Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
Socially, it sucked to be half-human, half-vampire. But Blade avoided depression thanks to his vampire-killing semi-automatic. And he sure as hell didn’t sparkle, unless his sword reflected light while decapitating a “suckhead.”
Twilight popularly defined vampire cinema in The Zeroes. But Team Blade could execute every last sullen Cullen. 2002’s Vlad-to-the-bone Blade II was to Blade as Aliens was to Alien — a raucous, breathless, armament-heavy action-film multiplier of the original’s muscle. (Forget 2004’s limp No. 3.)
Teaming with vampires he loathes to battle Reapers —genetically mutated bloodsuckers targeting vampires and humans — Blade blazes forth in a second act showcasing a vice-grip tension of guns blazing and hell-raising.
Like Aliens, the directorial task fell to a different filmmaker — Guillermo del Toro, for whom this served as introduction to the majority of American audiences. As is his wont, del Toro used Blade II to explore an alternate career — historian in The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth or anthropologist in the Hellboy films.
Here, he summoned his inner coroner and biologist — cracking the Reapers’ chest cavities for a look at how they breathed, infected and fed. It’s crucial — viewing their decrepit composition accelerates the fearfulness.
Blade II went toothless in a few spots — a showdown between Blade and Ron Perlman’s vampire henchman Reinhardt felt especially anticlimactic. But it blasted badass bits of blaxploitation-sounding music with a trilled-and-plunged trumpet. And when Blade turned full vampire in the end — suplexing and flying-elbow-dropping people like a crazy Mexican luchador — well, ’twas pure fanboy nirvana.