4 years after Blade first hit the screen, Marvel was starting to become a movie powerhouse; as X-Men and Spider-Man both debuted as major hits. At the same time, Marvel decided to do a follow up to the movie that brought them to the ball, so to speak. Yes, everyone’s favorite half-breed vampire hunter was a back with a new adventure and a new menace to face. Now I did not see this in theaters and actually ended up seeing it for the first time on TV years later. Now let’s find out what all we are in store for as I re-watch Blade II.
The plot: Two years after the death of Deacon Frost, a man named Jared Nomak goes to a blood bank in Prague to donate some blood but as he is taken to a back room and answering the nurses questions, she informs him that they discovered some strange results in his blood test. Leading Nomak into a secure back room, Nomak becomes nervous when the nurse orders him restrained, as a doctor proceeds to don a glove of hypodermic needles and prepares to drain his blood, as the nurse, doctor, and security guards are all vampires. Suddenly, Nomak begins laughing before suddenly attacking and biting into the doctors. As the guards begin shooting at him, he is unaffected by the bullets and throws a guard into a wall while grabbing the second one, who is trying to escape. Looking up into the security cameras, Nomak declares he hates vampires, then opens his mouth wide, and the scar on his lower jaw opens up to reveal he is some sort of mutant vampire, before he kills the last guard. Meanwhile, Blade is in Prague hunting down a group of vampires, killing all but one of them. Approaching the last vampire, Blade asks him where Whistler is, as he had failed to kill himself in time to prevent turning and the vampires found him and kept him alive. Forcing the vampire to lead him to where Whistler is kept, Blade kills the vampires in the building, telling the vampire he coerced that he will “catch him later”, then approaches the tank that Whistler is being kept in. Freeing Whistler, Blade takes him back to their hideout and administers the cure that their associate Dr. Karen Jensen, but Blade’s new partner Scud says that he would be better off killing him. The next morning, Blade opens the blinds in Whistler’s room and finds that Whistler has survived the cure. As Blade starts to fill him in on how long he has been missing and introduces him to Whistler, the power suddenly goes out. Scud’s intruder alarm detects two vampires breaking in and Whistler and Blade arm themselves for battle. The vampires enter the room and Whistler starts shooting at them but they quickly disarm him. When Blade confronts them, he is able to hold them off until one of them says that they did not come to fight, only to deliver a message from the ruling house of vampires. Introducing themselves as Asad and Nyssa, they take Blade, Whistler, and Scud to the home of Eli Damaskinos, who greets Blade and says he respects his accomplishments in stopping Deacon Frost. Eli’s familiar, a lawyer named Karel Kouman, tells them that just as vampires are considered a virus upon humans, they have encountered a mutation, showing him the video of Nomak’s attack at the blood bank. Blade feels like he should thank Nomak for making his job easier but Nyssa explains that the vampires Nomak kills become mutated creatures like him, calling them Reapers. Eli tells Blade he wants him to lead a group of vampire warriors called the Bloodpack, whose original purpose was to kill Blade, and hunt down Nomak and any other mutants and kill them. Talking among themselves back at the hideout, Blade says that he knows the vampires will double cross them the first chance they get but says they should work with them for now. Some time later, Nyssa and Asad introduce Blade to the Bloodpack (Reinhardt, Chupa, Lighthammer, Verlaine, Priest, and Snowman) and when Reinhardt taunts Blade, Blade taunts him back before sticking an explosive device on the back of his head. Blade then tells Nyssa that if Nomak is hunting vampires, he will be goign to large gatherings of them and Nyssa suggests they head to the House of Pain. When they get there, Blade tells Whistler to take a position on the nearby rooftop, as he won’t pass for a vampire, and Whistler argues against it but reluctantly does so. Entering the club, Blade starts putting cameras on the walls so that Scud can see from their mobile command center in his van. As the Bloodpack and Blade move around the club, Nomak is in the sewers underneath and senses Blade’s presence above him. As it gets close to daylight, The scattered group encounter several Reapers, with Blade and Nyssa encountering Nomak. Blade manages to shoot Nomak in the head with his gun but the bullet has no effect on Nomak, who renews his attack on them. Outside, Scud is attacked in the mobile command van but when he contacts Whistler for help, he gets no response. When Scud is able to kill a reaper with UV light, he informs the others and they manage to kill some but Priest is bitten by one of them, as is Lighthammer but he lies to Verlaine about the wound and says it is only his back that was injured. Blade confronts Nomak and during the fight, injects him with EDTA but, like the silver in his bullets, it has no effect on him and Blade is finally able to force him to retreat by reflecting sunlight on him. When Priest starts to turn into a reaper, Blade shoots a hole in the ceiling, exposing him to daylight in order to kill him. Meanwhile, Scud argues that Whistler abandoned him but Whistler shows them a trapped Reaper, and explains that is what made him leave his post. At Eli’s home, Karel tells Eli the results of the attack and warns Eli that he is playing a dangerous game but Eli says the risks are worth it, even if it means his daughter dies as well. At the hideout, Nyssa is studying the captured Reaper and when she notes that it is dying, Blade theorizes that it’s metabolism is burning out too fast for it’s system to handle, but Nomak is different as he is the carrier for the virus. As Nyssa performs an autopsy, she tells them that the only way to kill them is with sunlight. Blade tells them that they will go hunting in the sewers at sunrise, as it is the only advantage they have against the Reapers, but Asad and the other members of the Bloodpack are not happy as they are vulnerable as well. Later, Nyssa speaks to Blade alone about the way he speaks to her and the Bloodpack and says that they are on the same side in this fight. Meanwhile, Whistler and Scud come up with some UV grenades to use against the fight and as Blade and Nyssa go over the plan, using pheromones to lure the Reapers into a kill zone for the grenades, Blade tells Nyssa to be sure she takes cover when the grenades go off. Blade, Whistler, and the Bloodpack head off into the sewers, they split up into groups of three to track the Reapers. Snowman, Lighthammer, and Verlaine are in one group but as the move through the tunnels, Lighthammer finally turns and kills Snowman, then goes after Verlaine but she can’t bring herself to attack Lighthammer and instead, climbs out a manhole cover, using the sunlight to kill them both. Meanwhile, Whistler is with Chupa and Reinhardt but they use the opportunity to attack Whistler, and Chupa continues beating on him while Reinhardt goes on ahead, unaware that Whistler activated a pheromone pack to lure the Reapers to them. When Reinhardt locates some reapers, he goes to set the bomb but the switch is stuck and he is forced to retreat. Meanwhile, Chupa is attacked by the Reapers and killed, allowing Whistler to escape. Blade, Asad, and Nyssa are ambushed by some Reapers and Asad is killed but Blade uses a UV grenade to kill the Reapers, telling Nyssa to take cover so she isn’t killed herself. Meeting up with Reinhardt, who says that he is the only one left, Blade pours some pheromones on him so that the Reapers will be inclined to chase him, then heads back to the bomb to activate, eventually killing all of them in there. Whistler manages to survive and encounters Nomak, who tells him that he wants Whistler to deliver a message about the truth of what is going on. Meanwhile, Blade finds Nyssa, who had survived the explosion by diving into the water, and cuts his wrist to feed her some of his blood so she can heal but he finds himself captured by Reinhardt and Eli’s soldiers, unaware that Nomak has seen everything happening. When Blade comes too, he finds that Whistler and Scud were captured as well and Whistler tells him what Nomak said. Eli enters at that moment and he tells them that he had been working on creating a supreme race that was immune to all of their weaknesses and admits that Nomak is his son. When Reinhardt shoots Blade in the leg, Blade goes to detonate the device but nothing happens. Scud suddenly starts laughing and reveals that he is Eli’s familiar and the device was never meant to explode but after Reinhardt removes it and tosses it to him, Blade says he was on to Scud once they turned him, then blows him up. Reinhardt orders Blade subdued and Karel takes Blade away so they can harvest his blood while Reinhardt proceeds to beat on Whistler and Nyssa confronts her father over what he has done. As Blade lies near death, he whispers Nomak’s name and when Karel questions him about it, Blade tells him he is coming for revenge on the people that made him. When Reinhardt sees Nomak fighting the guards on the monitor, Whistler is able to use the distraction to knock him out and escape, then rescue Blade. Whistler takes Blade to a blood pool so he can regain his strength, but Reinhardt tries to stop him but is too late as Blade drops into the pool. Emerging from the pool, Blade defeats the guards and kills Reinhardt, then heads off to stop Eli and Nomak while Whistler destroys Eli’s remaining genetically modified embryos. Nomak makes his way after Eli and as Eli tries to leave with Nyssa in a helicopter, she seals the building, trapping them inside so that Eli can pay for his sins. Nomak approaches Eli and kills him, saying he won’t infect him with the virus. Nomak then approaches Nyssa, who tells him to finish it, and he chooses to infect her but as he is biting her, Blade interrupts them. Blade attacks Nomak and stabs him with his sword but Nomak breaks the sword and after pulling out the blade, begins attacking Blade. The two engage in a ferocious fist fight and Nomak appears to have the upper hand but Blade grabs the broken blade from his sword and manages to stab it into Nomak’s chest, piercing the bone plate protecting his heart. Falling to the ground, Nomak decides to commit suicide and continues pushing the sword into his heart and after he dies, Blade approaches Nyssa. Nyssa says that she knows she is dying and asks Blade to let her see the sun for once, chosing to kill herself that way. Blade takes her onto the helipad and holds her as she burns away, while Whistler watches behind him. Some time later, the vampire that led Blade to Whistler heads into a peep show booth but as the curtain goes up, he finds Blade there waiting for him and Blade quickly kills him.
Blade II met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “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.” Throughout the movie, Scud wears a T-shirt featuring the logo of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a reference to Mike Mignola’s “Helboy” comic; a series which driector Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman would work on a live action film version of two years later. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $155 million off of a $54 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the trilogy.
It might have made more money and gotten slightly better reviews, but while I did think the movie was entertaining, I liked the first movie better. The acting was ok, with Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson doing great jobs reprising their roles of Blade and Whistler respectively. I also though Ron Perlman was great as Reinhardt, while Leonor Varela and Luke Goss did equally good jobs as Nyssa and Nomak. The story was interesting, as I liked the idea of the mutated vampires that were immune to most of their weaknesses. I also liked the whole “enemy of my enemy” aspect to the movie, and how Blade used both the vampires’ ego and Nomak’s desire for revenge to his full advantage, though it almost cost him and Whistler their lives. I liked the majority of the special effects and fight scenes, but there were some times where they looked too fake, almost like it is something from a video game, that really detracted from whatever scene they were in. It’s entertaining but falls short of the first movie.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5