Those who question the time put in to picking nits with a film starring Wesley Snipes as a vampire killer who, coincidentally, is half-vampire, never watched the previous Blade films.

People who enjoy a bit of old-fashioned bone crushing and head busting in their films know exactly why the first two films were modern action classics, each with its own style.

Blade: Trinity has its own style, too — it’s like too many other pedestrian action flicks. The surprise is that Blade: Trinity is the spotlight shot for David S. Goyer, writer of all three “Blade” films who here got the opportunity to sit in the director’s chair.

Trinity has all too many wasted opportunities that Goyer might have nurtured and turned into memorable character moments or lusciously nasty bits in the previous films. Maybe he was too focused (worried?) about delivering as a director on a big-budget project. Though the film has trademark touches of weird humor (a vampire Pomeranian), it takes itself all too seriously.

While Goyer has a weaker handle on the movie’s plot, he clearly understands the psyche of his central figure. Snipes again speaks volumes with his dialogue that allows him to find comedy within crankiness, and his character’s warrior code is on fine display, namely in a scene where he advises a saddened, angered ally to “use it.”

That cohort is Abigail (Jessica Biel), one of seven newbies Blade is forced to align himself with in his unending quest.

The United Nations may never have found a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, but a group of glam-goth vampires (led unconvincingly by Parker Posey) do in the film’s opening. They unearth Dracula, in hopes that genetically manipulating his pure blood will allow them to live in daylight.

As a hybrid, Blade has that power, and Posey’s group sets him up for the murder of a human. The subsequent FBI raid on Blade’s hideout claims the life of his long-time right-hand man, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson, clearly having none of the fun he had in the first two films).

Blade’s inevitable rescue comes from Abigail, Whistler’s estranged daughter, and wisecracking Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds, who has buffed up more than his comic tongue here). They lead the Nightstalkers, an underground team of high-tech vampire slayers who have stumbled on to the vampires’ plot and need Dracula’s blood themselves for a biological weapon to destroy all vampires.

New, unproven sidekicks and the biggest villain vamp of all as an enemy to the unstoppable Blade should make for the Citizen Kane of vampire movies. Key word: should.

The Nightstalkers are largely wasted (one, a blind tech geek, is reduced to helpless status), and even Hannibal and Abigail lack big-ticket heroism to prove wrong Blade’s skepticism.

Biel is handy with kung-fu and weapons, but her character’s iPod gets more screen time than her own internal struggle with the life she’s chosen for herself. Reynolds fares much better, connecting with alternately foul-mouthed and unassuming jokes and with a creative back-story that almost goes somewhere. One hopes this now-presumably-dead franchise gives way to more of him.

And Goyer has little fun with Dracula. His ability to morph into humans should be easily spotted by the fact that person is always wearing a Euro-trash, open-collared white oxford. And the end battle with Blade is an exceptionally weak attempt to mimic the wow kung-fu factor of Blade II.

Coupled with an ending that is, at its kindest description, anti-climactic, Blade: Trinity is far from unholy. But it’s clear that the fresh blood that kept this franchise alive has been drained.