Triple H makes a memorable debut in an otherwise forgettable film.
Review by Mike Rickard II
ďA manís got to know his limitationsĒ
- Harry Callahan in Magnum Force
Anyone familiar with Greek mythology will recall the legend of Icarus, a youth whose grand ambitions cost him his life. For those unfamiliar with the story, Icarus was imprisoned with his father Daedalus on the island of Crete. Daedalus, a renowned inventor, fashioned artificial wings with feathers fastened by wax. This allowed him and his son to fly away to safety. However Daedalus warned his son not to fly too high or the heat of the sun would melt his wings. Icarus, like any son, ignored his fatherís advice and soon found himself crashing into oblivion much like the many WWE wrestlers who have flown too close to the sun known as Triple H. Daedalus maintained a steady path and flew to freedom. The story of Daedalus and Icarus is similar in many ways to the ambition of Triple H and screenwriter/director David S. Goyer in the film
Ever since it was announced that Triple H would be appearing in Blade: Trinity, wrestling fans have been waiting to see how he would compare to the Rock. After his debut in
The Mummy Returns, the Rock has found himself flooded with film offers and while itís still unclear if he will be able to make the leap to mainstream box office success, heís found enough success where he has been able to make wrestling his hobby rather than his livelihood. With films scheduled into 2006 (according to information taken from the Internet Movie Database at
www.imdb.com), finding work in Hollywood doesnít seem to be a problem for the Rock.
Enter Triple H who considers himself the standard bearer for World Wrestling Entertainment. Anyone familiar with the WWE knows that Triple H considers himself a student of professional wrestling and prides himself as being dedicated to the industry to the point of obsession. He has to be the best and no one can outshine him, hence his professional rivalry with the Rock, perhaps the most successful performer of all time. So far, Triple H has not been able to match the box office success of the Rock in the world of wrestling. While Hunter has held the WWE Title for much of the last two years, the box office generated by his main events pales to the money made during the Rockís heyday. Anyone familiar with Triple Hís rivalry with the Rock has to ask themselves if Triple H saw his role in Blade: Trinity as his entrťe into Hollywood and a fresh chance to eclipse the Rock.
Screenwriter David S. Goyer has established a niche as the author of dark thrillers such as the cult classic
Dark City, Blade and Blade II, and the much anticipated Batman Begins (Thanks to the All Movie Guide
www.allmovie.com, a consistently good source of film knowledge). After having written the screenplays for the first two Blade films, Goyer opted to direct as well as write Blade: Trinity.
Since this is GumGod.com and not
FilmThreat.com, letís focus on Triple Hís much talked about film debut (at least much talked about in the wrestling community) Without getting into a lengthy discourse on Blade (see my web site
http://hometown.aol.com/Kingmo69/Bladetvs.html for a complete run-down on the character) , Blade (Wesley Snipes) is a half-human/half-vampire who protects humanity from vampires (his mother was bit by a vampire while in labor and somehow Blade was born with all of the abilities of vampires but none of their weaknesses) who fights vampires with the help of his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) , a weapons-maker who is the vampire-hunting equivalent of 007ís Q. At the start of the film, things are not going so well for Blade. His war on vampires is spiraling out of control and Whistler (played with relish by Kris Kristofferson whose haggard looks make one wonder if heís not undead himself) is especially concerned now that Bladeís war has attracted the attention of law enforcement.
Triple H plays Jarko Grimwood, a member of a vampire group led by Danica Talos (Parker Posey) who have devised a one-two punch to defeat their arch nemesis Blade (Wesley Snipes). Talos and her crew have unearthed Drake (Dominic Purcell), the Alpha Male of vampires and orchestrated an elaborate set-up where one of their human slaves (known as familiars) posed as a vampire and took a stake for the team. As a result, Blade is now hunted by the very humans he tries to protect. The FBI become involved and raids his hide-out, leading to Bladeís capture and Whistlerís death.
If one were to believe the promos for Blade: Trinity shown on Monday Night Raw, one would think Triple H had a co-starring role. If one were to listen to Triple H detractors, he has a walk-on role. Unlike the Mummy 2 where the Rock appeared in the filmís prologue and finale, Triple H appears throughout the film and in several key scenes including the discovery of Drake, the attempted kidnapping of Blade, and the final showdown between the vampires and Blade. The best comparison for Triple H is to wrestler Harold Sakata who played Oddjob in the film
Goldfinger. Oddjob is one of the most memorable henchmen in the Bond franchise, largely due to his look and mannerisms. Sakata did his job well, despite the limited part. Likewise, Triple H does a good job playing the lead henchman in Blade: Trinity. He definitely has a screen presence and while he doesnít have the same amount of charisma as the Rock, heís not someone youíre likely to forget. Does that mean that heís leading man material? Itís too early to tell but Triple H could definitely make his mark in non-leading roles. Given the fact that he seems intent on taking his rivalry with the Rock out of the ring and into Hollywood, it seems unlikely that Triple H would settle for secondary parts for long given the Rockís current ability to lead pictures on his own (although in all fairness, none of the Rockís pictures can be considered major successes with the exception of the Scorpion King). Triple H is scheduled to star in Jornada del muerte but given the fact that itís a film produced by the WWE, itís the equivalent of kissing your sister. The true test for Triple H will be if Hollywood starts knocking on his door after seeing him in Blade: Trinity.
As for the film itself, Blade: Trinity is a flawed film that while entertaining, could have been so much more. Screenwriter David S. Goyer not only penned this sequel but directed it. Unfortunately he has big shoes to fill. While Goyer does a good job directing, his work doesnít compare to director Steve Norringtonís work in Blade and Guillermo del Toroís in Blade II. Blade and Blade II featured great cinematography and fight scenes. Blade and Blade II featured memorable and intense fight scenes between Blade and his
vampire foes, showcasing star Wesley Snipesí martial arts background. Blade: Trinity is more a by the numbers production with action scenes that while entertaining, are nothing new or memorable. Even the climatic swordfight between Drake and Blade seems like it was thrown together over a cup of coffee which is a shame given the swordplay seen in the first two films.
The filmís biggest flaw is that it introduces several interesting concepts but fails to develop them. Ever since the first Blade film, longtime fans have wondered if Blade would encounter Dracula in any of the films (Blade first appeared in the comic book
Tomb of Dracula). Well, Dracula (referred to as Drake in the film) does appear but the character finds little to do than stand around and chomp on the occasional late night snack. Dominic Purcell does the best he can with the character but Dracula is relegated to the role of a glorified henchman. It reminds me of the much maligned (and deservedly so) Batman and Robin that transformed the arch-villain Bane into a villainís flunky. Itís just such a waste. Rather than weave a film with the King of Vampires creating some master plot against Blade, heís pretty much just there to provide a cool final fight scene. It could have been so much more.
Even worse, really interesting characters are wasted. While Ryan Reynolds does a spectacular job playing Hannibal King (a human member of the Nightstalkers who had once been a vampire), the only thing the character shares with his comic book namesake is his name. In the comic books, Hannibal King was a private detective who ended up on the wrong end of a pair of fangs and was turned into a vampire. Unlike most vampires however, he fought his
vampire bloodlust and battled the undead, occasionally teaming up with Blade. The problem isnít that Ryan Reynoldsí character isnít interesting; itís that heís not Hannibal King. It would be like making a film adaptation of Robert B. Parkerís Spenser novels and having Chris Rock play Hawk as a non-descript college student. Perhaps Goyer didnít want to seem like he was doing a retread of vampire heroes such as Nick Knight or Angel (although Hannibal King preceded them by decades) but it just seems like a waste of a really terrific character.
Major events are glossed over. Bladeís mentor and friend Whistler is killed during the FBI raid but judging by Bladeís reaction, youíd think he lost a dollar in the soda machine. The Nightstalkers come up with a virus capable with the potential to destroy every vampire on Earth but by the end of the film, itís an afterthought. The film just fails to do anything with the novel concepts it introduces.
Thereís no doubt that Goyer set out to make the most spectacular Blade film of all time.
"This film will have it all he must have thought. Blade framed for murder and a fugitive from the FBI. The Nightstalkers, a band of vampire hunters led by Whistlerís daughter. And thatís just the beginning. This film will have Dracula, a band of Goth type vampires, and vampires abducting humans to use as blood farms. Just to make things interesting, weíll kill off Whistler, introduce even cooler anti-vampire weaponry, and have the Nightstalkers develop an anti-vampire bioweapon." The problem is that all of these concepts are thrown out and then abandoned as the next one is set up. Goyer doesnít do anything with the concepts and inevitably they end up being nothing more than wasted potential. Sometimes less really is more.
In the end, Goyer falls into the trap of overreaching. Like Icarus of legend, he attempts to fly too high and finds himself crashing into oblivion. On the other hand, Triple H takes the steady approach and does a good job without overstepping his abilities. He succeeds where Goyerís ambitions failed him and ends up playing Daedalus to Goyerís Icarus.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.