Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David S. Goyer|
|Written by||David S. Goyer|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$128.9 million|
Blade: Trinity is a 2004 American superhero film written, produced and directed by David S. Goyer, who also wrote the screenplays to Blade and Blade II. It stars Wesley Snipes, who also produced, in the title role, as Marvel Comics character Blade, with a supporting cast of Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Dominic Purcell, Parker Posey and Triple H.
It is the third and final film in the Blade film series. The film grossed $128 million at the box office worldwide on a budget of $65 million and received mostly unfavorable reviews from critics for the its formulaic themes; it is the worst-reviewed film in the trilogy.
The film was followed by 2006's Blade: The Series, and also marks Reynolds' first superhero role, as well as his first collaboration with Marvel Entertainment. Marvel regained the film rights to the character in 2011. This was Wesley Snipes' last theatrically released film until 2009's Brooklyn's Finest.
A small group of vampires investigate an ancient tomb in the Syrian Desert, which they believe belongs to Dracula, the first vampire. To keep Blade from interfering, they frame him for the murder of a human familiar. FBI agents subsequently locate Blade's hideout and kill his mentor and friend, Abraham Whistler. Demoralized, Blade surrenders and is arrested.
The vampires' familiars have arranged for the authorities to turn Blade over to them. He is rescued by Hannibal King and Abigail Whistler, Abraham's daughter, who invite Blade to join their band of vampire hunters, the Nightstalkers. From them, Blade learns that Danica Talos, an old enemy of King's, has revived Dracula, or "Drake", with the goal of using his powers to cure vampires of their weaknesses. As the first of the vampires, Drake's DNA is untainted and he is able to survive in sunlight. Along with newly-innovative ultraviolet "Sun dog" ammunition, the Nightstalkers have created an experimental bioweapon known as Daystar, capable of killing vampires at the genetic level. However, they need a purer blood source to make it effective. As Drake is too powerful to kill via normal means, they hope that the virus will kill him and, with his blood in the mix, ensure the rest of the species is wiped out, but also fear that this will include Blade.
Eager to test Blade, Drake isolates him from the Nightstalkers, as he considers them unworthy of challenging him. He explains his view that all humans and vampires are inferior in his eyes and that he intends to wipe them from the Earth. Abigail finds evidence of the vampires "Final solution": a network of 'farms' where comatose humans are drained of their blood for vampire consumption. Told the humans are all brain dead, Blade deactivates the farm's life support systems.
Returning to the Nightstalkers' hideout, Abigail and Blade find all of them dead except for King and Sommerfield's daughter Zoe, both of whom have been taken captive. A recording left by Sommerfield, Daystar's creator, reveals that Drake's blood is all that is needed to make it complete and effective. King is tortured by the vampires for information, but refuses to talk, even when they threaten to turn him and feed him Zoe's blood.
Blade and Abigail arrive and free the captives. Drake eventually bests Blade in single combat and prepares to kill him with his own sword. Abigail fires the Daystar arrow, but Drake catches it before it strikes him. He drops it to the floor by Blade, not realizing the danger it poses to him. Abigail shoots Drake with another arrow, this time wounding him. Blade uses the distraction to stab Drake with the Daystar arrow, triggering a chemical reaction that completes the "Daystar" virus, releasing it into the air, the virus becomes airborne, killing Danica and the rest of the vampires. As Drake slowly succumbs to his wounds and the virus, he praises Blade for fighting honorably, but warns him that he will eventually succumb to his need for blood, thus proving that Blade already is the new type of vampire.
Using the last of his power, Drake disguises himself as Blade. The FBI recover the body and declare Blade legally dead (In the unrated cut, as the FBI tries to do an autopsy on "Blade", Drake springs back to life, killing several of the autopsy members before ominously looming over one of the orderlies). Hannibal narrates that the virus did not kill Blade as the human half of his heart did not stop beating, it only slowed down, causing him to enter into a comatose state until his body was ready to fight again. Blade awakens several months later ready to continue his war on all vampire-kind.
- Wesley Snipes as Eric Brooks / Blade
- Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler
- Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King
- Dominic Purcell as Dracula / Drake
- Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler
- Parker Posey as Danica Talos
- Callum Keith Rennie as Asher Talos
- Paul "Triple H" Levesque as Jarko Grimwood
- Natasha Lyonne as Sommerfield
- Haili Page as Zoe
- Mark Berry as Chief Martin Vreede
- John Michael Higgins as Dr. Edgar Vance
- Patton Oswalt as Hedges
- James Remar as FBI Agent Ray Cumberland
- Michael Anthony Rawlins as FBI Agent Wilson Hale
- Christopher Heyerdahl as Caulder
- Scott Heindl as Gedge
- Cascy Beddow as Flick
- Paul Anthony as Wolfe
- John Ashker as Campbell
- Eric Bogosian as Bentley Tittle
- Ron Selmour as Dex
- Françoise Yip as Virago
- Kett Turton as Dingo
- Michel Cook as SWAT Member
Reportedly, series star Wesley Snipes was unhappy with the film's script and original choice of director. David S. Goyer, who had written all three films in the franchise, was then selected to replace the original director of the film, which Snipes also protested. Snipes reportedly caused difficulty during filming, including frequently refusing to shoot scenes, often forcing director Goyer to use stand-ins and computer effects to add his character to scenes. Co-star Patton Oswalt alleged that Snipes would spend much of his time smoking marijuana in his trailer, and that he became violent with Goyer after falsely accusing him of racism. It has also been alleged that Snipes refused to interact with Goyer or his co-stars, and would instead communicate with them through his assistant or the use of notes. Snipes also allegedly referred to co-star Ryan Reynolds as a "cracker" on one or more occasions.
In the DVD special features, Goyer talks about how cities are often multilingual. Goyer used Esperanto and its flag as part of the fictional city where Blade is set. The Esperanto flag is shown twice, at the entrance to the Police headquarters after Blade is rescued from jail, and in the rooftop scene where Drake threatens to drop a baby over the edge. Background elements such as signs and advertisements include Esperanto translations. Hannibal King is at one point seen watching the William Shatner-starring Esperanto language film Incubus on television; one reviewer remarked that it was "an unintentionally apt reference" considering first-time director "Goyer's grasp of directorial fundamentals (such as when to tilt the camera and when to shoot in close-up) is about as strong as Shatner's fluency in Esperanto." The film's director of photography, Gabriel Beristain, makes a cameo appearance as the one-eyed newspaper vendor who talks to Whistler in Esperanto and discusses the public perception that Blade is a menace to society.
The film's American box office gross was $52 million, and the total worldwide gross was $128.9 million. This matched the first Blade's take but came behind Blade II, which had grossed $150 million worldwide.
In 2005, Snipes sued New Line Cinema and Goyer, claiming that the studio did not pay his full salary, that he was intentionally cut out of casting decisions and the filmmaking process, despite being one of the producers, and that his character's screen time was reduced in favor of costars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel.
The film earned an approval rating of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 167 reviews, with an average rating of 4.42/10. The consensus reads: "Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes." Rotten Tomatoes included the film at 76 out of 94 on a countdown (from 94 to 1) of "worst to best" comic book to film adaptations.
Roger Ebert, who gave Blade 3 stars out of 4 and Blade II 3½ stars, gave Blade: Trinity 1½ stars, writing: "It lacks the sharp narrative line and crisp comic-book clarity of the earlier films, and descends too easily into shapeless fight scenes that are chopped into so many cuts that they lack all form or rhythm." James Berardinelli also rated the film 1½ stars out of 4, stating: "Blade: Trinity is a carbon copy of its predecessors. It's all kick-ass attitude and style without any substance to back it up. Yet, where the first two Blades satisfied on a visceral level, this one doesn't."
Cancelled Underworld crossover and reboot
In October 2008, Blade director Stephen Norrington was developing a prequel trilogy to Blade, featuring Stephen Dorff reprising his role as Deacon Frost. However, by August 2012, the film rights to Blade had reverted to Marvel Studios. In May 2013, Marvel had a working script for a new Blade film. In July 2015, Wesley Snipes, who played Blade in three films before the character's rights reverted to Marvel, stated that he had had discussions with Marvel to reprise the role. In 2016, Underworld actress Kate Beckinsale stated that a crossover sequel to Blade: Trinity with the Underworld film series had been in development but was cancelled due to Marvel Studios developing a reboot of the franchise set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In July 2019, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios announced that it would be rebooting the character and integrating Blade into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Mahershala Ali cast as the title character. Kevin Feige confirmed that the Blade reboot is not part of Marvel's Phase Four slate of films.
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- Blade turns Ten. Interviews with the cast.