisoned in. A quick shot of anti-vampire serum and next morning Whistler is back to his old self.
While Whistler gets acquainted with Scud, the security system in Blade's warehouse lair alerts them to the presence of two intruders. After a blistering fight between Blade and one of the intruders, they reveal themselves to be messengers from Damaskinos, the Elder of the vampire nation.
Damaskinos wants a truce with Blade, and his help to hunt down and kill the Reapers; a new race of creature which hunts vampires as its prey. With the help of The Blood Pack, an elite squad of vampire soldiers originally trained to kill him, Blade must lead these unlikely subordinates into battle with a foe of unknown strength and ability.
I am a huge fan of the first film, and had been looking forward to this sequel for some time. I was happy not to be disappointed. Blade 2 delivers action, shocks, gore and suspense as well as, if not better, than the original. There is so much action in this movie you could be forgiven for thinking it was one long fight scene. This is not a bad thing, I found myself looking at the timer at about one hour 10 minutes, thinking that I'd only been watching for about 15 minutes. It's true, time does fly when you're having fun.
The story has been developed well from the original movie. To have another film about Blade killing vampires would have failed, but the introduction of the Reapers takes the story in a new direction and opens the door for some stunningly grotesque imagery. Wesley Snipes as Blade is a little two-dimensional but hey, he's a comic book character, so what do you expect? The teaming of Blade with the Blood Pack makes for some great friction between the characters. Blade's constant exchange of insults with Reinhardt makes for some amusing viewing.
I was happy to see that the filmmakers had opted to use traditional special effects as well as CGI to create the Reaper's 'Open Maw' sequences. Horror films are relying too much on CGI these days and it was good to see some skilled animatronics and prosthetics work being used during the film. I was surprised though to see CGI rearing its head during some of the fight scenes. Snipes is an accomplished martial artist (as is his stunt double) with the ability to carry off fantastic looking hand to hand combat. So why Del Toro chose to introduce CGI into some of the battles is beyond me. The fight between Blade and the vampire messenger near the start of the movie is so CGI'd up it is very reminiscent of the Ninja Cats scene in Cats & Dogs.
As a total package, Blade 2 is magnificent. The movie is an absolute must for horror/action freaks and the extras are simply superb (in quantity and content, if not in quality). If you liked the first movie you can't go far wrong with this.
Video & Audio:
Disc One: The picture quality is absolutely superb. The colours of the vampire world are rich and vibrant and there are no signs of pixelation during the many action scenes. The movie is presented in 16 x 9 Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio.) Disc Two doesn't fair so well. It seems as if quantity has been packed onto this disc at the cost of quality. In several of the documentary scenes, large artifacts and pixellation are visible. A shame, but not too much as Disc One is so outstanding.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1-EX, DTS 6.1-ES, Dolby Digital 5.1 (Isolated Score) and Dolby 2.0. My system will only handle up to 5.1 and this movie makes fantastic use of the surround sound. The scene in the House of Pain nightclub makes you feel as if you have a seat on the edge of the dancefloor and several times during the movie you find yourself dodging bullets as they whistle past from over your shoulder. This is one of most impressive surround sound tracks I've heard.
This presentation is chock full of extras. So chock full in fact, they needed an extra disc to get it all on.
Disc 1 Extras:
- Full length Audio Commentary with screenwriter/executive producer David S. Goyer and actor/producer Wesley Snipes.
- Full length Audio Commentary with Director Guillermo del Toro and producer Peter Frankfurt.
- Isolated Movie Score in Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc 2 Extras:
- "The Blood Pact" - An 83 minute documentary on all aspects of the making of Blade 2. This documentary also employs seamless branching, allowing the viewer to watch related short pieces by pressing the enter button on the DVD remote whenever the vampire symbol appears in the bottom left of the screen
- Scene Breakdowns. Six sequences from the movie, examined in detail with the option to compare shooting script to final script and examine storyboards and special effects.
- "Synthetic Stuntmen". A documentary examining the CGI effects in the movie and how they were used in some of the action sequences.
- "The Digital Maw" A short documentary on some of the creature special effects.
- Progress Reports : Almost an hours worth of footage shot by makeup designer Steve Johnson to keep director Del Toro updated during filming.
- Notebooks : Pages from the director's and script supervisor's notebooks.
- Unfilmed script pages.
- Art Gallery.
- Deleted and Alternative Scenes. About 25 minutes worth viewable with or without director's commentary.
- Original Theatrical and Teaser Trailers.
- Roni Size and Cypress Hill Music Video.