The problem? Wesley Snipes can't be bothered with Blade. The solution? Introduce two teen-appealing upstarts to spin out an eternal franchise. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time. But how you feel about the finished film depends on whether you're after a campy monster-mash or a serious, kick-ass actioner.
If high-camp was his intention, then it's mission accomplished for David S Goyer, the franchise scribe stepping behind the camera in place of Blade II's Guillermo del Toro. If Blade: Trinity is supposed to be serious, though... Well, that's a joke in itself.
As with recent Marvel misstep The Punisher, Goyer never maintains the right tone; the laugh-with to laugh-at line is dangerously blurred. Parker Posey is a principal offender, chewing scenery while warning male neck-nippers to stop talking about their dicks because "you are provoking my envy". Hmmm...
Similarly crotch-led is Goyer's decision to chuck in a shower scene for a blood-splattered Biel (at least the target audience will be grateful) and - for any unfortunate girlfriends dragged along - plenty of close-ups of Reynolds without his shirt on. The young stars are game: Reynolds is deliberately amusing most of the time, while Biel ably fulfils the role of Photogenic Totty, even if her character is so one-dimensional she can't even muster emotion over the fate of her father (Kris Kristofferson). Goyer also offers some fun new vamp-slaying weaponry: an ultraviolet laser that slices villains asunder and silver blades that slide out of Abigail's boots.
But amidst the sturm-und-drang of the zero-tension action it's hard to care about anyone here and, in keeping with the franchise's formula, the baddie is another pasty, charisma-free white boy just waiting for an ass-whuppin'. (Although Dominic Purcell is at least a bit beefier than Stephen Dorff or Luke Goss.) The Drac/Blade showdown is tragically anti-climactic, while Snipes' snarling, monosyllabic presence aims for "brooding" but hits "bored". It's a target the audience hit easily, too.
A half-witted actioner that mistakes laughs for laughable, while Biel and Reynolds' next-generation double-act is attractive but toothless.