Directed by Patrick Lussier
Starring Johnny Lee Miller, Gerard Butler and Christopher Plummer
BMM keywords: Gratuitous sex, Pitiful attempts at cool, egregious gore & Metal soundtrack, Gratuitous sweeping aerial shots.
A bunch of high-tech thieves break into Van Helsings antique
storage depot in London, steal a coffin believing it to have some treasures inside;
instead of containing valuables it has a lot of dry ice, some Leeches and the body of
Dracula. Who promptly awakes chows down on the thieves and heads to New Orleans in search
of Van Helsings daughter and future bride Mary. Van Helsing and his assistant Simon
following in not so hot pursuit whilst Dracula swaggers around Mardi Gras and record shops
chomping on nubile sexy teenagers until he gets to Mary.
Van Helsing gets killed leaving antiques dealer Simon to rescue Mary from the clutches of Dracula.
It all culminates in a rooftop finale where we find out Dracula was in fact Judas and has been cursed for eternal damnation to walk the Earth as an sexy charismatic immortal with superhuman strength (bummer!). The only way he can be killed is to be hung from a Crucifix in the Sun (whoa triple whammy!), which he is And Mary and Simon return to London to become Vampire hunters Or something.
If you're wondering about the title and the release date, it helps to know that the US title was Dracula 2000, but in the UK it wasn't released until 2001.
Ah Dracula; One of those choice roles that needs a very charismatic actor to play. Who do with get for this films Dracula? The bastard love child of Art Malick and Paul Mcgann. Gerard Butler flounders in the role with almost zero chemistry and charisma. With his incessant whinging, billowy clothes and Kevin Keagan Mullet hairstyle hes supposed to be a hit with the ladies? Theres a scene where he minces into a Virgin Megastore dressed in a dressing gown (only one of the numerous product placements for Virgin in the film) thats full of sexy young woman, all of which stare misty eyed at him and he proceeds to cop off with Marys flatmate.
Hes ably backed up in bad acting stakes (no pun intended) by Johnny Lee Miller who lumbers through the film with an equally silly haircut and Michael Caine/Dick Van Dyke cock-er-nee accent.
Christopher Plummer lends the film some class (and another
silly accent) as Van Helsing. Sadly he gets creamed almost as soon as hes explained
the plot though.
The females actually come off with a little more credibility. Mary (Justine Waddell) is quite watchable, and winsome enough for you to actually care about her. Jennifer Esposito and Teri Ryan, although with little to do other than ooze sex appeal and moan provocatively do it well.
The film is quick slickly done, with some great moody scenes (especially the ones set in Victorian London) and theres some nice effects and some interesting (albeit bizarre) ideas.
I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed it. The director keeps
things moving competently enough.
But in terms of quality, its pretty low.
Probably Van Helsing's rapid firing silver stake launcher. Or the ingenious multi-usage of garden shears to despatch vampires.
Production Values Good. Nice effects, moody settings, some funky zero gravity shagging scenes and a decent creepy score. Looses a few points for the shocking Virgin plugging every 20 minutes. 9
Dialogue and performance The script chugs along and is taken with a small bucketful of salt. Acting is varied between unadulterated ham (Plummer), cue card reading (Miller) sulky teenage brooding (Butler) and excessive pouting (Ryan, Esposito) 16
Plot and execution Everyone knows the Dracula plot, and this bends the rules slightly, but contains nothing too radical. Its well handled with some good action set pieces and pacing. 9
Randomness The plot jumps around a fair bit, but the majority of it is straightforward If you can get over the whole Judas thing. 10
Waste of potential Hey Ive come to realise therell never be a Dracula film to match the Christopher Lee ones. At least you knew where you were with Peter Cushing! 12
Directed by John Eryes
Starring Jurgen Prochnow (uh-oh), Bruce Payne (Uh-oh!) and Kelly Brook (UH-OH!!!!!)
BMM keywords: Incomprehensible, egregious violence, so bad it hurts, Gratuitous sweeping aerial shots, Bruce Payne.
The film opens with Molly (A.J Cook) running for her life in the
woods. All around her are women crucified to trees, and someone half buried "What do
you want from me?" she shouts before escaping onto what we later find out to be the
serial killers luxury yacht. She escapes, not before knocking a potential victim
into the propellers.
Fast forward five years and Molly (now Ginger and grungy) is studying a bizarre genetics/criminology 101 course with creepy profiler/writer/suspect Mr Kane (Payne, thankfully without turquoise lipstick!) a bunch of clichéd, and not terribly likeable, teenagers (including former Big Breakfast presenter Brook).
One by one her classmates get pegged off, so the remaining students band together to do a profile of the murderer (despite the randomness of the killings!)
They deduce its in fact a copycat killer of Jack the Ripper, and conveniently (although not for them) all their initials match the original Whitechapel victims of 1886, so they are all for the chop
After some timewasting pop-promo bits involving Molly running, climbing cliffs and graffiting her basement (or is it a roof?) and snogging Mr Kane, the teens go off to an empty shack in the woods (for some reason). Soon after, the lights all go out, and the Satellite phone needs re-installing, everyone goes off to get help, get on-line or get killed.
It turns out it was Bruce Payne all along No wait, it was a schizophrenic Molly No wait itll all be explained at the end.
Pretty much everything. Acting, directing, writing, credibility Its all wrong!
Nothing at all.
Man Alive! Its the worst film Bruce Payne has ever been in! Quake in your boots, it truly is!
There isnt one Unless the concept of Kelly Brook being dropped from a roof, then repeatedly stabbed is a plus point.
Production Values Grainy, dimly lit woods, epileptic editing. The mumbling French actress or the mumbling German U-boat captain (Jurgen Prochnow) are given all the explanation scenes. 19
Dialogue and performance The script has classy retorts like "Fuck you man!" and nubile young teenagers walk down corridors saying "Is there anyone in here?". The entire cast is forgettable; Bruce and Jurgen dont even seem to be remotely interested in trying. The day when even Bruce Payne cant be arsed to ham up for your film You know youve got troubles! 18
Plot and execution The plot rambles along at a snails pace until it is time for another teenager to be butchered. There is no red herrings, no twists Just confusion. Its a complete shambles. Im honestly surprised there wasnt an Alan Smithee director credit 19
Randomness Where to begin? The whole thing doesnt make a scrape of sense. How did Molly get into the woods at the start? What was all the crucifixion stuff (Not Jack the Rippers M.O)? Who was the killer? Why do none of the students notice theres a new kid in there class (he was on loan from the Drama class, to fake begin sliced by Mr Kane)? Who, what where and a big side order of Why? 20
Waste of Potential This could have been a decent trashy teen slasher. Or a contemporary Ripper story Hell the James Spader film Jacks Back showed it could be done, in America and reasonably well made. I actually rented a second Jack the Ripper film as part of a double bill But it was actually too good to review (it looked Oscar worthy compared to this), and that was a TV movie starring Patrick Bergin and Michael York 19
Secret experiment, Unstopabble monster, Deadly mistake...
Directed by Jon Hess
Starring Corey Haim and Michael Ironside.
When whiney teenager Travis Cornell (Corey Haim) finds a stray super
intelligent dog he takes it in, only to realise its being stalked by a super
psychotic baboon/gorilla hybrid designed as the ultimate soldier (isnt that Kurt
Russell?) called the Oxcom.
Michael Ironside shows up as NSO Agent Johnson tracking both creatures and generally killing witnesses (after explaining them the plot). But wait Michael Ironside is also a genetically mutated killing machine.
The end gets all a bit Macguyver as Haim goes off into the woods, builds lots of traps and gadgets, stabs Ironside in the neck and has a final mano-a-talon with the Oxcom.
Corey Haim, who spends the entire film whinging, or mugging at the camera. The dull pacing, over egged direction and 80s sub Terminator score. Limp performances (even from Michael Ironside). And theres clearly no hiding the fact that its a bloke in an unconvincing Gorilla costume as the Oxcom.
The dog, who is by far the best actor in the whole thing.
Its another of those films you remember liking when you 13 But then realise they are in fact complete shite
When Jason Priestly and the guy with the black mullet (with blond streaks) get ripped apart by the monster. Thank God!
Production Values Mostly filmed in woodland settings (in Canada). The effects are of the crappy dude in a Monkey suit variety. 17
Dialogue and performances Limp, none of the actors are trying At all. The script is nothing special; lots of dull explanation scenes and even duller gory deaths. 14
Plot and execution The plot was actually based on the Novel, and is quite a good concept. But the whole thing has been butchered and cack-handedly directed you couldnt care less. As for the protagonists, you begin to wish the heroes would just get killed to stop their moaning (or high pitch shrieking which goes for Haim too) and the baddies are either Michael Ironside (no sympathy there) or Chewbacca's little brother. 16
Randomness When compressing a 400-page best-seller into a Roger Corman produced 80-minute movie, you can guess theres been some trimming. So inevitably huge sections are missing, so it doesnt really make sense. Plus the crowbarred Michael Ironside is a genetically created killing machine scene suddenly crops up at the end, and serves no purpose, other than to make him evil(er). 17
Waste of Potential A cracking novel, with a great storyline, lots of action, sex and scares, a solid buffed hero, decent characters (well as decent as Dean Koontz gets), this was brimming with possibilities But what did we get? Corey Haim, with a mullet, shrieking like a girl Get in line folks! 20