Super-Vampires Test Wesley Snipes' Mettle in 'Blade II'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Tuckman Daily Herald Correspondent

The following video titles arrive at local stores this week:

"Blade II"

(2002, New Line, 117 minutes, Rated R-sexual situations, violence, language; $22.94; also available on DVD)

The first "Blade" film, based on the Marvel Comics superhero, was a big hit. In this sequel, the half-vampire, half-human hero Blade (Wesley Snipes) is back on the street and looking for vengeance.

Here, Blade is asked to join forces with his former vampire adversaries to eliminate altered super-vampires that must feed on the DNA of Blade and his lesser vampires to exist. The coven's goal is to convert all of humanity. Blade believes that such a wholesale conversion of humanity will result in the biblically predicted Armageddon, and he must stop this catastrophe.

Blade frees his former weapons inventor and mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) from stasis, energizes his current weapons designer Scud (Norman Reedus) and recruits a few trustworthy vampires to do battle. They go underground to dismantle and eliminate the super-vampires, while discovering that there is a mole much closer to home.

The film is imaginative and unique (and at times grotesque). It is loaded with good action and excellent special effects.

Family

"Mickey's House of Villains"

(2002, Disney, 70 minutes, $22.99; also available on DVD)

This is the first movie to bring together Disney's greatest villains - in all, more than 150 terrific characters. It features an array of classic Disney cartoons, shorts and a fun song by the villains titled "It's Our House Now!"

The best meet the baddest when Mickey Mouse comes face to face with the Disney villains for a night of mischief and mayhem that is sure to leave the whole family laughing.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy have their hands full when the wicked Jafar teams up with Cruella, Hades, Ursula, Capt. Hook, Maleficent and all of the other dastardly villains in a wild attempt to turn the House of Mouse into the House of Villains. These scene-stealing villains stage their showdown with a show- stopping musical number.

"Slammin' Sammy: The Sammy Sosa Story"

1/2 (2002, Urban Vision Entertainment, 60 minutes, $12.95; also available on DVD)

Kids and their families will love this enlightening animated tale based on Sammy Sosa's own stirring life. It tells the true story of a young, poor boy growing up in the Dominican Republic who, with hopes, dreams and guidance, becomes one of the pre- eminent and most popular baseball stars in the game.

Sosa personally participated in the creation and production of the video. His story is proof that you can reach your dreams, and shows the importance of family, determination and hard work, which are valuable lessons for children to experience.

Music

"Janet Jackson: Live in Hawaii" (Eagle Rock Entertainment/Warner Home Video, 95 minutes, $19.98; also available on DVD)

Janet Jackson's terrific concert, which aired on HBO from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, concluded her sold-out "All for You" tour.

Directed by Emmy Award winner David Mallet, the concert captures Janet's dynamic live performance and showcases the brilliant visual sense and style that have captivated concertgoers for more than a decade. She dances and performs hits from her extensive catalog of music, including songs from her hit album "All for You."

Special Interest

"Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age of Comedy" (Creative Light Entertainment, 108 minutes, $19.95; also available on DVD)

Narrated by Rob Reiner, this documentary explores how Caesar assembled his "dream team" of comedy - which included Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris and Larry Gelbart - for his groundbreaking sketch comedy programs "Admiral Broadway Reviews," "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour. …