Just when the holiday season looked to be comfortably family-friendly, along comes vampire hunter Blade to liven things up.
In Blade: Trinity, the determined vampire slayer Blade (Wesley Snipes) is pitted against Dracula, the master vampire of all time.
Dracula, who in his latest incarnation calls himself Drake (Dominic Purcell), has been sleeping for centuries, so he's hungry for blood and battle.
While he slept, Drake's minions have been multiplying and like the aliens in The X-Files, have been recruiting high-level humans as their slaves.
Blade and his trusty partner, Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), have been battling the ever-growing vampire and slave armies, but with the resurrection of Drake, it looks like the vampires have a decided advantage.
Fear not, help is on the way.
Whistler's daughter Abigail (Jessica Biel) and her own partner, Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), have been building an underground network and developing new weapons.
So high-tech are the new breed of vampires and their slayers that Blade: Trinity begins to look a lot like The Matrix -- only with considerably more humour.
Snipes and Kristofferson still plod through this third Blade movie as if they were doing Shakespeare or classical Greek theatre instead of schlock horror.
It's up to their co-stars to lighten things up. Reynolds is particularly hilarious as the new sidekick who thinks Blade is taking everything a little too seriously, even if the vampires are trying to turn humankind into their personal blood banks.
As Danica Talos, Hannibal's former vampire lover and the current queen of evil, Parker Posey positively oozes evil, but in such a campy fashion, you know she's playing it all for laughs.
Her head henchman, Jarko, is played by Paul Michael Levesque, better known as wrestler Triple H. Levesque is funny not only because he is such a hulking presence, but because he has a pet vampire pomeranian.
Purcell may simple be obeying the script, but he ends up making Drake look like the creature stepped off a fashion runway and not out of the bowels of hell.
Biel doesn't initially look as if she could take on the undead bullies, but once she starts flailing her arms and legs, she's as good as other recent waif-thin action heroines.
David S. Goyer, who wrote all three Blade movies, as well as The Crow: City of Angels and Dark City, makes his directing debut with Blade: Trinity.
He keeps the action moving at an intense pace, making certain that his feuding armies level buildings and vehicles, as well as each other.
The martial arts battles become monotonous because they're essentially a repetition of the same basic moves.
Though Blade: Trinity bills itself as "the final hunt," it clearly sets itself up for more sequels.
It's unthinkable they should continue without Reynolds, who is exactly the kind of new blood this franchise needs.
(This film is rated 18-A)
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