Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh and
Directed by: Stephen "The Mummy Man" Sommers
speaking? For the first half of the film you're slipped into
a flamboyant schlock homage as Universal digs into their vaults
of horror-movie history and follows the past's hodge podging of
the tried and true mega-names in supernatural lore; Dracula, The
Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster!
Then suddenly - as if somebody watched the dailies and spewed,
"Monsters. See. We need monsters. These kids today want
more action. See. And call those bums in props - get some of that
green goo that's so popular with today's audiences!" as
the house lights come up, a group of clipboard wielding droogies
barked back, "Yes, JW. " - viola! For the last
half-ish of the film you feel as if you're in some pulsing Playstation®
But, Van Helsing is simply campy multi-plex multi-creature feature
fun, it doesn't take itself seriously - you'll giggle at the often-clever
dialog guffaws planted within all the super loaded special, remarkably
entertaining effects. And production designer Allan Cameron nailed
the familiar eerie lairs and creepy castles and foreboding town
down to the finest of macabre details.
Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a growling smarty-pants
styled hitman for the Vatican - with a past he can't recall, but
he's sure is pretty dark.
When Transylvanian citizen braggart Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh)
steps over his quota of villager he's granted to nosh upon, the
Big V sends Van Helsing to "tidy" up the villain.
route to his latest battle Van stops by the Vatican's underground
James Bond (if it were1868) institute of wacky scientists to load
up on evil fighting tools of the time. He gets a few bottles of
blessed H2O, a multi-stake shooting gun thingy and a new trusty
- reluctant - sidekick, with a goofy Beatle haircut, Friar "Carl"
and his daffy genius man Friday arrive to Drac's hood and find
a town filled with hostiles. None more so than the reigning noble
archenemy of Dracula, Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale). Anna's
family tree has been pruned for over four hundred years by the
fanged scoundrel Drac.
as we know even in the days of Vampiric Armageddon lusty love
finds its ways into the seams of any self-respecting B horror
so the sexual sparks immediately fly 'tween her and
Herr Helsing, as the two ass-kicking do-gooders battle a nonchalant
Count Chocula accented Dracula and his gaggle of Hustler-photo-shoot-in-a-harem
The evil plan Drac's brewed up this time around? Seems the old
devil has found a way to use Dr. Frankenstein's life-creating
device to animate his bat-demon seedlings from their oh-so-sci
fi fig shaped pods of gobbley goo. But, natch, Dracula killed
the fine Dr. in a heat of rage, and now relies on the Dr.'s left
over ne'r do well rat, Igor (Kevin J. O'Connor), to guide him
using (for some reason) Dr. Frankenstein's monster (Shuler Hensley)
to "ignite" the web of extension chords that run into
the pod filled "nursery," Drac's hoping he can rule
the world or something sinister like that (don't pick at the threads
or it'll all start to unravel dear).
but if Van and his band of misfit do-gooders figure out what an
odd, ominous, foretelling medieval painting, strategically hanging
in a "study" means
which is obviously the KEY (along
with some ripped scroll of paper Van Helsing's been schlepping
just a hunch) - the world will be saved!
Till the sequel
"Humina Humina" Jackman's looking quite edible in his
form-fitting Omish style costume
he's like a big ol' vat
of Carpathian goulash; spicy ingredients of manly yum
within a brooding barrel of finely roasted male bits!
not ye feline lovin' lot of you! Kate Beckinsale will have you
in fit of flutter - once you get over her silly Young Frankensteinish
accent that is.
underling co-stars are kept far from the graces of the cinematographer's
fine haired paint brushes - though Will Kemp (a studmuffin on-the-rise)
makes one's eyebrow properly rise in lustful lilts - and the "brides"
are basically purring sex kittens Eartha Kitt would be proud of
- the film is designed to showcase Kate and Hugh. The Frankenstein
monster, played by Shuler Hensley, is gratingly awkward
- in a Shakespeare on the Green leaping-over-the-Shiringshire-fence-top
dramalogue way - I'd have edited his droll stitched buttocks right
outta the piece.
yourself in, leave the plot seeking, logical, cynical, side of
the brain at home and you'll enjoy a kind of high tech visual
ride with oodles of familiar monsters. The gates of the official
summer blockbuster season are being whacked open! And these filmmakers
are in a tap dancing frenzy ultimately for your enjoyment!
Lightening crispy fried chicken and Carpathian Port