What The Hell Happened To Wesley Snipes?
From the A-list to direct-to-video...the Tomatometer tracks where he went wrong.
The Downward Slide
After a two-year hiatus, Snipes was back...or so it seemed. Tackling both acting and executive producing duties on the U.N. thriller The Art of War, Snipes was once again in his groove. But the film was a critical and commercial failure, serving up Snipes' second-worst career Tomatometer rating. He countered with the HBO romantic drama Disappearing Acts, based on a Terry McMillan novel, but otherwise took another uncharacteristic break from major studio projects. A 2000 investigation into alleged ties between his bodyguard company and an extremist cult in Georgia, later dismissed, didn't help improve his reputation. Luckily, Snipes would soon return to his new magic formula: The Blade franchise. Blade II benefitted from Guillermo del Toro's action-packed direction, though critics marked it just shy of Fresh; Snipes picked up additional credits as producer and fight coordinator and the film surpassed the original with a franchise-best box office take.
But following the huge success of Blade II, Snipes seemed to simply be killing time until the next Blade sequel. He married South Korean painter Nakyung Park in 2003 and spent the subsequent years splitting time between Asia and the United States. His in-between projects varied from independent drama (David S. Goyer's directorial debut, ZigZag -- which opened in exactly one theater) to a prison boxing B-movie opposite Ving Rhames (Undisputed) to a guest spot on The Bernie Mac Show. Of the four films completed between Blade II and Blade: Trinity, only Undisputed opened in wide release. During this time, Snipes also hit a major milestone in his career: he had his very first direct-to-video clunker (Unstoppable). Shortly thereafter, when Blade: Trinity opened in 2004 and became the worst-reviewed and weakest-performing film in the series, the honeymoon was over for Snipes and New Line. In 2005 he sued frequent collaborator Goyer and New Line Cinema for damages from the film's failure.
Next: Exile in Direct-To-Video Land