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Patton Oswalt Gets Brutally Honest About The Failures Of ‘Blade: Trinity’

Patton Oswalt

When the first Blade movie hit theater screens in August of 1998 it became a surprise smash hit and accomplished several noteworthy goals: it gave Wesley Snipes an iconic movie hero in the mold of Rambo and John McClane to call his own, spawned one of New Line Cinema’s most lucrative franchises since the heyday of Freddy Krueger and the Ninja Turtles, and it proved that Marvel Comics characters could successfully headline their own motion picture adventures, thus paving the way for Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers to rule the box office in the years that followed. It took four years for a sequel to come together but with Guillermo Del Toro at the helm, Blade II surpassed the original in every way and became one of the best comic book movie sequels of all. The rapturous reception from moviegoers and critics that greeted Blade II helped revive Del Toro’s American directing career.

Expectations were high for a third Blade movie; at one point German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) was rumored to take the reins for a post-apocalyptic sequel that would have had Snipes’ monosyllabic vampire hunter continue his neverending battle in a world dominated by the bloodthirsty undead. Instead David S. Goyer, the screenwriter who was instrumental in bringing Blade to the big screen, signed on to write and direct the movie that would be released in December 2004 as Blade: Trinity. The end result has since been deemed by many to be one of the worse comic book movies ever made, if not the absolute worse. Make no mistake friends, if you’ve never seen the movie you’re not missing anything at all. It’s atrocious. In the annals of superhero it ranks with the likes of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Elektra. Blade: Trinity makes other maligned third chapters of comic book movie franchises like X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3 look like masterpieces in comparison.

Much has been written since Blade: Trinity crawled out of theaters on its belly shortly after it made its premiere of the battles behind the scenes between Snipes and Goyer that far surpassed any and all of the movie’s many carnage-packed showdowns between Blade and his bloodsucking archenemies. One person who was there for nearly every dark second was actor, writer, and stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. In a recent career-spanning interview with the A.V. Club, Oswalt, who had a small supporting role as a tech geek supplying Blade with some killer weaponry that barely gets used, talked extensively and candidly about the problems that plagued the movie’s production from the very beginning. Not surprisingly, executives at New Line Cinema took issue with the tone Goyer wanted to establish for Blade: Trinity:

There’s a scene where Blade goes in and confronts this guy for harvesting humans. That scene was supposed to be the whole basis of the film. Blade is fighting for the last shred of humanity. But they thought that it was just so fucking grim, so they decided to just have Blade fighting Dracula. It was just one of those; it was a very troubled production.

Oswalt learned soon after joining the production that due to his unorthodox acting methods the star playing the movie’s titular hero was less than approachable when the cameras weren’t rolling:

When I met him I was like, “Hi!” And he was like, “I’m Blade.” And also, Natasha Lyonne was on that set, and she was going through some kind of mental breakdown. Wesley is all boundaries, and she has no boundaries. She played a blind computer expert. So the first scene they had together, she put her hand right on his face, and he just recoiled. It was awesome.

According to Oswalt, Snipes dealt with his increasing lack of interest in the movie by turning to copious amounts of marijuana and sometimes his own insecurity would lead to tense showdowns with the besieged Goyer:

Wesley [Snipes] was just fucking crazy in a hilarious way. He wouldn’t come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day. Which is fine with me, because I had all these DVDs that I wanted to catch up on. We were in Vancouver, and it was always raining. I kept the door to my trailer open to smell the evening rain while I was watching a movie. Then I remember one day on the set—they let everyone pick their own clothes—there was one black actor who was also kind of a club kid. And he wore this shirt with the word “Garbage” on it in big stylish letters. It was his shirt. And Wesley came down to the set, which he only did for close-ups. Everything else was done by his stand-in. I only did one scene with him. But he comes on and goes, “There’s only one other black guy in the movie, and you make him wear a shirt that says ‘Garbage?’ You racist motherfucker!” And he tried to strangle the director, David Goyer.

The slow deterioration of Snipes and Goyer’s professional relationship ultimately led to the director taking matters into his hands to deal with his temperamental lead actor in ways both humorous and dead serious, much like the tone of the Blade series:

So we went out that night to some strip club, and we were all drinking. And there were a bunch of bikers there, so David says to them, “I’ll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security.” Wesley freaked out and went back to his trailer. [Laughs.] And the next day, Wesley sat down with David and was like, “I think you need to quit. You’re detrimental to this movie.” And David was like, “Why don’t you quit? We’ve got all your close-ups, and we could shoot the rest with your stand-in.” And that freaked Wesley out so much that, for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note “From Blade.”

One of the problems Snipes had with the movie that he was not shy about voicing was the shifting of the narrative focus from Blade’s battle against the vampire hordes and their chosen leader Dracula (played by thick-necked Australian actor Dominic Purcell) to setting up a spin-off franchise based around the Nightstalkers, younger vampire slayers played by Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel who ended up taking away a chunk of Snipes’ screen time. As a result, the action hero would only show up for filming when absolutely necessary. Oswalt and the other actors found humorous ways to liven up the dour proceedings:

A lot of the lines that Ryan Reynolds has were just a result of Wesley not being there. We would all just think of things for him to say and then cut to Wesley’s face not doing anything because that’s all we could get from him. It was kind of funny. We were like, “What are the worst jokes and puns that we can say to this guy?” And then it would just be his face going, “Mmm.” “Smiles are contagious.” It’s so, so dumb. [Laughs.] That was an example of a very troubled shoot that we made fun. You have to find a way to make it fun.

Well I’m glad they had fun, but after one viewing of Blade: Trinity I was left wishing I had some of that primo shit Snipes was smoking in his trailer to relieve my psychic misery. Live and learn.

[Source: AV Club]

  • SNAmien

    Exactly. At least better. I love Del Toros Visual talent, and I thought the story was nice, but it’s the awsome fight scenes and the down to earth atmosphere that makes the first superior. The writer, Goyer, also co-wrote The Dark Knight movies, which I can see in another post you’re not a great fan of. And I agree. As I said, this kind of dead serious tone doesn’t work out for me, but it does in Blade.

  • releasethedogs

    quit feeding the troll

  • releasethedogs

    this guy is trolling you

  • Emanuel L Campbell III

    There are plenty of boobs in comic books. That is apart of the draw to begin with. How many Superheroines do you know that don’t show of their breasts, or their thighs in the comic books? Even Catwoman being dressed in completely latex is focused directly on her sexuality. There are very few superheroines who are completely and totally covered up.

  • Emanuel L Campbell III

    I really enjoyed it, but then again, I like eye-candy. Giant explosions, and fighting gigantic monsters is always fun for me. Sometimes, you don’t need a plot to enjoy a movie.

  • Melwing

    That was 7 months ago, so how about YOU quit feeding the troll? ;)

  • mark mccarty

    The flick isn’t that bad , as long as you take it tongue in cheek .

  • Private_Eyescream

    BLADE 3 would’ve been a great movie if they could’ve dumped the worthless major douchebag Wesley Snipes entirely and moved on using the secondary characters.

    That’s what they could have done with a BLADE 4 movie.
    While Wesley Snipes was in jail for years for tax evasion MARVEL should’ve dumped the drug addict idiot Wesley Snipes and just carried on the franchise without him. It would’ve been easier than you think given how he was almost absent entirely from the 3rd movie.

  • Private_Eyescream

    So that’s why Haiti, Jamaica, and every black nation is now populated with super-genius black folks with flying cars, black-invented super-computers, the richest nations are black nations, and there are no hungry black people…

    Oh wait.

    They’re still too dumb to even dig their own wells to grow food.

    (cough cough)
    Full of crazy beans they are.
    (Most blacks REALLY believe this to be true)

    1. The Mother Plane is made of the finest steel in Asia.
    2. It was made on the Island of Nippon (Japan) in 1929, and also took flight that same year.
    3. Black, Brown, Red and Yellow Scientists built the Mother Plane.
    4. The Scientists did not know what they were building.
    5. Her size is Half-mile by Half-mile square.
    6. Her shape is oval.
    7. Her speed is up to 9,000 miles per hour.
    8. Her flying ability is nine thousand (9,000) miles per hour in any direction, up or down, to or fro, in any direction without making a complete directional turn.
    9. Her contents are 1,500 small circular planes, as the devil calls them, “FLYING SAUCERS.”
    10. These small planes carry three (3) bombs each, they also shoot flames of fire.
    11. The Black men who pilot these small planes have been taught from the age of six that they are to do a special job.
    12. These pilots can hit any spot in America, blindfolded, as the Devil will soon see.
    13. The bombs that the small planes contain weigh two tons each.
    14. They are designed to drill into the Earth upon contact, and drill from one (1) to six (6) miles through stone and rock, and to explode, destroying civilization or any living matter (or life) within a fifty (50) mile radius.
    15. After these bombs explode, a poisonous gas is found to snuff out the remaining life, if any still exists.
    16. The purpose of the Mother Plane is to destroy the most wicked place ever to be on the planet Earth at any time (America, the Great Mystery Babylon).
    17. Her position is 40 miles out from the Earth’s sphere.
    18. She holds this position from 6 to 12 months at a time. When this time is up, the Mother Plane comes into the atmosphere to take in fresh air for our Brothers inside, then she retakes her position.
    19. At the dropping of the bombs, the flames will reach twelve (12) miles, in all directions.
    20. When the destruction comes, America will burn 390 years and take 610 years to cool off. The Great Mystery Babylon (America) will perish in the flames of fire. Allah will even cause the air which we breathe to ignite along with the atmosphere. Every atom will burn in and over America from a height of twelve(12) miles down.

  • John Drew

    I think what you’re missing is that Wesley Snipes had a executive Producers role in the first 2 installment of the Blade series. The High ups towards the final film, hit him with a re-write and a director change. Hence Goyer, who had in mind as soon as he got a directorial position changed the direction of the movie. Remember Goyer originally wrote the first Blade script but it was Wesley and Goyer who got New Line to go with the movie. It was Wesley – it was Goyer. Wesley did what most people who get screwed over do – they act out. Wesley could have just left the movie but he couldn’t – he was under contract. So, his acting out has an advantage – now he doesn’t have to work with Goyer or make any more Blade movies. They attempted to move it to TV but it flopped horribly. Why? Because Wesley said in bluntly, “I am Blade”.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    HILARIOUS!!! This right here is why Michael Jai White should get the role in a reboot!!!

  • TheHat

    I’m not a professed FANatic of Blade, but I really enjoyed all three films (never having seen them before I bought all three and booked it thorugh them)
    My honest opinion, I enjoyed blade Trinity the most (although #2 was really cool, just because of Norman Reedus, Luke Goss (great underrated actors) and Ron Pearlman (not his best film)).
    It seems to me that alot of fans may just be thinking back to what they ‘thought’ the first two films were, and that nostalgia is hard to reconcile with. Like I said I enjoyed all of them, but the first film actually seemed more “camp” than any of them (unlike what the commenters and reviewer think). The second film was a tighter well constructed plot with a bigger budget, but certain parts just fell down for me, it seemed too linear, I don’t know that was just my impression.
    Blade Trinity has a much sleeker feel, and yes it does have flaws but really…really…the other two had just as many if not more and it seems unfair to nitpick on the third film and not the other two.
    So I can really only speak to my own experience, which says after watching all three in few days, Blade Trinity is the best one, the one I enjoyed the most anyway.
    Would love to see a fourth film.

  • Michael Duff

    I guess I’m the one person who actually did like Blade Trinity. I admit I saw the 3rd movie first and then went back and saw 1 and 2. The 3rd is my favorite while the first 2 are good. Funny how Snipes is such an asshole. Maybe prison changed that for him.

  • Kal Tourette

    I can list a slew of DARK STORIES, tho the characters themselves may not be dark. Tony Stark is an alcoholic (nothing fun about that), Cap Am lost all his loved ones and seen world war 2 and faced NAZIs which are NOT fun stories, Hulk is a child who was was abused and witnessed his mother abused by a foul father as well as fighting the best within every second of the day, Superman lost an entire planet and since these characters are extensions of our reality, imagine how u would feel as an alien in a world because urs blew up? these stories are a few and NONE are fun. Peter Parker propelled the death of his uncle and lives with an aunt that struggles to make ends meat. he deals with villains who are serial killers and brutal murderers…the idea of these concepts are not “fun” lol, that’s what I meant

  • Kal Tourette

    I watched three transformers movies already…

  • Kal Tourette

    Blade 2 did have it’s flaws but it shits on all Marvel movies since after Ironman 1

  • Kal Tourette

    I wish all superhero stories were that serious tone, it’s my vision i have for them and the interpretations i grew up reading and liking, always hated campiness if the source material isn’t campy. everything is “comical” these days. loud laughs and gags smh

  • Smashy76

    Yep. Instead of Whistler being killed off, it should have been Blade. Then the “NightStalkers” should have come to the rescue with another “DayWalker” Vamp. One of the “NightStalkers” who is the source or reason for the existence of the Serum that keeps Blade from hunting humans.

  • Kat87

    Um. Blade Trinity was f-ing hilarious and this just explains why and heightens it. Also makes me want to watch it again.

  • Brian Drill

    I disagree. It’s upsetting to hear that Wes was no good to work with. Such a gifted martial artist and capable stuntman should be in as many of the shots as possible. While I definitely feel it was the weakest of the trilogy I still found it highly enjoyable. Snipes’ character was consistent, Biel was hot, Reynolds was hilarious and in awesome shape for the movie, and Dominic Purcell was a convincing Dracula with a modern twist. Triple H added a nice touch and the gadgets were cool too. There are plenty of worse superhero movies…

  • bfg666

    I can’t deny the stories often have dark premises, but the way they are written usually is not very dark. On the contrary, the tone is often quite light, with a lot of humor. Even the grumpy Wolverine has occasional fits of funny one-liners, though his humor is more cynical than, say, Spidey. The comic book world is, for its most part, entertainment. True dramas are exceptions.

  • bfg666

    Ouch! Why inflicting yourself such torture?

  • Marcel Moreau

    That’s because they haven’t been able to get off their asses and do a wonder woman movie or a well done update to a supergirl movie. Even a bad version of those two are superior to the abysmal mess that was Catwoman. Berry was the wrong person,and only got the role because of her time as Storm. She was right for Storm in the xmen movies, but wrong for catwoman.

  • Marcel Moreau

    I liked Blade 3. Sure it was the weakest of the three, but there was a lot of good about it, and it was certainly better then the 3rd xmen movie and 3rd spiderman movie.As for worse superhero movie all time, there was some really shitty captain america and spiderman movies in the 70′s. SM iv:QfP, even some of the lesser known ones are far worse.

  • MechaVelma

    Blade Trinity may have been bad, but it was nowhere near as bad as the TV series. David S Goyer is Michael Bay minus the explosions.

  • DJ Deezy ThaTruth


  • DJ Deezy ThaTruth

    Hard to make a good movie when the father of the movie basic doesnt have an heart in it… for good reason mind you. Seems he was more or less forced todo it their way or no way. Meh, Hollywood.

  • DChrls

    Funny, I found Oswalt’s and Natasha Lyonne acting to be very cheesy and out of sync/distracting. Kind of like they were trying to appeal to 10-12 year old kids. But the director, producer and whoever decided to cast them have to take blame for it as well.

  • troy

    Here’s a freebie for those mindless saps who keep remaking movies that have already been made .#1 Kevin Smith needs to direct Aflac as batman ( the duck not Ben ) #2 horror movies that should never have a sequel. I can’t help but think Showgirls 2 starring snooki would take the prize. Besides Gary Busie already made gingerdead 2,3,4……. I thought about Ironside but Christopher Reeves wouldn’t return the phone call. Seriously there are 3 things that need to be made. Boondock Saints 3 is the first. Troy Duffy has to stop talking to the people at Valve and make it before Sean Patrick Flanery needs a hip transplant. Next on the list is MY idea for the Star Trek franchise tv series .I call it Empires Based around the time of Enterprise C (yup what a F-ing dork I am) I’m think blood pit MMA Klingon vs Gorn ,to the death. And my prize to those who want the next Blade instalment . I would make Whistler. Bridge the gap while Snipes and Christoperson are still able . And to that little pencil necked geek that’s going to pitch my idea to the people who make movie/tv shows remember who you sole it from caus I have about 10 more movies if you cut me in………

  • fireinside

    I agree. I am still watching Blade. Nothing like it at the time. What does it say that I can’t remember what happened in 2 at all?

  • fireinside

    I have been watching Reynolds for years. He just isn’t lead material to me. Anyone hates the kid that will replace them.

  • fireinside

    In traditional vampire if you kill the head vamp everyone changes back. Why didn’t that happen here.

  • Rob Dotzler

    I got free tickets from the studio, no idea why they sent them to my petstore other than it was Catwoman. So, I had no right to demand my money back, but they sure as hell owed me for the portion of my life that was stollen as well as my employees that I shared the tickets with. It was an abomination and easily tops my list of worst movie of all time, not just a movie based on a comic book figure. It should have never left the studio and all but one copy destroyed (so it could be discovered later and treated like a Plan 9 type discovery 50 years down the road and given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment).

  • Brian

    One word…”playlists.” WTFF?! I can forgive a lot for a franchise I enjoy, but fucking vampire hunting playlists?! You lost me. I have to agree with crazy-high Wesley Pipes, “you need to quit.”

  • John V. Knowles

    I was at the Hollywood premiere where only Goyer and Biel were in attendance. When Goyer talked to the crowd he made nervous jokes about Snipes wanting to kill him during filming; the whole thing was just weird and awkward.

  • Ran1976

    it sort of did. The virus used to kill Dracula affected all the other vampires except Blade

  • VaioLance

    what a sad sad story

  • VaioLance

    Almost everything but that last part about him being too old.

  • Lateef Murdock

    Blade 3 was only good to people who like comedy in everything. For those of us who like movies that take themselves seriously, Blade 2 was the best of the bunch with the original coming in just behind that.

    Blade movies should be dark and gritty with lots of martial arts action. He’s not Spider-Man or Ironman. Keep the yucks down to a minimum. Del Toro understands horror and he set a perfect tone for the franchise. The story should also be top notch.

  • Mike Wilson-Barrett

    Wrong Catwoman despite overwhelming negative reviews and cast slagging it off was actually a very good STAND-ALONE movie.

  • Mike Wilson-Barrett

    Yes over and over and over and as a stand-alone film its good. In the canon of the Batman/Catwoman comics and story it’s not however they even said before the film was released that it was a standalone and should be viewed as that. Too many people attack the film due to their view it should be canon. It was a very good stand-alone film.

  • Melwing

    I have never seen anyone attacking it solely because it isn’t canon. They attack it because it’s a piece of crap movie. If you enjoy it, that’s totally fine. If your opinion is that its a fantastic movie, that’s totally fine. But the overwhelming majority of people would completely disagree.

  • Kal Tourette

    Guilty pleasure…i guess I’m a sadist of sorts lol

  • Kal Tourette

    Um, when did you last read a comic? These are trained killers for the most part…

  • Kal Tourette

    I always need a good plot. No reason to not have one

  • Pingback: The Deadpool Movie, PG-13 Ratings, And Why It Doesn’t Have To Be Terrible | #NerdSwag()

  • bfg666

    I read plenty every month. Violence and murder ain’t incompatible with humor (Deadpool or Kick-Ass ringing any bell?).

  • bfg666

    More like masochist: a sadist is the one who enjoys inflicting pain to others.

  • Pingback: Blade Trinity (2004) | The Bad Movie Marathon()

  • http://www.DarthContinent.com Darth Continent

    Sad that Kris Kristofferson’s best acting in Blade: Trinity was when he flipped off the FBI and then blew himself up.

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