By Marc S. Sanders

Never seen it before!!!! Finally at the behest of my colleague Miguel Rodriguez and company I sat down to take in the view.

Tom Berenger was a B leading man of the 1980s. Rugged with shaggy hair and a hoarse voice in films like Platoon, Someone To Watch Over Me and Shoot To Kill (a secret favorite of mine). Here in Major League, he carries on that tradition as an aging ball player with bad knees. He’s not given many of the gags, but he sure is likable. I didn’t need the inevitable romantic subplot with Rene Russo. Nothing great there. When he’s playing the ball player in a catcher’s uniform though, Berenger is at his best.

Wesley Snipes shows the future of his albeit temporary star power. He’s not on the level of Eddie Murphy funny but he made me laugh nonetheless, as the base stealer. His entrance into the film is hilarious. A cross between a Bentley & Volkswagen Beetle perfectly sums up his character. Looks like class when really he’s got none.

Dennis Haysbert is one guy I never knew was featured. Now, this guy can bring the comedy as a Voodoo believer trying to get his idols to help him hit a curve ball pitch. He was my favorite.

Charlie Sheen is the Wild Thing. It’s not so much Charlie Sheen’s talent. It’s how his character is written that’s hilarious. Writer/Director David Ward (The Sting) doesn’t rely on dialogue for his 2nd billing star. Sheen doesn’t say much actually. Sheen brings the image of a near sighted, out of control, felon with a power arm teetering on 100mph. Throw in some nerd glasses, a punk haircut and an anthem song, and now you’ve got a gag to carry you through a good comedy.

Major League screams of an 80s picture, most especially with the synthesized keyboard soundtrack, Berenger’s Miami Vice sports jacket over a t-shirt, Bob Uecker (great timing as a sports announcer), and 80s mainstay Corbin Bernsen (TVs L.A. Law). Sure, it’s dated but I found the movie to be fun.

Not my favorite baseball film. That belongs to Bull Durham. Still, I’m glad I finally saw Major League.

Oh yeah. As in many sports movies, the team sucks (hey…it’s the Cleveland Indians), the owner wants to stay that way for profit and the team eventually unites themselves to victory.

Exactly!!!! Rene Russo has nothing to do with any of this.

BLADE II (2002)

by Miguel E. Rodriguez

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Norman Reedus, Donnie Yen
My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 57%

PLOT: Blade, half human/half vampire, forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire nation in order to combat a new breed of monster, the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires and humans alike.

Why don’t more people like this movie?  It’s like someone took the best fight scenes from The Matrix, removed the pretentious plotting, added a crapload of gore, and created one of the best villains in the history of vampire movies: the Reaper, an evil-looking creature whose lower jaw splits wide down the middle to reveal a blood-sucking appendage that might even give the Xenomorph nightmares.

Blade II is lean and mean.  Director Guillermo del Toro has gone on record as saying this was not exactly the movie he intended to make, as it doesn’t keep precisely to the Blade “canon” (in case you didn’t know, Blade is a lesser-known Marvel comics character who is scheduled to eventually make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).  However, despite his misgivings about this film, del Toro nevertheless created an action-horror masterpiece.

If you’re a fan of action films, what do you like?  Because it’s all here.  There are five great fight scenes, including a doozy in Blade’s own lair between Blade and two vampire ninjas wearing elaborate headgear that makes them look like humanoid bugs.  You like a great villain?  Here’s Jared Nomak, the vampire who carries the Reaper virus, whose wounds heal by themselves almost instantly, and who carries a dark secret.  His fighting skills are equal to those of Blade himself, who must learn to use more than brute force if he’s going to defeat Nomak.  (And let’s not overlook the cameo by Asian superstar Donnie Yen.)

You like a good story?  We got that, too.  Blade’s sworn enemies, the vampire nation, are forced to approach Blade for help when it becomes apparent they are no match for the Reapers.  Blade HAS to help, because who will the Reapers go after once they dispatch all the vampires?  Humans.  So you have the whole “uneasy alliance” going on, with no one more uneasy than Reinhardt, a vampire played by a deliciously malevolent Ron Perlman.  Reinhardt goes along with the plan, but can’t resist poking the tiger by asking Blade, “…can you blush?”  Blade’s response gives a whole new meaning to the term “kill switch.”  Game, set, match.

This is also a horror film, let’s not forget.  You like scares?  How about the part where a Reaper gets pinned to a wall with a ninja sword through its stomach…but escapes by crawling backwards up the wall, forcing the sword to slice through his body as he skitters away, unfazed by the damage?  YIKES.  We got gore, too.  Blade and company perform an autopsy on a dead Reaper.  I haven’t seen that much detailed gore since the autopsy in John Carpenter’s The Thing.

I mean, seriously.  This movie has everything I want in an action movie that’s also a horror film.  It covers ALL the bases.  (I could’ve done without the quasi-love-story, but it’s not dwelt on too much, so I can live with it.)  What more could anyone ask for?

(Also, it’s great to listen to on a bad-ass audio system…BOOMING bass and sound effects.  Great stuff.)