out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Will Kemp, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Silvia Colloca, Martin Klebba, Samuel West||
Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4
Being an avid Hugh Jackman fan and devotee of Dracula legend, I was so
looking forward to this supernatural saga of the fables 19th-century vampire
hunter. But it's a disappointment.
Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a man-on-a-mission, determined to
rid the world of its most evil, nightmarish creatures. Working through a
clandestine Catholic connection, he's off to slay Count Dracula (Richard
Roxburgh), along with Dracula's jealous, bloodthirsty brides. But in
Transylvania, he's not the only vampire hunter. There's intrepid, corset-clad
Anna Valerious (sexy Kate Beckinsale), plus Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf
Man, even Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
Best known for his "Mummy" films, writer/director Stephen Sommers
primarily concentrates on the stylishly visual action sequences and - to his
credit - the photography, atmospheric Prague locales and stunts (primarily
wire-work) are eye-candy, particularly when Dracula walks up a pillar and
across the ceiling, while his brides are hanging upside down. For comic relief,
there's Friar Carl (David Wenman), Igor (Kevin J. O'Connor) and Dracula's tiny
CGI gremlins. But the characters and cliché Gothic creatures, culled from
Universal Studios' archives, lack substance, complexity, even originality,
although, eventually, one discovers that enigmatic Van Helsing has something in
common with the monsters he's killing, personal issues. Saying more than that
would reveal too much. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Van Helsing" is
a fast-paced, flashy, fiendish 5. To capitalize on this campy
creature-feature, on May 11th, there's a new, animated, half-hour,
direct-to-video prequel, "Van Helsing: The London Assignment." But - bottom
line - Hugh Jackman deserves better, even if this becomes another franchise.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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