It’s Vampire Season: Blade II and Queen Of The Damned



Blade II – rating 18;  Stars - Wesley Snipes, Luke Goss;  Director – Guillermo Del Toro. 2hrs20

Queen of The Damned – rating 15; Stars – Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Vincent Perez, Paul McGann;  

Director – Michael Rymer.  1hr45


If gratuitous violence with blood and guts by the lorry-load is your kind of thing, head out to see Blade II during the run up to exams. Otherwise, a film purely for the vampire fanatics and closet Marvel comic-book readers. Wesley Snipes reprises the role of the ‘daywalker’, half vampire who possesses ‘all of their strengths but none of their weaknesses’. Blade joins his usual enemies the vampires to take on the ‘reapers’, a mutated species seemingly out for destruction. Unfortunately Stephen Dorf from the first film made a much more convincing über-bad than the selection of evils in the sequel. The relentlessly gruesome special effects are convincingly done, although not for the fainthearted. If the original film made you thirst for blood the likelihood is you’ll enjoy this offering, but it lacks quite the same excitement. However, Snipes and his shades pull off an entertaining reprieve despite the convoluted, pointless and predictable plot.  ¬¬¬


On the other hand…there’s Queen of the Damned. The long-awaited sequel to ‘Interview with the Vampire’. First off, any ‘Interview’ fans will be disappointed if they rush off to see Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise don the dark mysterious vampire attire. No, the ‘sequel’ replaces Cruise with Stuart Townsend, and, wait for it…scraps Brad Pitt’s vital character, Louis, completely! Considering he was the title ‘vampire’ interviewee character, you can guess how much this film resembles a sequel at all. The title role of Akasha, the Queen of the Damned, is played by singer-cum-actress Aaliyah, meaning the film is now a tribute to her death, explaining its delayed release. Not to speak ill of the dead but Aaliyah is too weak as Akasha, and the synthetic effects on her voice do not add the desired effect. The much condensed story is that Lestat wakes to hear Goth music (haters of Goth need not apply, there’s a lot of it) and decides to become a performer himself and tell the world the vampire history. Secrets of which the telling was forbidden are released and the vampire nations come down on Lestat. Only to have little success stopping him after he awakes Akasha, becoming her consort - while she seeks to wreak havoc on earth. The film is saved from being completely atrocious by the presence of Stuart Townsend, who carries Lestat off well, better than Cruise in fact. He is also distractingly good-looking, a welcome bonus detracted from slightly by the persistent wearing of trousers that are ridiculously too low! Townsend’s voice is wonderful, perfect for the part, in complete contrast to that of Marius, played by Perez, who makes the age-old, powerful, friendly vampire camp and whiney. For any Anne Rice fans like myself, ensure you have a gag handy to stop yourself disturbing other cinemagoers with your enraged screams. Also be warned the directors have introduced bizarre sex scenes such as Lestat crawling around on the floor and walls growling and then a steamy bath of petals (a little too reminiscent of ‘American Beauty’). If, however, you haven’t read the book and appreciated ‘Interview’, go watch, enjoy...and avoid the people who are clutching gags, just incase.   ¬¬


(This review appeared in Palatinate Sense supplement in Durham 2002 (but vastly altered by an annoying editor!))

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