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Van Helsing (2004)

  Tags: action, adventure, David Wenham, dracula, Elena Anaya, frankenstein, Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Kevin J. O'Connor, lycan, monsters, Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley, Stephen Sommers, Van Helsing, werewolf, Will Kemp, wolf man, wolfman

Your rating: None Average: 7.3 (8 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
6

vanhelsing.jpg
Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Stephen Sommers
Runtime: 
132 minutes
Cast: 
Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J. O'Connor


We may remember the name Stephen Sommers as the director of the action/adventure/horrorish movie with Brendan Frasier entitled, The Mummy, which is a movie I really enjoyed at the time. This time he brings the same action formula and mixes it with a few classic monsters. So does it work? Yes and no. The movie does manage to be very entertaining, but with its plot-holes, predictability, and clichéd scenes, it really dumbs down the film into nothing more than eye candy. Visually the movie is excellent, with the use of dark and neon colors blended into a lot of the computer generated images, and the stunning scenery that would have been nothing without the use of computers were also eye-popping. It's just sad more effort went into the effects than the script itself.

The movie opens with a cool black and white sequence that shows Dracula double-crossing Dr. Frankenstein and leaving the laboratory in ruins with the Frank monster left in the rubble. Then the movie turns to color and follows the infamous monster hunter (made famous in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula) tracking down Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. We're shown a nice sequence of the two fighting it out, and given glimpses of the gadgets that Van Helsing uses to aid him. Then we're immediately thrown into a new "mission" where he has to help a gypsy family kill Dracula in order for their bloodline to enter the gates of heaven.

The movie has a lot of good action, but sadly even the action scenes are dumbed down by an unbelievable and cheesy sequence. Then again it's a monster movie, so all logic is basically thrown out the window. So how are the monsters? Well we don't get to see Frank much, since the story is mainly about Dracula, but once again he's portrayed as the misunderstood monster with a heart.

Next up is the Wolfman, or werewolves in general, since it's not just one person. I personally thought the wolves were the coolest of the monsters shown in this film, but that's probably beacause Dracula got his three brides to do all his dirty work. Actually we don't really get to see Drac do much more than talk until towards the end. Speaking of his brides, they had a larger role in this film than I expected, which is surprising since usually the brides aren't key characters, but in this case they were.

I wanted to like the movie more (I figured I'd at least give it a 7-rating), but after coming out of the theater I had mixed feelings. It was entertaining, but it was too damn predictable and clichéd for me. The cheesy lines and silly humor didn't help much either. This is a film that's obviously aimed at somewhat of a younger audience (hence the PG-13 rating), which is sucks for me since I felt it could have been a better film had it been darker. A little gore here and there doesn't hurt anything . In the end I felt a 6-rating was best for this since it was entertaining, but had too many flaws.

Entertaining, but cheesy and predictable. Silly and simple story that leaves the film to be nothing more than eye-candy for the audience. Worth a check for a no-brainer action-adventure-type flick, but avoid otherwise.

Posted on December 30, 2010 - 11:50am | FrighT MasteR

 

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