10/29/13

DRACULA III: LEGACY - REVIEW


And so a franchise that died soon after it started continues and ends with an instalment that may not be the worst of the bunch but which is still hardly impressive or necessary.

Luckily, it learns a little bit from Dracula II: Ascension's mistakes. For one thing, the main characters this time are Jason Scott Lee's badass priest and Jason London's jokey sidekick. That's a good thing. We follow these two as they fight off vampires on stilts and say unintentionally hilarious things like "You don't bless babies.". It's not great art but it just about kinda works. At least the film is trying to be somewhat fun and entertaining, which is more than I can say about its predecessor. Unfortunately, way too much time is spent waiting for the vampires to come out. So many scenes take place during the day when all our heroes can really do is spout out exposition and prepare for whatever's going to take place later. It's not terribly interesting and just makes you want to skip to the night scenes. The film is set in the near future and continues the plot of the second film as our priest and his buddy set out to find Dracula and save the girl they knew who reluctantly became his vampire gal the last time.

I do like that the film goes goofy places and doesn't seem to take itself quite as seriously as Dracula II did. Jason Scott Lee's super serious, one-liner-saying priest looks like he belongs in some Grindhouse flick and he does bring a welcome presence to the franchise. Having him in the background in the last film really made no sense. Neither sequel is even close to matching Dracula 2000 in terms of entertainment or style but a vampire-killing Bruce Lee priest is the best they could have hoped for in terms of a fun main character. Dracula III: Legacy is still absolutely ridiculous, of course, and the overuse of slow-mo, fast-forward and music video-style cinematography along with countless silly lines doesn't help make it not trashy. Rutger Hauer plays Dracula this time and although you don't see much of him throughout the film, he's a worthy reward at the end of it. Hauer is as over-the-top as you'd expect and it looks like all his scenes were shot in one afternoon, in the same studio but hey, I can't complain, it's still the most enjoyable casting choice since Christopher Plummer was Van Helsing in the first movie.

Overall, Dracula III is a slight step up from the dire Dracula II but it's still no Dracula 2000. The latter seemed to have just the right amounts of silliness and mindless entertainment. Dracula III is silly, for sure, but not always all that interesting. If you've seen the first two films, I'd say check this one out to complete the franchise but don't go out of your way to find it.

Forgettable but harmless.

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