31 Nights of Dractober: Blade: Trinity (2004)

Blade: Trinity (2004)


Director: David S. Goyer

Dracula: Dominic Purcell

Well, they can’t all be gems. Aside from the midriffs of the “Night Stalkers” (there aren’t enough air quotes in the world) Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel, and the bumping score by Ramin Djawadi and The RZA, there’s not a lot to say for this festival of pain. Blade himself began as part of the Dracula-hunting team in Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan’s classic, wonderful Tomb of Dracula comic from Marvel, but it took until the third film in the inexplicably successful Blade series for Dracula to show up. Here, he’s called “Drake,” but a helpful exposition by Patton Oswalt assures us he is Dracula, and that he began as Dagon (!!) in Sumerian times, secretly controlled history for centuries, then dropped out of sight. Drake himself refers to “Stoker’s fable” in the better of his two monologues (any dialogue with Wesley Snipes is a monologue), explaining why he’s a daywalker unlike the rest of the franchise’s Eurotrash vampires. Dracula is explicitly compared to a shark, a perfect predator, although Purcell plays him as (or maybe plays Dracula playing himself as, although that’s almost certainly reading too much into it) a cross between medieval knight and mafioso.

But mediocre movies often make for the best gaming fuel, from the tactical possibilities for vampires in modern all-concealing combat rig, to the vertiginous delights of the Syrian ziggurat and its office-building echoes, to the gambit of vampires framing their slayers for murder. All the Blade films are apopheniac exercises in spotting the literal concealed writing: the “familiars” and vampire clans have characteristic tattoos that show up in advertisements, graffiti, fashion, and other places; in this movie Goyer inexplicably decided to spangle the sets with Esperanto. Vampires as linguistic-symbolic viruses (to be battled by the laconic-to-a-fault Snipes?) pop to mind after a sufficiently open-minded viewing; that might even explain the film’s bizarre focus on Jessica Biel’s iPod-playlist-and-earbuds more interestingly than product placement or strange lifestyle signaling gone horribly wrong.

The 31 Nights of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Expanded from its original monosyllabic affectlessness (perhaps with your comments and responses), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can pre-order the shark-like, perfectly evolved hard copies of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

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