I liked the first two "Blade" movies quite a bit. They weren't anything more than they were really, but they were strong comic book/action flicks that created a strong universe for the characters and took themselves seriously enough that fans cared about the characters more than they usually do in this kind of picture.
The fact that a third picture was going to be made signaled more of the same, although it was of interest that David Goyer, the screenwriter responsible for the first two films, as well as "Dark City", had signed on to both direct and write the third entry. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, things went off track. This isn't a movie without entertaining moments, but where the first two pictures were fun and involving, this one feels much more like a mere time-waster.
The film starts off with...pretty much the same thing that the rest of the movies have started with, more or less: vampires are trying to take over the world and, this time around, they've brought forth the original Dracula (Dominic Purcell, in a terrible performance that is one of the film's main faults - get a good actor as the villain.) So, Blade returns, although not before being captured by the feds after a set-up by humans working with vampires ("familiars".)
He's rescued by Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), the daughter of Blade's assistant Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), who are both part of a "cell" that hunts down vampires. So, we begin a series of battle scenes, with Blade aided by his two new pals. Biel is a welcome addition, although she doesn't say much (and her character's IPOD plug is irritating). Reynolds, on the other hand, is not such a good fit - I've actually always found the actor's delivery quite funny, but this series really doesn't need a constant supply of one-liners. I didn't mind the actor's presence really (Parker Posey's way over-the-top performance as the lead vamp, however, annoyed), but wondered who thought this series needed an major humor infusion? "Trinity" has much more humor overall than the other two films, and it does drain the tension here.
Goyer also makes some rather unfortunate directorial decisions, as well: we get what seems like 50 slow-mo shots of the main trio. It's supposed to be badass, but here, it somehow just seems silly. There's a few good action moments here (I liked the introduction of Biel's character), but the majority of the film's action sequences are overedited and not choreographed terribly well. The film's use of music is also problematic; while I can understand a loud soundtrack in this kind of fare, the music is simply so loud and wall-to-wall that it becomes invasive and distracting. Finally, this movie seems to push more into the "real world", and I liked it better when Blade's world seemed like the dark, noirish cities in the comic books he came from.
I was hoping "Blade: Trinity" would take the series in new and unexpected directions, given the involvement of the screenwriter of the prior installments. Instead, this is a picture that, despite some basically entertaining stretches, feels thrown together. There's not much thought given to story or characters, and some of the decisions here make me wonder what Goyer was thinking. Given the end of the picture, a fourth movie (or a spin-off, which seems like a possibility given the fact that the two sidekicks are given a lot of screen time) isn't out of the question - if so, lets hope the reigns are handed over to someone else.
The DVD includes both the 113-minute theatrical cut and a 123-minute "unrated" edition (sorry, no Jessica Biel nudity.)
VIDEO: "Blade: Trinity" is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen by New Line. This is a superior transfer that really presents every last detail of the big-budget feature in a stellar manner. Sharpness and detail are fine-tuned, with the image appearing crisp and well-defined throughout. Small object detail is also excellent, for the most part.
The picture's only fault is some minor edge enhancement at times, but it's hardly noticable. No pixelation, shimmering or print flaws were seen. The film's vivid, vibrant color palette is replicated here in superb fashion, as rich tones are brought forth with excellent saturation and no smearing. Flesh tones looked accurate, while black level looked solid.
SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-6.1 ES. I was a little disappointed with this sound mix, especially after the great audio that was offered with the second feature in the series. There are some effects thrown to the rears at times, but the majority of the audio mix seems designed to pump out the movie's soundtrack at very loud volume. The music seems overblown in the mix in an attempt to pump up the energy, but I found it distracting. Audio quality was fine, as, despite the fact that I didn't like it, the music sounded dynamic, while effects and dialogue seemed crisp and clear. Both soundtrack options are perfectly satisfactory, although the DTS seemed a little tighter, more enveloping and crisper.
EXTRAS: Writer/director David Goyer is joined on a commentary by actors Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel. One of the tidbits to be found on the track is that Reynolds isn't playing the characters he plays, he's literally like that - the actor offers up a fairly constant stream of mostly funny wise cracks throughout the track. Biel offers some insights into the production, but mostly talks about how great everything was. Goyer plays interviewer to the actors and chats about some of the obstacles in directing the third movie in the trilogy. Also included is a technical commentary where Goyer is joined by editor Howard Smith, production designer Chris Gorak, cinematographer Gabriel Berstain and producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris.
The main supplement on the second disc is a lengthy, 16-part "making of" documentary called "Inside the World of Blade: Trinity" that, when played altogether, runs over 90 minutes. As with the commentary, I was a little dismayed at how the documentary was weighed down with praise for everyone at times, but there were still stretches of enjoyable moments. The documentary does provide some nice behind-the-scenes footage, and we learn about casting, diet (Reynolds: "I'm eating drywall and woodchips, mostly.")/working out, practicing for the fight sequences, creating the look of the movie, costumes, set design, visual effects, sound design, the future of the series and more. The documentary takes a little while to really get going, but after a while it becomes more informative and engaging.
Finally, we get a documentary that has writer David Goyer interviewing...director David Goyer, an alternate ending that's interesting in theory, but doesn't work terribly well or really fit with the movie; galleries, a blooper reel and trailers for "Blade: Trinity" and other titles from New Line.
Final Thoughts: "Blade: Trinity" functioned as a basically entertaining time-waster, but I expected a lot more. Some of the creative decisions made for this third film are also questionable, as they are sharply different than some of the core elements that made the first two films work. New Line's DVD offers terrific video quality, fine audio and a very good helping of supplements. Rent it.