Blade: Trinity (UK - BD RB)
Chris takes a look at the final chapter of Wesley Snipes' Blade movie franchise...
Blade (Wesley Snipes) returns as the ultimate vampire hunter in the explosive third and final film, Blade: Trinity. For years, Blade has fought against the vampires in the cover of night. But now, after falling into the crosshairs of the FBI, he is forced out into the daylight, where he is driven to join forces with a clan of human vampire hunters he never knew existed – the Nightstalkers. Together with Abigail (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal (Ryan Reynolds), two deftly trained Nightstalkers, Blade follows a trail of blood to the ancient creature that is also hunting him, the original vampire, Dracula. (Taken from the PR.)
If Blade: Trinity teaches us anything, it is that David S. Goyer should not be allowed to direct his own scripts. One has to wonder how the original Blade and its sequel would have turned out without their respective directors on hand to say ‘no, that’s a bad idea’, because given free rein Goyer doesn’t seem to know when enough is enough. Tonally Blade: Trinity is totally incongruous with the previous instalments, at times coming off like a bad parody of those superior films. While both the original Norrington feature and del Toro’s sequel had comedic elements, in what can only be described as a horrible error of judgement significant portions of Trinity are played entirely for laughs. I say laughs, but only the least sophisticated of viewers is going to find any amusement in the line ‘cock-juggling thunder-cunt’. When coupled with this adolescent humour, the marginalisation of Blade and Whistler in favour of the new group of vampire hunters, the Nightstalkers, only serves to further distance the film from what’s come before.
However, perhaps its biggest failing is its inability to live up to its original premise, in which the world has been conquered by vampires and Blade and the Nightstalkers are the only things standing between them and the total domination of mankind. Add to that the terribly ill-conceived idea to whore out a large chunk of screen time to promoting Apple products, the dubious casting choices (which Goyer is only too happy to take credit for), clunky dialogue, uninteresting action sequences and weak antagonist (seriously, Dracula is a pussy), and you have a film that scarcely deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the previous entries in the series.
It’s also worth mentioning that this Blu-ray release only includes the extended edition of the film. The original theatrical cut isn’t even available as a standard-definition extra, which could annoy some fans.
The visual presentation here is a 2.35:1 widescreen (1080/24p AVC) affair that looks just as you’d expect from a relatively modern feature. The image is generally nicely detailed, with some particularly impressive close-ups, and film artefacts do not present a problem. The look of the films tends towards heavily processed, with lots of bleached out daytime exteriors and cool blue interiors, but the palette as a whole is pleasing enough. Blacks are satisfyingly deep - perhaps a little too deep at times – and minimal grain is present throughout. On the negative side, well some of the darker scenes exhibit slight noise and black crush, there’s a smidgen of banding, and it’s possible that some filtering of the image took place due to some slightly waxing looking textures. Even so it’s a solid enough encode that does the material justice.
Blade: Trinity arrives with a solitary DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 track that proves a solid accompaniment to the visuals, but it lacks the raw power of the Blade II track. The frontal array handles most of the dialogue, which is generally clear and distinct, while the surrounds are utilised for atmospheric and spot effects. There’s a lot going on in the mix, with a veritable arsenal to represent - be it Blade’s assorted edged weaponry or the Nightstalkers’ more conventional firearms – but all channels work in tandem to provide an engaging experience. Bass isn’t quite as potent as I would have liked though, with the various explosions lacking the concussive force one would expect. The film’s soundtrack isn’t as strong as the previous instalments either, with some very forgettable source music (courtesy of Abigail Whistler’s iPod), and the orchestral score isn’t particularly memorable either. With that said, it’s not a bad effort even if it does fail to live up to the standards set by the earlier films.
Although not as comprehensive or insightful as its predecessor, the disc includes a decent selection of bonus material. Here’s a breakdown of what’s on offer:
- Commentary: The slightly misleading menu entry hides the fact that there are actually two commentary tracks, one with director David S. Goyer, stars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel, and another with Goyer, producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, production designer Chris Gorak, and editor Howard E. Smith
- Daywalkers, Nightstalkers & Familiars: Inside the World of Blade: Trinity: Along with winning the award for ‘most needlessly long title’, this featurette is a fairly in-depth look at the film’s production
- Visual Effects Progressions:A number of VFX shots are shown at various stages of completion
- Goyer on Goyer: A narcissistic interview in which the director interviews himself - ugh
- Alternate Ending: An unused ending in which the Nightstalkers track down a new type of foe
- Blooper Reel: A ten minute collection of on-set gaffes
- Trailers: The film’s teaser and theatrical trailers
It’s actually a pretty comprehensive selection of extras by today’s Blu-ray standards. It’s true that they’re recycled from the various DVD releases, but at a time when most distributors can’t even be bothered to do that one has to be thankful for their inclusion.
Blade: Trinity is a pale imitation of its superior forerunners and, for my money, best forgotten. It’s plays more like a TV spin-off than a full-fledged theatrical instalment, mainly due to the cheaper look, confused plot and tonal shift (it’s the only film in the series to get a ‘15’ rating in the UK). Technically this is another good release, if not quite up there with Blade II (and, from anecdotal evidence, the original Blade), so I have no reservations about recommending it to the film’s fans. Yes, believe it or not this film has fans, many of whom actually think it’s the best of the bunch. Rumours that they are all blood relatives of David S. Goyer are unsubstantiated at this time…
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 10th September 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 English
Extras: Audio Commentaries, Making of Documentary, Featurettes, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: David S. Goyer
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Parker Posey, Dominic Percell
Length: 122 minutes
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