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New Line Home Cinema presents
Blade: Trinity (2004)

"So, can we sign you up for one of our Nightstalkers secret decoder rings?"
- Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: April 27, 2005

Stars: Wesley Snipes
Other Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell, Triple H
Director: David S. Goyer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong pervasive violence and language, some sexual content)
Run Time: 02h:03m:10s
Release Date: April 26, 2005
UPC: 794043781926
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ CA+A+ A

DVD Review

The first two Blade movies were huge box-office successes as well as generally loved by critics, who normally frown at vampiric action movies. The series also single-handedly revived the flatlining career of Wesley Snipes (Jungle Fever), making him a valuable commodity to Hollywood producers.

When Blade: Trinity was released at the end of 2004, it came on the scene without the hype and fanfare that surrounded the first two films' releases. This apparent lack of attention on New Line's part was at least somewhat responsible for the poor take at the box office for this third (and supposedly final) entry in the series. Critics blasted this one as well, citing a lack of story focus and the lack of charm that the new main characters, the Nightstalkers (Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds) brought to the table.

Wesley Snipes wasn't happy with the film either, which he's made perfectly clear with his comments made near the release of the film in theaters, and his recent filing of a lawsuit against New Line. Snipes is extremely upset with New Line over their choice of director and the one to push the Blade character to an almost supporting role to give the limelight, and maybe even the baton for future installments of the series, to the Nightstalker characters. Time will tell whether Snipes will get the $5 million he's asking for, but it's hard to argue his points, especially when the director of Blade II was "it" sci-fi director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy).

Blade: Trinity begins with a group of vampires traveling to the Syrian Desert to resurrect the "original" vampire, Dracula. This same group proceeds to eliminate Blade from the picture as well, framing him for the murder of a human, which lands him in jail. After being interrogated by the police, who we soon learn are in cahoots with the vampires, Blade manages to escape, thanks to the renegade group of vampire hunters called the Nightstalkers.

Co-led by Whistler's (Kris Kristofferson) daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), the Nightstalkers flash their cool weapons and fighting techniques to get Blade out of jail and on their side. After a series of battles with various vampires, the Blade/Nightstalkers team soon finds themselves face-to-face with Dracula himself for the ultimate showdown.

The critics were definitely right about Blade: Trinity. While better than most of the action/sci-fi fluff that pollutes theaters these days, this third entry in a surprisingly good series is easily the worst of the bunch.

The main culprit is writer/director David S. Goyer, whose screenplay is a muddled mess. The scary thing is that Goyer wrote the first two films, which were confusing at times, but had enough of a purpose and direction to make them interesting.

The series' first two films were also aided by directors Stephen Norrington and Guillermo Del Toro, who had clear, distinct visions. Goyer seems to have taken the easy way out, using substance over style, which, under normal circumstances, would have been a welcome choice. However, when the "substance" he's working with is his own troubled script, there's really no way he could have pulled it off.

Blade does, in fact, come across as an almost secondary character, and Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, just don't have enough presence to carry the film on their own. Indie darling Parker Posey steals every scene she's in, hamming it up as the leader of the vampires who resurrect Dracula. Kris Kristofferson is barely around, and the rest of the cast is there just to be destroyed by Blade and the Nightstalkers.

Of course, things are left open for a sequel, presumedly focusing on the Nightstalkers, but not ruling out the participation of Blade. However, if Wesley Snipes is as upset as his lawsuit basically says he is, the Blade character will either fade into oblivion off-screen, or, even worse, be played by another actor.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Wow, it doesn't get much better than this visually on DVD! The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation brilliantly captures each and every detail of the way the film looked during its recent theatrical release and flawlessly transfers each and every nuance of that. Each and every shot features crystal clear images, extremely well-defined thanks to a great deal of sharpness and overall clarity. The wide variety of colors come across splendidly, with shadow levels and contrast holding up especially well, which is very impressive for a film that takes place mostly at night and in dark places. I challenge you to find even a speck of dirt or bit of grain, as there's not one print flaw here.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio rocks too, with both Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS ES mixes on board. The Dolby Digital track actually gets the slight nod, thanks to its larger bass presence and overall "oomph." The DTS track does provide a slightly more enveloping experience, which is apparent when Dracula rises during the film's opening sequence. There's no problem with dialogue clarity on either track, and the added bass presence in the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix even gives the actors' speech a bit of a lift from time to time as well. Still, both tracks are two of the best to grace a DVD so far this year, so you can't go wrong picking either one.

Audio Transfer Grade: A+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Wedding Crashers, The New World, King's Ransom, >a href="showreview.php3?ID=6791">Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition, Constantine
1 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Alternate Endings
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Writer/Director David S. Goyer, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel2. Writer/Director David S. Goyer, editor Howard Smith, production designer Chris Gorak, cinematographer Gabriel Berstain, producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris.
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Galleries: An in-depth look at Visual Effects Progressions and Weapons
  2. Blooper Reel: Collection of outtakes from Blade: Trinity
Extras Review: This is a whopper of an extras collection, beginning on Disc 1 with two audio commentaries. The first features writer/director David S. Goyer and the two leaders of the Nightstalkers themselves, Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel (no surprise Wesley Snipes isn't here, huh?). Goyer's role in this track is to basically interview Reynolds and Biel, which often results in some very funny, even insightful discussion. Reynolds comes across as wacky and semi-witty as he does in front of the camera, and Biel seems very intelligent and in tune with what her character was all about.

The second track is also with Goyer, but this time a bunch of his crew is along for the ride. This is a far less entertaining piece, as this rather large group mainly talks technical issues in regards to the production of Blade: Trinity.

Disc 2 houses the rest of the extras, highlighted by a documentary that runs over 105 minutes entitled Inside the World of Blade: Trinity. This is an extremely detailed look at the making of the feature, from the creation of the story to the completion of the film's shoot, looking at aspects like casting, set and costume design, and the combat training that the cast had to go through. Interviews with all of the principal actors and crew members are included, along with some candid, on-set footage.

Goyer on Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director is a brief five-minute piece where writer/director David S. Goyer interviews himself, wearing each of his production hats in asking and answering a few questions.

There is a pair of Galleries, with the Weapons gallery being a text- and still photo-based look at the weaponry used in the film. The Visual Effects Progressions gallery is a trio of tests showing how certain complex visual effects came about.

Rounding out the extras is an Alternate Ending, featuring a brief "further adventure" of the Nightstalkers, a relatively funny, almost 11-minute Blooper Reel, and Trailers for Trinity, that film's Soundtrack, and other films from New Line.

There's an easter egg as well on this disc, which you can find by pressing the "Up" arrow on your remote right after the menu loads and the first extra is highlighted. After pressing "Up," press "Enter" and you will be treated to an outtake with Wesley Snipes filming a scene where he is hanging upside down.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

If Blade: Trinity is truly the final entry in the hit franchise, it will be a sorry way for Wesley Snipes and company to go out. Fortunately, this two-disc DVD set isn't as disappointing as the film that is on it, as New Line Home Video has loaded it with valuable extras and the best audio and video to grace a DVD so far this year. It's also nice to have both the unrated and R-rated versions of the film in this set, with the unrated version restoring 10 minutes of footage that was cut for theaters.

 


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