Blade: Trinity
dir. Goyer
Now Playing
Various Theaters

It's a position I've often been mocked for, but I'll stand by it until the day I die: Blade II kicks ass. Benefiting from low expectations due to its mediocre predecessor, Guillermo del Toro's 2002 sequel was an adrenaline rush of hyper-stylized action. Wesley Snipes kicking ass as the stoic, titular vampire hunter wasn't brilliant cinema, but did it make for an awesome action movie? Fuck yeah!

But when del Toro jumped ship to helm last spring's Hellboy, Blade writer David Goyer took over directing duties for Blade: Trinity. And as it begins, this installment doesn't go well. The film unceremoniously kills off Blade's badass father figure, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) in the first 30 seconds, paving the way for vampire Danica (a clearly drugged-out Parker Posey) and her henchman, Jarko (the possibly retarded pro wrestler Triple H) to resurrect Dracula (Dominic Purcell). There's fighting. Aaand... that's about it.

But Blade's got some new allies, too. In a move that smacks of studio marketing, two younger, hipper sidekicks join Blade about a half-hour into this mess: Whistler's daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel), and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), who used to be a vampire, but now gets off by taking them out.

But this marketing idea heralds a fairly shocking development: Ryan Reynolds pretty much saves the whole movie. It's truly bizarre to watch Snipes' Blade just standing there, futilely glaring, as the razor-sharp, wisecracking, ass-kicking Reynolds proves to be the real star of the film--and a wholly fresh, unexpected kind of action hero to boot. (As for Biel, her role doesn't require her to do anything other than look super hot and occasionally kick some vampire ass. She's good at both.)

Trinity's a mixed bag, combining the worst of the first Blade (asinine plot, lame villains) with the best of the second (slick visuals, funny one-liners, and action sequences that are basically violent music videos). If those simple pleasures ain't your bag, then don't even bother going--but if they are, Blade: Trinity proves appropriately capable of kicking some ass.