There are two ways to kill people in Blade II. You can be elaborately technical in your combat, which is how Blade (Wesley Snipes) -- half human, half vampire, and all sulky -- tends to go about it; at various points, he wields a samurai sword, phosphorous bombs, and his own acrobatic, kicking-off-the-walls body. (In a nice touch, the camera sometimes twirls right along with him.) Or you can be elaborately slurpy in your flesh-eating, which is the mode preferred by the villains. They're a crew of deluxe vampires who look like Nosferatu with skin made entirely of blue cheese. These supersuckers have mouths that split open into...much bigger mouths, the cavities adorned with a gelatinous thrusting thingy that unfurls like calamari with genitals. (Hey, I just report this stuff.)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, ''Blade II'' is less obsessed with its hero as a fashion statement of new-millennium demon chic than the first ''Blade'' was. The new film seems equally influenced by videogames and open-heart surgery. Del Toro lays on the operatic head-trip gore, but his heavy-handed embrace of the ''Blade'' mythology allows Wesley Snipes to give more of a performance than he did in the first film. He taps a note of stylized pathos in his portrayal of a hero caught between worlds. Could it be that Snipes, a good actor who became an action star, got caught between worlds himself?