ORBzine - Movie Reviews April 2002


Blade 2: Blood Hunt

Guillermo Del Toro delivers a sequel which is in some ways actually superior to the original. Blade [Wesley Snipes] and his new geek sidekick Scud rescue Blade's mentor [Kris Kristofferson] from the vampires. Yes, the old man somehow survived the first film and got revived!

Blade is summoned to meet his arch-enemies, the vampires' Shadow Council. They warn him that a breed of monsters called the Reapers are on the prowl, feeding on humans and vampires alike. To save the human race, Blade must team up with a group of vampiric assassins called the Blood Pack. They include Reinhardt [Ron Perlman - Alien: Resurrection , Danny John Jules [ Red Dwarf ] and Hong Kong Martial Arts star Donnie Yen.

The team stake out the most likely place that the monsters will attack - then split up so the Reapers can pick them off one by one. They have networked CBs, but don't even try to act as a team. They discover that the Reapers are far more than just Nosferatu -looking freaks led by Luke Goss from the 1980s British pop band Bros. They are stronger and faster than vampires, and far more dangerous. Also, they are immune to most weapons. Undeterred, the next time Blade and the surviving Blood Pack members go hunting they use EXACTLY THE SAME TACTICS!

But let's face it, nobody watches this kind of film for the plot. Blade himself is a modern superhero, quite literally - the film is based on a Marvel comic and produced by Stan Lee and Avi Arad. This is a rip-roaring action-adventure with great SPFX and some wonderful one-liners. The cast is excellent, the martial arts incredible. So switch off your brain, sit back relax and enjoy.

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  • Queen of the Damned

    This is a follow-up to Interview with the Vampire , and is actually compiled from parts of two different books by Anne Rice . The protagonist is the vampire Lestat [now played by Stuart Townsend], a centuries-old creature who awakes in the modern day and becomes lead vocals in a Goth Rock band.

    His singing awakes the Vampire Queen of Ancient Egypt, Aliyah . Ironically this film was intended as straight-to-video, and only got a cinema release because of her death. She only appears in a few key scenes, totalling about fifteen minutes of screen time. Remember, her real career was as a singer, not as an actress.

    Lestat's publicity-seeking means that almost every other vampire wishes to kill him for breaching their veil of secrecy. He is also being stalked by a young woman who is part of a secret society that observes and investigates the Occult. More like the Watchers in Highlander than the ones in Buffy , but you get the picture. There are also some less beligerent vampires, including Lena Olin and Claudia Black .

    The problem with this film is, it does not really fit into any genre. It is not an action-adventure film like Blade , nor is it a horror film like most vampire films. No, if anything it is a kind of character-based drama. However, the characters are uninvolving and the drama is ... undramatic.

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  • The One

    This is a slap-bang action flick, filled with martial arts and SPFX. The fast-paced action to a Heavy Metal soundtrack is reminiscent of the works of John Carpenter . However, it's a lot better than anything Carpenter has done recently. The director and producer of this film are X-Files scribes Morgan & Wong [ Final Destination ].

    The movie starts by introducing Yulaw [Jet Li - Romeo Must Die], a villain who takes out an entire SWAT team but gets taken out by mismatched cops Delroy Lindo [Romeo Must Die] and Jason Statham [ Ghosts of Mars ]. It turns out that Yulaw is a transdimensional cop gone bad, and after killing 123 versions of himself in different universes there are only two version of him left. Yes, apparently there are only 125 parallel universes - and when Yulaw becomes the only remaining copy he will become a god. Or destroy the multiverse. Hmm.

    Yulaw escapes and gets to our universe, where the version of himself is an LA County Sheriffs' officer. This basically pits the two versions of Li against each other. Li makes both a great villain and a passable hero, and the supporting cast are more than adequate. Carla Gugino plays wife to both Li characters, while Space: Above & Beyond stalwarts Tucker Smallwood and James Morrison both crop up.

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  • Scorpion King

    Yes, this is the prequel to Stephen Somers cheesy film The Mummy . It is only co-written by Somers, and directed by someone else, but it retains something of the original's style.

    Ancient Egypt, and the tribes are menaced by a villainous King. Tribal leaders Roger Rees [Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot] and Michael Duncan Clarke [ Armageddon, Green Mile ] hire assassins The Rock [ Star Trek: VGR ] and Branscombe Richmond [Renegade] to kill the evil King's sorceror.

    The assassins go about their business, but things do not go according to plan. For some reason the Egyptian King is a white man with an English accent. The Rock teams up with a horse-thief [Grant Heslov - True Lies ] and the babelicious Kelly Hu , who runs about in a skimpy chain-mail bikini.

    The Rock's character is a fair embodiment of Robert E. Howard 's Conan. In a strange coincidence one of the villain's henchmen is played by Ralf Moeller [ Gladiator ], who played Conan in the recent US TV show Conan The Adventurer . The Rock seems much better for the role, but the script seems to undermine his character. He acts as neither Conan nor the Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns would.

    The film lacks the epic feel that John Milius gave to his masterpiece Conan The Barbarian , and is much more in tune with the cheeziness that Stephen Somers gave to the original film The Mummy . For example, the villain's guards run about his palace with bows, ready to shoot at the hero. Not exactly realistic. But it is light-hearted fun. The action is thrilling, and the CGI SPFX make the setting come to life.

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