Thanks to the fact that Blade did not suck, Blade II is able to do what every great sequel should: give you more fun with characters you already know and like. Since the first film gave us all of the information on our principal characters and given circumstances, we can pick right back up with those characters and circumstances and get excited about what they do next. As long as what they do next is interesting and not in conflict with what has been established (looking backwards at you IM2...).
Fortunately, Blade II delivers upon that promise. A new breed of vampire has hit the streets and this one is a threat to both human and vampire alike. This forces Blade to forge an extremely uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to stop this new threat. The nice part of a plot like this is that is puts our hero in a compromising position where he is regularly in conflict with his own principles. He is also always in danger since his allies would also be just as happy to see him taken out. This keeps the hero in the hot seat and puts him to the test. Fans of Empire Strikes Back will recognize these themes. Blade II keeps the tension high through smart pacing of the action and drama. There are plenty of reversals, betrayals, and good old vampire smashing to keep the audience engaged until the credits roll. Blade II is very satisfying from a storytelling standpoint.
Snipes reprises the role he defined in the previous film and is obviously very comfortable back in the trench coat. He and Kristofferson make a dynamic pairing again and the inclusion of Scud is not as annoying as you might think, particularly as the plot thickens. The villains are, again, very standard vampire villains and do a good job of exploding into dust when killed, exactly what you want and expect from villains in a film like this.
Blade II rises above it's predecessor because it manages to build upon the foundations of the first film while maintaining the spirit of it. The plot is a fine-tuned and a little smarter than that of the first and manages to sneak in a few good twists. The campiness factor is toned down a bit in this sequel, but Snipes keeps us entertained and makes Blade a fun hero to cheer for. It's not exactly high cinema, but Blade II manages to deliver on every promise it makes and ends up being a very satisfying experience.
Ok, I have very little to say here, other than this is a movie that exceeds the limitations of its predecessor and manages, at the same time, to recapture all the fun and excitement of the original film. Everything that was right about Blade comes back, while many of the problems--most notably the plot--are sufficiently addressed. This makes Blade II a highly satisfying effort for the franchise--although it will unfortunately remain the high note, thanks to Blade: Trinity.
I enjoyed this film, but I'll admit right now that I don't feel qualified to comment too much more. I fell asleep during part of the late middle, and had to have Stan fill me in on what I had missed. Now, before you assume that my falling asleep was the result of poor film making, I would like to point out that during my viewing of Blade II I was suffering from early pregnancy symptoms and had no clue why I would ever fall asleep at 9pm. While I saw 90% and was able to argue for a good ranking, I can't feel comfortable railing or praising the way I usually do. It doesn't help that this movie is just quietly satisfying, without anything too annoying (like Ryan Reynolds, for example.)
Since Stan has it covered, here are two adorable cats: