Jamal is a graduate of Northeastern Seminary and writes on a broad range of topics. His writings are based on other points of view.
One of my favorite movie fight scenes was in 2002’s Blade II. The movie is a sequel to the first Blade movie; itself considered a martial arts masterpiece. The second movie had the challenge of surpassing its predecessor, and it did so. Right from the beginning of the movie, you can tell that Wesley Snipes upped his fighting game, especially in the intensity of his fights.
So when everything led up to the final battle between him and the vampire Nomak, it really delivered in terms of depth, impact, and even subversion. For context, Blade and his allies had been working with the vampires to defeat a new species of vampire, only to discover that vampires developed the species to supplant humans in daylight.
The vampire allies betray Blade after all, but two of his team are wiped out. Blade is tortured and nearly bleeds to death until his remaining ally, Whistler, rescues him. In the ensuing flight sequence, he defeats many guards and one of the vampires who betrayed him.
All this leads to the final climactic moment where the vampire clan leader is betrayed by his daughter, Nyssa. She betrays their father because of the callousness he has shown his own family. It turns out that Nomak is his son, who was betrayed by his father. In a double-cross of their own, Blade had allied himself with Nomak as he now launches a one-vampire attack on the headquarters.
After slaughtering many guards in pursuit of his father, Nomak finally catches up to him, thanks to his sister. Nomak kills his father just as when Blade arrives. He proposes that Blade should join forces with him for the second time because they both have the same enemies. Blade, however, is in a rage and thus begins this epic battle.
A Time of Unlikely Brutality
I consider this one of the best battles I have ever seen because of its brutality and the uniqueness in which it is delivered. This was a time when superhero movies were still considered small-time and one-dimensional. Little about the movies of this time were nuanced, which came out in the final battles.
They usually follow the simple script of hero shows up, hero fights well, hero starts to lose, hero gets a second wind from some sort of inspiration, and hero triumphs. Blade II does not follow this precedent.
The vampire’s leader, whom Blade is sworn to kill, is not killed by Blade but instead by his other antagonist, Nomak. Already we are made to sympathize with Nomak because the first time we see him, he’s killing vampires. He’s been betrayed, and with the exception of killing a bunch of people, seems to come off as a decent guy or have some code that other vampires don’t.
All that said, the ensuing fight begins with the two rushing each other, yelling battle cries. Nothing fancy, nothing pretty, just two animals charging at each other ready to rip each others’ throats out. The initial fight is very even. Both Blade and Nomak seem to be unable to outdo the other because each one tends to overcome the others’ advantages.
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Being the martial artist, Blade is strong and faster than Nomak, yet Nomak matches Blade’s strength with his brute strength and rage, and his healing abilities heal any severe damage Blade inflicts. However, as the fight goes on, Nomak slowly begins to get the upper hand, and it becomes apparent that Blade is barely surviving.
This point is usually when the famous second wind of a fight kicks in for Hollywood fight scenes. The character remembers something that inspires him, or the villain becomes cocky or goes into a monologue. None of this happens in this fight. Blade is on the ropes, and he’s nearly done for. There is no second wind to be had for him. However, what he manages to do is to outsmart Nomak.
Being tossed near his broken sword that he previously stabbed him with, the wounded Blade hides it and allows himself to be manhandled by Nomak to bite him. Once in range, he blocks Nomak’s attempt to bite him, stabbing him through his ribs, which is the only weak point he has. Mortally wounded, Nomak willingly finishes himself off while still appearing sympathetic.
There are a lot of intricacies in this flight that make it special. The first one is Blade not winning through superior fighting ability or strength as he has been throughout most of the movie but instead through guile and intelligence. Also, there's the matter of who is the villain here.
For a good portion of the movie, though Nomak is seen killing people, he is also projected as a victim. He was a prince among vampires and did not choose to be this way, yet was sacrificed by his ambitious father to create the perfect vampire.
He has redeeming qualities, seeking a truce with Blade rather than fighting him at nearly every turn. It is Blade who initiates all their engagements. The argument can easily be made for the necessity to eliminate Nomak; however, that does not change the fact that he was taking the high road for the most part.
Another intricacy is the intimacy of this battle. Both men were highly motivated by personal stakes, with Nomak having just killed his father and is about to kill his sister, and Blade seeing that he had already bitten Nyssa and is already in a blood rage. So that's what makes the fight in many ways different from other typical fights, which are more straightforward and bland.
Another thing that is special about this fight is its viciousness. At this time, you did not get a lot of superhero movies, much less superhero movies that featured a level of violence such as bone-breaking and heads being thrown into walls, which is what happened to Blade during his fight. Also, it's worth mentioning the intricate maneuvers and techniques used in the fight.
While Nomak was a brute strength fighter, he was not a novice to certain martial arts techniques and used them in his style. Yet he more frequently relied on his superior physical attributes. Blade, meanwhile, had been fighting almost at leisure before this battle, as shown in the fluidity and quickness of his movements. Nearly all of that is not apparent with this battle. It was up close, it was brutal, and it was personal. There was no sense of prettiness or looking cool to this fight.
And yet even within this chaotic mess, it still looked cool. And I find that amazing. So that is my take on this final on this fight for Blade II. It's a unique standout among so many other superhero fight scenes because it's intentionally more violent while still having nuances that are subtle but present.
Blade vs. Nomak Final Fight
© 2021 Jamal Smith