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.

Flash Point – Geometry week

Okay finally back to some instant Netflix movies. This is Geometry week. We will start with the lowly Point. Flash Point is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Flash Point (2007) – Rated R for strong bloody violence and brutal martial arts action.

“Action masters Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen deliver nonstop martial arts thrills in this tale of triad gang warfare in pre-handover Hong Kong. Reckless Detective Ma (Yen) threatens the careful work of his partner, Wilson (Louis Koo), who has finally infiltrated a notorious triad gang. As the operation begins to collapse, Ma enters the fray to go one-on-one against the triad leader (Collin Chou) before he takes over the streets.”

“Your wife took your son to school so early. It would be a pity if he is dead.”

The fractured English, quick speed of the subtitles and the slightly cut-off subtitles make this a bit more than problematic. The subtitles are understandable but a lot of attention has to be devoted to them.

It starts with a couple of good fight scenes then there is this draggy part in the middle called a plot, some killings, more plot then it ends with a few more fight scenes.

Donnie Yen is good as Ma, the cop who cannot follow the rules. For those unfamiliar with Asian cinema, Donnie Yen was Snowman in Blade II. He is quite an accomplished martial artist and has a chance to show it several times in the movie.

Louis Koo plays the undercover cop Wilson. He is good as well but is clearly overshadowed by Yen. The rest of the actors playing cops are just fine but unremarkable.

Part of my problem with this movie is that I enjoyed it immensely 18 years ago when it was called “Hard Boiled” and starred Yun-Fat Chow as the cop who cannot follow the rules and Tony Leung as the undercover cop. Flash Point does not come close to touching Hard Boiled.

Wilson Yip is the director and has quickly become one of the go-to guys for Asian action cinema. His direction here is good but overall I prefer Johnnie To as the new Asian action king.

If you are a fan of Asian action cinema then by all means check this out. The movie is not bad and there are several good fights, a good shootout, and a few good chases.

If you are not specifically a fan of Asian action cinema then this movie is enough of a mixed bag that it rates a pass.

Kudos to the makers of the film for showing some “making of” shots over the end credits.

People Watch: Collin Chou, who plays the villain Tony here, is more familiar to American audiences as Seraph from the Matrix series.