Van Helsing


Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Written by:Stephen Sommers
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley
Released: May 6, 2004
Grade: C-

I am not going to try and sugar coat it.  I am going to be truthful and honest.  It may only be May but I am already declaring.  Get ready because here’s your quote for the movie poster… “Van Helsing is the worst motion picture of the year!”

Hugh Jackman may drive a stake through the heart of Count Dracula but he may also be driving a stake through his own career.  The dialogue which spews from his mouth is cheesier than a James Bond movie.  It literally is laughable.  I chuckled on several occasions.   The same applies to Kate Beckinsale who produces an embarrassing fake accent.

What is this nightmare about?  Well, Van Helsing (Jackman) is some super guy who has been killing bad guys for thousands of years.  He’s just finished off Dr. Jekyll and now is looking to slay Dracula.  Off he heads to Transylvania where he meets the princess of the town, Anna Valerious (Beckinsale).  Her brother was recently slain by Dracula and she wants revenge.

So the two team up and along with Van Helsing’s goofy sidekick, Carl (Wenham), they look to find Dracula’s lair and ultimately, his weakness.  After 10 minutes of this film I was looking to walk out.  So imagine my delight in staying for a whopping 132 minutes only to see the predictable finale play itself out (complete with more cheesy dialogue).

Suffice to say this film won’t be winning any awards for its special effects.  I shouldn’t even be using the term “special” as it may be misleading.  80% of the film looks like it was generated by a Commodore 64 and I’d say that the real Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale appear in about 5 minutes worth of actual footage.  For the rest of the movie, they are played by stuntmen and unrealistic computer graphics.

Universal Studios aren’t helping the film’s chances at box-office success by promoting it as being “from the director of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns”.  The man they are referring to is Stephen Sommers and he would be one of the most overrated directors in the business.  He has no idea how to make an action film and has become consumed by the whole process.  In Van Helsing, the camera moves all over the place and at times I had no idea what was going on.  If we are fortunate, the film will tank when released in the U.S. this weekend and Sommers will consider a career change.

Let’s say that what’s on screen certainly puts the “hell” into Van Hel-sing.  Tacky cliché isn’t it?  You ain’t seen nothing yet!