Next year, vampires will have a bigger problem than Buffy to worry about. Wesley Snipes, now in the action thriller ”The Art of War,” is getting ready to smite bloodsuckers in ”Blade 2,” the sequel to the 1998 film about a half human, half vamp superhero. The actor, who served as one of the producers on the Marvel Comics based original film, is psyched to be back in fangs. ”All I can say about ‘Blade 2’ is that it is bananas. Bananas!” says Snipes. ”The first movie was child’s play, because this time we’re trying things that have never been done before.”
The sequel, which starts filming in February, will begin in Las Vegas, where the hero battles a new breed of genetically engineered ”super” vampires. Unable to defeat them on his own, Blade reluctantly joins forces with an equally desperate band of vampires, who are also under attack from the mutated bloodsuckers.
It’s not yet clear if this will be an improvement over the first ”Blade,” which suffered from a sketchy yet familiar plot. (EW dismissed the movie as a ”glittering trash pile” and graded it a dismal D.) But plotting problems certainly didn’t hurt the film’s box office appeal. The late summer sleeper grossed $70 million and debuted at the top of the video sales charts, an impressive payoff for a tightly budgeted $45 million action movie.
Sequels can be a tricky business, however, and David S. Goyer, who wrote the script for ”Blade” and ”Blade 2,” knows that lesson all too well. ”I wrote one of the worst sequels ever made, ‘The Crow: City of Angels,’ so I know that things can go wrong,” says Goyer, who also serves as the sequel’s executive producer. But Goyer points out that unlike many action movies, ”Blade 2” is no slapdash afterthought. The first film was intended to be part of a trilogy; hints of future plot twists were well established in the original. ”I’ve always had two other stories I wanted to tell,” he says. ”We’re building on the first one.”
Despite efforts to keep the juiciest surprises under wraps, some spoilers have already been leaked through the Internet. Goyer confirms that Kris Kristofferson, who played Whistler (Blade’s mentor/ watcher), will return even though his character met a grisly end in the first film. ”The clue to how he comes back is in the first movie,” says Goyer. ”You just have to look for it.”
The writer producer also dismisses Internet rumors that script problems necessitated a start-to-finish rewrite. ”We had to make some changes because of the budget,” he explains, noting that he and the sequel’s director, Guillermo del Toro (”Mimic”) have been working together in Spain on fine tuning the script. ”The effects budget for this one is almost double that of the first, so we’re trying to bring it down a little.”
The budget isn’t the only concern for Goyer and del Toro. Not only does the sequel have to top the whiz bang action of the original, it has to impress crowds who’ve already been dazzled by ”The Matrix” and ”Mission: Impossible 2.” ”’The Matrix’ deserved every accolade it got, but now you see those effects everywhere,” Goyer sighs. ”I mean, Cameron Diaz even does a spinning heel kick in the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ trailer.” The solution was to start fresh. ”It makes more sense to reinvent the wheel,” Goyer explains. ”You’re not going to see any ‘Matrix’-esque stuff in ‘Blade 2.”’