Blade: Trinity, the Ugly Duckling of the Franchise

Blade: Trinity, the Ugly Duckling of the Franchise
Photo by GR Stocks

Why is it that so many franchises have trouble counting to three? We see time and time again studios producing excellent introductions, followed by a breathtaking sequel, only to be a letdown for the third installment. Sam Rami’s Spiderman 1 and 2 were great; the 3rd sucked. Terminator 1 was good, Terminator 2 was awesome, and the 3rd sucked.

It’s a really strange trend, too, because the trope is often that sequels suck. Maybe it has less to do with the number next to the title but more so the fact that Hollywood will pump out sequel after sequel until every good idea in the franchise has been squeezed out, and any heart and soul the IP once had is lost to corporate greed.

Unlike my FairGo casino login, which shall never need a sequel… because the original is just sooo good! Whatever the case may be, Blade 1 was good, Blade 2 was excellent, and Blade: Trinity has to come along a be the ugly duckling.

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Premise

Meanwhile, in Syria, a team of Vampires uncovers an ancient tomb that contains Dracula: King of Vampires. When Dracula demands to know why they disturbed his slumber (after agreeing to be hauled back to the USA first), they tell him that they need help to kill a certain Vampire killin’ badass who just won’t quit.

We return to Blade, still going around the world (read: east coast USA), hunting Vampires wherever he finds them. However, an assault on a Vampire base goes wrong when Blade kills a Vampire familiar- a human who serves the Vampires in hopes of being turned by them.

The problem is that this leaves a body to be found by the FBI, who have apparently been tracking Blade for a while now. Now they have evidence, caught on camera, in a Vampire setup that sets the human world chasing after him.

When apprehended, Blade is rescued by a team of Vampire hunters who fill him in on the fact that Dracula has returned… and that he’s coming after Blade. Also, he goes by the name “Drake”.

Special Effects

I have made it a point to immediately talk about the special effects in each of the Blade movies in my reviews because it fascinates me to see how it evolved over time. The first movie relied mostly on practical effects but then used CGI for otherwise impossible shots to pull off.

The sequel used CGI to both make the mutant Vampires creepier and pull off choreography that would have been nearly impossible to reproduce in live action. Blade Trinity, on the other hand, uses CGI far more extensively and uses almost zero prosthetics at all. I think this is a perfect example of the studio just cash-grabbing as much it can off the franchise.

It doesn’t matter how good it looks, just that it’s produced in the easiest and cheapest way possible. Never mind that the last movie was nightmare-inducing with its monsters, especially once the CGI was involved. Speaking of which…

The Tone

What differentiates Blade 1 and 2 from Trinity is how tonally different they are. The first movie is very much an action movie, mixed with some horror elements. The sequel was more action-horror, and genuinely terrifying in certain scenes (like the difference between Alien and Aliens). Blade: Trinity, on the other hand, is a light-hearted action comedy. How on Earth does THAT happen, you may ask? Well, for starters, Ryan Reynolds is a lead actor, so…

The Characters

Despite being titled after him, Blade himself almost feels like a side character in his own movie. A lot of the focus is put on the two new Vampire Hunters, the girl one and the one played by Ryan Reynolds… which is exactly how the studio, presumably, pitched them.

Unlike Dr. Karen Jenson from the first movie, the girl-hunter is a generic action heroine who just runs around as Blade’s sidekick, taking care of minions and plot threads that the script doesn’t feel like letting Blade deal with. Ryan Reynolds, meanwhile, is playing Ryan Reynolds, because that’s the only character Ryan Reynolds knows how to play.

If you like Ryan Reynolds, great! If not, then Blade: Trinity is going to grate on you because this movie loves Ryan Reynolds. This must have been produced when he was first becoming popular, although I’m not even sure what else he was in at the time.

Now let’s talk about Dracula. The King of Vampires. The demon that plagued humanity for hundreds of years until one day… he vanished.

But forget about that. His name is Drake, he looks like Flash from Spiderman 1, and he totally sucks. I’m not kidding. He’s easily the most disappointing villain in the franchise, including geriatric Voldemort from the previous movie.

He’s got a cool range of powers but barely uses them during his fights. The first time he fights Blade, he spends the entire encounter running away. Then he has the audacity to talk about humanity being “honorless”… while holding a BABY as a hostage! He also knows perfect American English despite having been locked in a Syrian tomb for centuries. Just… everything about this incarnation of Dracula just further annoys me the more I think about him.

The Plot

Honestly, I don’t really have much I want to say here. The movie hinges on acquiring a super serum made from Dracula’s blood that can kill all Vampires, which is… bleh. There is also an entire subplot about Ryan Reynolds’ abusive relationship with his ex-Vampress mistress, which might have been more compelling if Blade had anything equally as interesting going on.

The whole FBI thing is kind of forgotten about until the last five minutes of the movie. Overall, my impression of this movie is that it’s a Marvel movie that would slot perfectly into the MCU. Quips, lame villains, and mediocre plot threads galore.

Ultimately, Blade: Trinity is the kind of movie worth watching if you only want to complete the trilogy. There’s nothing here that’s particularly good, but nothing here that horrendously awful either. While I don’t like how they underuse Blade and Dracula, there’s nothing in here that ruins the former character, either. Oof, put THAT on the cover, Marvel.

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