(2002)3.5Patrick LegareWesley Snipes remains the perfect incarnation of the comic book vampire hunter Blade in this intense, bloody sequel that marks a new advance in the world of special effects. Director Guillermo Del Toro (Mimic, The Devil's Backbone) has a strong record in the horror genre and he manages to avoid the many traps of doing a sequel due in large part to David S. Goyer's strong script. In smartly resurrecting the half-human, half-vampire hero's seemingly dead partner, Whistler, Goyer has brought back actor Kris Kristofferson, who delivers a gritty, blue-collar performance that gives the steely, impersonal Blade a colorful foil. From there, Goyer's story puts the duo, along with a new helper (Norman Reedus), in an uneasy alignment with the vampire race against an almost indestructible super-breed of vampire. This straightforward setup allows Del Toro and his team (including noted Hong Kong fight coordinator Donnie Yen) to focus on the choreography of the film's plentiful fight scenes. The result is an action-packed hybrid of horror and martial arts that is easily one of the most exciting and most impressive displays of monster and special makeup effects to hit the screen since John Carpenter's 1982 creature extravaganza The Thing. The hundreds of effects shots reflects a collaboration of multiple effects companies doing visuals, prosthetics, makeup and CGI -- all of which come together in a seamless, visually stunning package. Throw in a fully charged club soundtrack and a Snipes performance that combines a ton of toughness with just enough sensitivity to make him (somewhat) human, and you've got a fantastic genre sequel that has style and cool to spare.