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Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

"Blade:Trinity" is too much fang for the buck

Special to The Seattle Times

Opens today

**
"Blade: Trinity,"
with Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey. Written and directed by David S. Goyer. 114 minutes. Rated R for strong pervasive violence and language, and some sexual content. Several theaters.

Given that this is the third film in the series, I thought they'd be running out of ideas by now, but that isn't the problem with "Blade: Trinity." Just the opposite. There's too many vampire plots and subplots here, and each is given short shrift.

Put it this way: If you're going to resurrect Dracula, give him some room.

For those who haven't seen the first two movies or read the Marvel comic book, Blade (Wesley Snipes) is a Daywalker: a half-human, half-vampire, who has all the strengths (recuperative powers, pointy teeth) and none of the weaknesses (garlic, sunlight) of a vampire.

Vampires, of course, want to rule the world (who doesn't?), but Blade's been protecting humans for years with his martial-arts moves and high-tech weaponry, which shatter fleeing vampires into dust. In the beginning of the film, he's killing them with such dispatch I began to root for the vampires.

Turns out it was just a trap set by vampire-CEO Danica Talos (Parker Posey, vamping oddly). She videotapes Blade killing a traitorous human, a "smear campaign" is launched against him, and the FBI hunts him down.

At the same time, she resurrects the original patriarch, Dracula (an uninspiring Dominic Purcell), to battle Blade. Since Blade is already in custody, and drugged, and surrounded by agents who are controlled by Talos, one wonders what the point is.

But then Blade breaks free — ah, there's the point! — and the FBI is forgotten. Now it's all set up for the final Dracula vs. Blade showdown. Oh, except for the subplot involving blood farms of humans — which should remind moviegoers of "Coma" or "Aliens" for the few minutes it's on screen. Then it, too, is forgotten.

All three "Blade" films have been written by David S. Goyer, but "Trinity" is the first he's directed. It's certainly better than the second, and the script is often tongue-in-cheek funny. Since Blade is the silent, glowering hero-type, most of the best lines go to former vampire victim Hannibal King (a pumped-up Ryan Reynolds), who, along with ass-kicking hottie Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), leads a young band of humans fighting the vampires.

But haven't we seen it all before? Blade jumps and lands in a three-point crouch. Whistler's daughter adopts a martial-arts pose and then waggles her fingers in a "come and get me" motion. A trio of heroes walk toward the camera in slow motion.

Our obsession with style over substance is becoming pathological. When are we going to get sick of this stuff?

Erik Lundegaard: elundegaard@comcast.net

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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