David S. Goyer’s “Blade: Trinity,” the third and final entry in the Marvel comic-based franchise, is a witless and vacuous indulgence of action film conventions. It breezes by with pervasive fight sequences and tiresome one-liners, but by the finale, there is only one certain thing to take from this 113-minute fiasco: This series is dead and buried.

Wesley Snipes reprises the title role once again, complete with the characteristic sunglasses and hard-ass stoicism. He’s as angry as ever and for good reason: In addition to the usual blood-suckers, this time he must also ward off the FBI and a newly awoken Dracula, who until “about six months ago” had been hibernating in Iraq.


But this isn’t your everyday Dracula; he looks a lot like Predator, only with horn-like protrusions in the place of the dreadlocks. He is a formidable foe to Blade, continually mocking him with pseudo-philosophical dialogue and effortless extermination of the supporting cast — excluding, of course, the comic relief and scantily-clad warrior babe.

“Trinity’s” performances are nearly as insipid as its plotline. As members of the dementedly named Nightstalkers gang, Ryan Reynolds (looking like he hasn’t left the gym since “Van Wilder”) and Jessica Biel (TV’s “7th Heaven”) are sometimes fun but still remarkably prosaic in their roles. Even Snipes is substandard; granted, his “dialogue” consists mostly of grunts and snarls, but he plays his role completely monotonously, sleeping his way through the bulk of the film. The only relief comes from Parker Posey (“Best in Show”), the wonderful cult actress who plays the vampire leader Danica with a refreshingly free spirit. Her performance is classic vampire camp, and only she seems to be aware of the inherent silliness of the film in which she is appearing.

Goyer, who wrote the first two films, now fills the director’s chair in an unwelcomed debut. He is singularly obsessed with long, slow-motion shots that border on self-indulgence and directs his R-rated film to play only to young teenage boys with short attention spans. Even the fight scenes, glossed over with flashy digital effects and a cacophonous soundtrack, are void of any wonder or surprise — after all, what fun is it to see Blade and company hack up vampires who are scarcely given the opportunity to fight back? Goyer’s incoherent screenplay seals the deal, strung together on cringe-worthy dialogue delivered from a series of hollow, dead-end characters. As writer, director and co-producer, Goyer proves to be the film’s one-man demise.

The first and second “Blade” films were released in mid-August and mid-March, respectively, times of year notorious for their lack of worthwhile cinema. By opening “Trinity” in December, a month ripe with superb films for the picking, New Line has given audiences yet another reason to avoid this train wreck. Not that they needed one.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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