August 17, 2012

Dracula III: Legacy (2005)

"In the near future, Uffizi and Luke travel to the remote reaches of war torn Romania to rescue Elizabeth and finish the vampire once and for all. Along the way, they encounter TV news journalists and a corps of rebels trying to fight the vampire uprising which plagues their country."

As much as it's silly to even hope for the second sequel in a trilogy to be worthwhile, I was still expecting "Dracula III: Legacy" to be entertaining. I know that I should have learned my lesson way back when "Return of the Jedi" turned out to be a steaming pile of crap. I even saw the pattern forming with "The Godfather: Part III". Unfortunately, I have remained overly optimistic up to and past the recent awfulness of "The Dark Knight Rises". One day, I'm sure someone will be able to make a trilogy with a decent final third. Ah, but what do I care about non-horror movies anyway?

With all the positivity that a true horror fan could muster, I loaded my "Dracula III: Legacy" DVD into the player, and was thanked with one of the most boring and insulting pieces of lousy filmmaking that I have ever seen in my life. What a shame!

Even a day later, I still feel emotionally drained by the whole horrid experience, but not in the cathartic way that leads to a comfy sleep wrapped up in cats. No, in this case, I was drained of anything good that I could possibly say about "Dracula III: Legacy". As a vampire movie, it certainly did its job in sucking the joy right out of me.

Just look at the picture above. Do these guys look like vampire-hunters to you? Doesn't it look like a scene from some really bad comedy about a homeless guy and his mentally challenged friend? I'll let you decide which is which. Honestly, I think Patrick Lussier may have even intended for this movie to be the one which I jokingly just described because whatever he created here was certainly nothing like "Dracula II: Ascension".

While it may have had the same characters, promoting the wrong two of them to lead status was a schoolboy error. From the ending of the previous movie, I wanted to see more of Diane Neal and Stephen Billington bringing a reign of terror to the world as the new vampiric royal couple. I did not want to see any more of Jason Scott Lee's character who was supposed to be left for dead with an arrow through his heart, and I certainly didn't want a lowly morgue orderly to become a hamfisted and ham-acted hero.

Although their travels through war-torn Romania were interesting in a completely anachronistic and xenophobic way, it was pretty obvious that the filming was only done there because it was cheap. I know that "Dracula II: Ascension" was filmed in Romania too (at the same time as this in 2002), but the former had the right pace, imagination, and, I would make a guess, used up the bulk of the available budget. This third part was nothing but leftovers or sloppy seconds.

What happened to Dracula and his lovely bride? Replacing the most attractive female with Alexandra Westcourt as a reporter covering the war didn't make up for it. As pretty as she was, she was hardly a sexy vampiress.

Dracula didn't even make an appearance until the end and had only about as much on screen time as the combined (and rather pointless) cameos by Roy Scheider in both films. To make matters worse, Stephen Billington was replaced by Rutger Hauer! What the hell? Hello? Did nobody notice how awful he was at playing the vampire Lothos in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992)? That was such a cringeworthy Rutger Hauer role that it is now the stuff of legend.

I can forgive whoever cast Rutger Hauer as Dracula for not realising that his inability to play a vampire would also be apparent to anyone who saw him suck as Kurt Barlow in the "Salem's Lot" remake since, although that was made in 2004 and "Dracula III: Legacy" was released in 2005, chronologically, this movie was made first. I wonder why Stephen Billington didn't continue in the part? Was he written out to give Rutger Hauer a job or just to add a recognisable cult name to the cast? Continuity had been thrown out of the window with the first sequel so I'm sure nobody even questioned the decision.

At least the gorgeous Elizabeth returned for a few minutes near the end, and the fight between Dracula and Father Uffizi provided some much needed action in any otherwise almost completely actionless borefest. It again made no difference that the Dracula who could never be killed created a huge plothole in the twist ending. Or did it? I'm still not entirely convinced that something other than the obvious hadn't been set up for yet another lacklustre sequel.

What a total disappointment. I now have one of Patrick Lussier's "Dracula" movies rated as very good, one as average, and there's only one place that this can go. With great regret, I now consign "Dracula III: Legacy" to The Dungeon. May it rot in peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment