Last week, having finished a huge project, I was in the mood for a turn-the-brain-off action flick. Blade II was showing at the 2nd run theater -- perfect! It was exactly as billed in the previews: loud, fast, and lots of action. And, somewhat surprisingly, it was really fun. Inspired (or perhaps deranged), and craving more ridiculous martial-arts movies, I then rented Blade (and Iron Monkey -- excellent!) and watched it. I remember the reviews for Blade being poor, so I had low expectations. But it exceeded my expectations, and turned out to be a decent movie (at least for my tired, brain-dead state). What I found most interesting were the complementary strengths of Blade and Blade II. The first had better character exposition and development. Who, what and why Blade was, was much better explained in the first movie. But the style and internal logic felt inconsistent, as if the directors couldn't quite make up their mind what they were going for. I think this is clearly shown in the explanation of Vampirism as a physical, not spiritual affliction; yet the movie's climax involves supernatural forces of evil. The ending didn't follow the internal logic of the movie. The second movie, however, is the reverse. it had much less character development (almost none), and only gave the basics of who Blade was. This could in part be because this was done in the first movie. Even so, it was very weak on the characters. But, to its credit, Blade II felt much more consistent. The story and plot devices were consistent with the premise of these worldly Vampires. The style also seemed unified throughout. In all, it just held together better. My biggest complaint is the choppy, fast cuts during fight scenes. The first movie, as well as parts of the second, show that these cuts aren't needed to hide weaknesses of the fight scenes. Snipes seems to be quite good, and the movie would be improved by showing the fight scenes in all of the choreographed beauty. If you've got a hankering for popcorn action movie, and don't mind some gore, then Blade II is fun. And Blade isn't too bad either.