Blade 2 – Marvel Superhero week

This is Marvel Superhero week. Blade 2 is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Blade 2(2002) – Rated R for Strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content.

Blade (Wesley Snipes) is a half-vampire sworn to eradicating the bloodsuckers who lurk in the shadows. But when a breed of “reapers” is unleashed, the Vampire Nation asks for his help in preventing a nightmare plague that would wipe out both humans and vampires. Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hell Boy, Pans Labyrinth), this Blade sequel mixes high-tech action with crimson terror. Kris Kristofferson and Ron Perlman co-star.

“Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer.”

Well way back when I was a wee lad, my favorite comic book series was The Tomb of Dracula. I loved the portrayal of Dracula as an evil mastermind and all of the people hunting him were fascinating as well. One of those was Blade, the Vampire Slayer.

Wesley Snipes returns as Blade and Kris Kristofferson returns as his accomplice/handyman Whistler (despite having died in the first film). As he was in the first film, Snipes is a complete bada$$, dusting vampires by the score. Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints) plays the new addition to the “good guys”. You have to love a character that has Krispy Kreme doughnuts shipped to a stakeout.

This is definitely the way to make a sequel. Since Blade took out a vampire “god” in the last film, the vampires have formed a Special Forces team called the Blood Pack to take him down. Now in a by-the-numbers sequel that would be our movie. Instead we have a much larger threat that forces them to team up with Blade.

The Blood Pack is well cast and all the members have colorful personalities. Tough guy and Guillermo del Toro favorite Ron Perlman has a lot of fun as Reinhardt. Leonor Varela plays Nyssa, a possible love interest. Other members of the Blood Pack include Danny John-Jules (Cat in the Red Dwarf TV show) as Asad and Asian superstar Donnie Yen as Snowman. Donnie Yen also handled the impressive fight choreography.

Blade II is written very intelligently by David S. Goyer and yet oddly Goyer would go on to write the terrible third film Blade Trinity. The difference here is that the mighty Guillermo del Toro directs Blade II and naturally it is quite stylish.

The acting is good, the action is fast and fresh, the visuals are well-done, and the script is engaging and has a few good twists to it – basically there is not much not to like in this film. That and these vampires do not sparkle in sunlight.

Red Dwarf – Seeing Red week

This is Seeing Red week. Red Dwarf is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Red Dwarf (1988) – NR – Not rated.

“This notoriously irreverent sci-fi series that first appeared in the 1980s on British television gleefully mixes jokes about excessive curry consumption with affectionate parodies of classic sci-fi. It is a weird and wonderful mélange of Neil Simons “The Odd Couple,” John Carpenters Dark Star and A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”

“Where is everybody Hol?” – “They are dead Dave” – “Who is?” – “Everybody Dave” – “What, Captain Hollister?” – “Everybody is dead Dave” – “What, Tod Hunter?” – “Everybody is dead Dave” – “What, Selby?” – “They are all dead. Everybody is dead Dave” – “Peterson isnt is he?” – “Everybody is dead Dave” – I think you get the idea.

What other sitcom begins by killing off all of the cast save one? The cast is absolutely perfect.

Craig Charles plays Lister, the only survivor of the human race. He is a complete and utterly disgusting slob. All he wants to do is retire to Fiji and raise horses.

Chris Barrie is a complete by-the-rules pompous git named Rimmer who dies and is brought back as a hologram. Chris originally auditioned for the role of Lister but is amazing as Rimmer.

Danny John-Jules is a humanoid lifeform descended from a pet cat. Cat is absolutely wonderfully self-centered (as any cat owner knows), very charismatic, and a snappy dresser.

Norman Lovett plays Holly, the ship computer, for the first two seasons and is later replaced by Hattie Hayridge. The part of Holly is later eliminated as the creators realized that Kryten provided all the exposition needed.

Robert LLewellyn plays Kryten, the ultimate service robot starting in the second season. He also played Kryten in an unaired pilot for an American version of the show.

The show is absolutely hilarious for several seasons. The budget is small though Netflix appears to be broadcasting the version where special effects were added later (after the VHS releases made them a bunch of money).

Unfortunately creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor eventually had a huge falling out and Rob Grant left the show. New writers were hired for seasons 7 and 8 and it REALLY shows. Seasons 7 and 8 are absolutely terrible.

Red Dwarf is definitely a show that went on too long. It probably should have ended after 4 or 5 seasons. All 8 seasons are available on instant play so keep going until you do not enjoy it anymore.

The cast was recently reunited for a reunion type show. Red Dwarf: Back to Earth is available through Netflix on DVD. Word is that it is not very good either.

I highly recommend the first several seasons especially those who really enjoyed the BBC production of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which is also available on instant Netflix).

People Watch: More of a what movies have I seen them in this time.

Danny John-Jules appeared as Asad in Blade II and Barfly Jack in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Chris Barrie was Hillary in both of the Tomb Raider movies.

Craig Charles has not really been in movies but has done 400 episodes of Coronation Street.

Robert LLewellyn played Gryphon in the Dave McKean/Neil Gaiman adaptation MirrorMask.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – The Expendables week

In tribute to the cast Sylvester Stallone has lined up for his upcoming movie, this is The Expendables week. Today our expendable is Jason Statham. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language (the F bomb is dropped 125 times), sexuality and drug content.

“I have just spent 120 quid on me hair. If you think I am putting a stocking over me head you are very much mistaken.”

“Looking to make a bundle in a high-stakes poker game, a quartet of shiftless lads from East End of London instead finds themselves up to their eyeballs in debt to underworld porn king “Hatchet” Harry when the game turns out to be rigged. With only a week to repay Harry, the frantic foursome hits upon the notion of robbing a gang of reefer thieves. Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng and Jason Statham star in director Guy Ritchies stylish big-screen debut.”

Guy Ritchie knocks it out of the park in his feature film debut as writer and director.

As the writer, Ritchie not only tells a great story (actually several stories) of the criminal underground with a large cast of colorful characters but everything fits perfectly together by the end of the film.

As the director, Ritchie gets fabulous performances from all of the actors. Finally as the casting director, Ritchie picked the perfect cast.

Our young protagonists (one cannot really call them heroes) are Tom (Jason Flemyng – last seen as Calibos in Clash of the Titans), Bacon (Jason “Transporter” Statham in his first film), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and Eddy (Nick Moran).

While all of them do a great job, the best characters are the ones on the periphery. Lenny McLean is known as Barry the Baptist because he holds his victims under the water. Sadly Lenny passed away from cancer before the film premiered. P.H. Moriarty plays Hatchet Harry whose method of punishing one transgressor had me in stitches.

A revelation are the father and son enforcer team of Big Chris (Vinnie “Juggernaut” Jones in his film debut) and Little Chris (Peter McNicholl). They make collecting debts seem fun. If you think that Vinnie looks like a real tough guy, be aware that his first day of filming occurred right after he had been released from jail for beating up his neighbor.

Musician extraordinaire Sting shows up briefly as JD. Trudie Styler was an investor in the film and is the wife of Sting.

The music near the climax as the threads start coming together is simply brilliant.

This is a great and tricky caper film. I heartily recommend it with one drawback. The accents are thick and there is a lot of slang used in the film so you will need to pay attention.

There is one scene where the slang is laid on so thick that Ritchie puts subtitles on. This scene is not only hilarious but also explains a head-scratching moment that occurs earlier in the film.

Ritchie went on to make Snatch (excellent) and married Madonna. He then put her in Swept Away which was awful. Most recently he directed the blockbuster Sherlock Holmes and has been tapped to make the sequel as well as a remake of Excalibur.

Sadly this is the only Jason Statham film currently available on instant Netflix.

People Watch: Danny John-Jules plays Barfly Jack here but is more widely known as Cat on the BBC series Red Dwarf (also available on instant Netflix)