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December 9, 2004


Blade: Gay Vampire Slayers


Blade: Trinity, which was released last night, is not the best of the Blade trilogy. For the first half-hour or so, it's not even what you would call "good", at least in the strictest sense of the word. Blade II was better; the writer/director of this latest installment used some of the same stylistic elements that Guillermo del Toro developed, including that freaky bifurcated-jaw thing, on some of the vampires. But the movie gets better as it goes along, and if you would rather have fun at the movies than watch something artistically stimulating, the overall not-greatness of it won't matter a bit.

But if your movie-viewing decisions rest on how gay a movie is, then run, don't walk. Blade: Trinity is the gayest vampire movie I've ever seen, and I say that in the most congratulatory way possible. All those lesbian vampire movies of the '60's and '70's are cool, but obvious. Blade requires you to use your imagination, at least a little bit.

Let's start with the king of homoeroticism, Ryan Reynolds (who we discussed earlier as the new, younger, and better cut version of Stephen Dorff.) I would argue that the entire subtext of the movie focuses on Ryan's character being gay. You know those guys that you might have known in high school or college who make a lot of jokes about being gay or being attracted to men, or acting effeminate? But they do it all the time, and the jokes aren't really that funny? But after they make these jokes, they laugh uproariously and are like "Dude, I'm just kidding!" even though you've already heard hundreds of similar jokes from them in the past? And then, usually, you find out 5-10 years later that, in fact, that guy has come out as being gay? Ryan Reynolds is like that. His character is the jokey, comedic center of the movie, and just as an example, here is his first joke in the movie: When Blade asks him how he bankrolls his vampire slaying operation, he says, "Well, I date a lot of rich guys." After quizzical looks from other cast members, he says he's just kidding. You had us for a second there, Ryan! And it just goes on from there. Some of his lines are funny, but many of them are irritating, as this type of joke tends to be.

These kinds of guys that I referenced earlier, the ones with the constant unfunny jokes about being gay, also tend to sound very strained and nonsensical when they talk about women, like they are constructing an artificial image of heterosexuality. When the Ryan Reynolds character makes mention of a woman he used to be involved with, he says she has "fangs in her vagina." Yeah, that guy loves the ladies! I mean, he is actually talking about a vampire in this scene, but still.

Interestingly, the subtext of Ryan Reynolds' character being gay might actually be about Ryan Reynolds himself being gay. On a recent appearance on Conan that ADM told me about, he made jokes of the same variety during the interview, when he wasn't even in character or anything. Jokes like this: "So I'd come home from the set every day and be like, 'Well, today I shot a full load in a guy's face!'" There are obviously a lot of different levels operating here, but I can't speculate on whether this is a case of the actor putting a lot of his own characteristics into a character, or the actor adopting the homoerotic undertones of the character he plays.

So then we come to Jessica Biel, who plays the other new vampire slayer. I think Jessica and the character played by Natasha Lyonne are lovers in the movie, and this seems to be suggested clearly enough that it's not even really subtext (just plain 'text'?). Also interesting is that there is zero sexual tension between the two young new vampire slayers (even in scenes like the one in the photo above.) How many action movies involve male and female co-stars in which there is zero hint of romantic involvement? There are none, unless you count action movies in which both the male and female co-stars are gay, like this one.

Aside from all the interesting gay slayers stuff, another good thing about the movie is Wesley Snipes, and his improving skills in delivering the one-liner. This used to be exclusively Kris Kristofferson's territory in the Blade series, but Wesley has obviously been working on his comedy skills.

The RZA did the original soundtrack, and it's very good. Though in any future installments I would recommend not using songs during montage scenes that actually include vocalists saying "Daywalker." It's just silly.

categories: Gender, Movies, Sex
posted by amy at 12:22 PM | #

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