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Blade 2: Bloodhunt

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Blade 2: Bloodhunt
from Film Forum, 03/28/02

There's another inhuman savior on screens this week, but this one saves with a bloody sword. Blade 2, directed by Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone) pits the half-man, half-vampire hero (Wesley Snipes) against a new enemy: mutant vampires called the Reapers.

In the original, Blade's vampire qualities were held at bay with the help of his guide Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), and together they worked to resist that wholly vampiric Nosferatus. The Reapers are worse, feeding on both humans and vampires and threatening both with extinction. Thus Blade has to join forces with his old enemies to stand a chance. Roger Ebert describes the scene: "This news is conveyed by a vampire leader whose brain can be dimly seen through a light blue translucent plastic shell, more evidence of the design influence of the original iMac." Chaotic, stylish, indulgent violence follows, choreographed like ballet, delighting action fans and troubling those who are worried about the excess of bloodshed on today's movie screens.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' critic reports, "del Toro's tedious bloodfest follows a ridiculous story line where pretentious characters engage in brutal acts while spluttering absurd dialogue."

J. Robert Parks (The Phantom Tollbooth) argues that it delivers the goods to its intended audience: "By reducing the dialogue to a minimum, the film buys into the video game aesthetic. Viewers of that genre don't want to be bothered with worthless exposition. The plot doesn't make any sense, so why bother explaining it? Many critics have decried the influence of video games on contemporary cinema, and I, too, am uncomfortable with that direction. But there's something refreshing about a movie that knows its target audience and gives them exactly what they want—video-game mayhem."

Don Patton, Lisa Rice, and Tom Snyder (Movieguide) unite to disapprove of the movie: "Despite its captivating excitement, good story, excellent special effects, and astounding martial arts sequences, Blade 2 has off-the-charts levels of violence and foul language. The graphic levels of gore give [it] an extremely high wince factor. Thus, the deeper truths and spiritual values portrayed are not worth the dark, occult, evil, obscene vehicles by which they are delivered."

Paul Bicking (Preview) writes, "Blade 2 creates a poster child for exploitation of violence as entertainment from the opening scene … in keeping with the vampire theme, blood flows freely. Special effects take gruesomeness to new depths. Mixed into this gorefest are almost forty obscenities and a few strong profanities."

Many mainstream critics praised the film's top-notch technical accomplishments, but David Hunter (Hollywood Reporter) goes further: "For all the admiration one can have for the superior level of filmmaking and clarity of vision, Blade II is an abominably imaginative celebration of violence that revels in guns and all the current gadgetry for hunting and killing. Sickening and utterly pointless, when it's not just outrageously tweaked for shock value, the film is soulless and caters to the darkest of human instincts."