Blade Trinity Unrated DVD Review

Blade has never been a direct comic translation. His character, origins, and all-around demeanor were created specifically for the screen. What has been done with the character is arguably an improvement, giving the film dark overtones and awe-inspiring action sequences.

That success has led us to a third film in the series, a complete change from the previous two, now seemingly more focused on comedic one-liners than anything that carried the first entries in the series. That change stems from the casting of Ryan Reynolds who plays the same basic character he did in "Van Wilder." It just doesn't mesh at all with the series or the film.

He's certainly funny and if it was the film to start the series, it would almost make sense. Obviously, it's not. The other series trademarks are here, the brilliantly conceived action sequences, Blade tearing through multiple vampires, and the loud -sometimes obnoxious- music.

Missing, mercifully, is the pitiful CGI from the second film that ruined everything. Except for a few brief shots, everything is done with the actors and their stunt doubles the way it should be. The gore has been toned down quite a bit with very little that will satisfy fans of this series, even with the introduction of Dracula himself (played by Dominic Purcell who doesn't really seem to fit the role).

There's a great idea early in the film that would have made a solid movie on its own. Blade is captured by the FBI and interrogated. Though the performances by the agents grating, it's not everyday you get to see a superhero under fire for saving people. Sadly, these few minutes of film only seem to exist to get the body count up later when SWAT teams make a move.

This DVD version offers an extended cut and is supposedly unrated. There's little here to make it such. If it wasn't for the language, this is an easy PG-13 film. The extra footage is just some small character development in spots and a few extended scenes.

"Blade Trinity" is a major departure from the formula set by the first two films. That doesn't mean it fails to entertain you with gripping action and short quips from the cast. It's arguably better than the film that preceded it, as it's a little more lively and energetic. It's a worthy entry into the series, and it's even more surprising coming from first time director David Goyer. (*** out of *****)

The aspect ratio for "Trinity" has returned to the original 2.35:1 presentation of the first. The DVD showcases the film almost flawlessly. The major culprit here is nose in the backgrounds. It's just enough to keep it from perfection, as it's easy to detect even with an untrained eye. Black levels are rarely this steady or solid. That's commendable for a movie this dark. Fine detail is strong and present throughout. (****)

This special unrated cut offers up an additional audio mix and it's a good one: DTS-ES 6.1. It is, simply put, perfect. The 5.1 EX track (also included on the R-rated cut) doesn't offer the pounding bass or separation the 6.1 mix does. The soundtrack provides most of the action, though you'll feel almost every hit when they connect. The opening car chase is a brilliant achievement in home audio. It's the third reference quality audio mix for this series. (*****)

There's really not a logical reason to buy the R-rated cut, especially since this disc offers up that version too, plus two commentary tracks. The first one features Goyer, Jessica Beal, and Ryan Reynolds. The next has Goyer and his crew discussing the production.

If you don't learn enough from those, the nearly two-hour documentary called "Inside the World of Blade Trinity" should cover any questions. Not only does it dive into every aspect of the production, but the first two films, the comics, and inside jokes as well. It's split into 17 chapters so you can watch them individually if you want. It's a great production and even if the film didn't settle well with you, this documentary will.

"Goyer on Goyer" is a stupid piece, an interview the director does with himself. It's a wasted five minutes. An alternate ending is included that's one of the wisest cuts in the history of DVDs.

If you still need more laughs, there's 11-minutes of bloopers that are well worth checking out. Goyer nearly scares Biel to death when filming one scene. The final section (besides basic trailers) is galleries. There are three visual effect progressions and a look at the weapons (with text explaining each). It doesn't seem like much, but it's the quality of everything here that makes it worthwhile. (****)

The ending once again leaves the series open for a fourth sequel. Goyer even discusses the possibilities in the documentary. There's still some life left here if it's handled correctly.

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