Blade Trinity (Unrated DVD)

Starring Wesley Snipes, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell

Directed by David Goyer

Released by New Line Home Entertainment

Opinion echoing around this dark hole we call Dread Central is pretty much unanimous concerning Ryan Reynolds’ questionable introduction to the Blade series. His cool guy, smart as a whip antics won us over, and if director David Goyer hadn’t allowed the “young stud” (not my words, that’s the ladies talkin’) to improv as much as he had on the production (as revealed on this disc’s commentary), we might have had yet another lame horror sequel devoid of distinguishable characteristics. That’s not to say Parker Posey doesn’t deliver an amusingly droll vamp persona that’s part Margot Kidder-with-fangs and part drunk college chick (am I the only one turned on by that combo?) or that the “Drake” (just call him Dracula, for chrissakes) story isn’t a suitable way to wrap up Blade’s journey; it’s that Reynolds as Hannibal King does a lot to save the film’s lack of Goyer’s stylistic flair, especially after the blood and steel allure of Norrington’s first film and Del Toro’s gothic ambiance-filled sequel.

An extra helping of Hannibal, a more ambiguous ending and some overall “fleshing out” of characters make up New Line’s Blade Trinity Unrated Edition. An additional ten minutes or so reminds us why “trimming the fat” is good thing in post-production but on the upside we get to see some secondary characters get their comeuppance, like John Michael Higgins’ smarmy Dr. Vance who elaborates more on the scientific bent of vampirism from the outset of the film. Later some more Hannibal jokes are introduced as is a tender moment between Posey’s Danica and Drake. But it’s also during this scene we learn that Drake was present at Jesus’ crucifixion, and I couldn’t help but think about Spike bitching in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer about how every bloodsucker in the world claims to have been present at Christ’s death. (Something to the effect that if every vamp was there, it would’ve been like Woodstock, I think.) There’s really no grand revelations to be gleaned from the unrated edition, although I have to say the alternate ending (the first of two on this disc) brings Blade around to a bleaker turn in his life and is less prone to the promise of another installment.

As they’ve done in the past with the previous Blade films, New Line milks all they can for a DVD package that’s both immensely satisfying and insightful for anyone with delusions that they might enjoy the maddening world of film production. Daywalkers, Nightstalkers & Familiars: Inside the World of Blade Trinity (1h 46m and dedicated to dead rapper Old Dirty Bastard…?) documents the making of the film from Goyer’s motivation to ground this entry in reality to the rigorous stunt and workout regime the actors pushed themselves through to get in enviable shape. (“I’m actually a four year old Asian peasant girl,” says Reynolds of his lean figure.) Sets, costumes, visual effects are all covered and so is a tutorial on digital color correction with director of photography Gabriel Beristain. But what makes my jaw drop is the exclusion of anything from the makeup lab of Mike Elizalde and his boys at Spectral Motion. No lab visit or close-up peeks at the prosthetic work that went into making the Drake creature. After the lengthy Steve Johnson featurette on the Blade II disc, you can say I was a tad spoiled from that experience and wanted to see similar treatment extended to the Spectral Motion gang.

Nevertheless, the FX company is not completely relegated to sit in the corner. Elsewhere on the DVD New Line has included another alternate ending, this one clocking in at 1m 21s and featuring the Nightstalkers taking on a casino-visiting lycanthrope. There’s not nearly enough on display to get a meaty look at the beast, but if you click on over to the Blooper Reel (10m 58s) you’ll find more of the hairy critter doing some gambling. There’s also some great coverage of Jessica Biel firing an arrow directly into the lens of a film camera (we’re assured that insurance covered the damage in the main documentary) and Dominic Purcell failing miserably at soothing a crying baby.

Goyer on Goyer (5m 11s) is a hokey, needless one-on-one with Goyer interviewing himself, touching on various aspects of the flick like its arsenal, fan base and translating the script to the big screen; the Galleries section breaks down the visual effects process; and under Trailers you’ll find both the Blade Trinity teaser and theatrical preview along with trailers for Wedding Crashers, The New World, and King’s Ransom. If you dare probe the Soundtrack Preview, there’s a clip to an animated short found on the CD.

Finally, one of the benefits to having a writer/director on a commentary track is that they know how to keep the flow going and in one of two commentary’s enclosed on disc one, Goyer acts as a great moderator to actors Reynolds and Biels, although it takes the former some warming up before he gets funny. Goyer spends some time talking about the evolution of Trinity and on-set tricks he’d use to get results from his acting troupe. Track two, which I’ve passed on for the moment, features Goyer with a sundry of producers and key crew members. Trinity‘s another knock-out presentation from New Line for the DVD library and be on the lookout for an Easter Egg on the main menu of the second disc!

4 ½ out of 5

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Jon Condit