by Ray Pride

There's a question that must be asked about the third part of every trilogy: Is it necessary to see the first two films in order to enjoy the third one?

In the case of Blade: Trinity, all you need to know about the previous episodes is that vampires tend to get killed off in visually impressive ways. Of the three Blade movies, Trinity is the most action-packed, vicious, and filled with comic relief. It opens with helicopter-flying vampires setting down in Iraq and finding trouble from a creature they "awaken" in a large tomb. Back home, Blade (Wesley Snipes) is calmly and coolly wiping out a warehouse full of vampires, after which he gets into a high-speed car chase, hunting down the ones that got way. All of this, mind you, happens in the first 10 minutes.

Then there's Drake (Dominic Purcell), whose name is short for ... well, think about it. At one point, Drake casually refers to a book that was written about him as "Stoker's fable." This bloodthirsty guy is definitely evil. There's also Danica Talos (Parker Posey), an excitable vampiress who likes to swear at, snarl at, and slap around humans. She is definitely vile.

Though there's hardly a hint of humor in the first two films, it makes for some of the more memorable parts of Trinity. A lot of it comes from the wisecracking Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), a vampire hunter who spouts out his best one-liners seemingly when he's in the most trouble. Even Snipes manages to speak a few funny lines. But more of the comedy comes from more ridiculous areas, such as the appearance of a cute little Pomeranian vampire.

The title derives from the joining up of three vampire hunters: Blade, King, and the slinky, fearless markswoman Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), and their quest to create a vampire-destroying virus. But first, the film's motif of fights, fights, and more fights needs to be kick-started. All the butt-whuppin' is terrifically choreographed, no doubt with help from one of the participants, current WWE champ Triple H, who plays nasty, foul-mouthed vampire Jarko Grimwood. At least he knows how to perform a solid body slam, even if the dialogue he's been given isn't very original.

As with every chase - be it by car, by motorcycle or on foot - each fight is accompanied by loud, percussive music. (Bring some Advils.) There's also director David S. Goyer's propensity to stage two and even three fights at once, all in different locations, which keeps with the plan of packing in the action. This film simply has too much going on.

So will Blade: Trinity be the final installment of a trilogy? Let's put it this way: The story is closed off, but it's left open. It comes to a satisfactory end, but there's wiggle room. Funny thing about vampires: They tend to rise from the dead.

Publication date: 12/09/04

Minis: Art Walk Opening Reception @ Emerge

Fri., Dec. 9, 5-8 p.m.
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