© 2004 Universal Pictures

Van Helsing (2004)

Every now and then I’m seized with the desire to watch a loud, dumb movie, knowing that I won’t like it, but knowing that it will keep me ever so mildly entertained. I usually get exactly what I expected through such guilty pleasures. I’ve seen director Steven Sommer’s Mummy and it’s sequels, mainly because Rachel Weiss looks so good in them. (I probably wouldn’t have watched the third installment if I had known she was not in it.)

In Van Helsing, Hugh Jackman walks around dressed like Jon Bon Jovi, killing every virtually ever movie monster in history, and join forces Kate Beckinsale, who is dressed like a ’90s Mexican pop diva.They are joined by a wacky sidekick in the form of a monk (actually only a friar) to battle Dracula, who bites necks and chews scenery. The Eastern European accents are criminally bad, the dialogue is corny (“I care little for the laws of men”), the music is overblown, the ending is overwhelmingly cheesy, and the special effects, which are the film’s strongest suit, already look a bit dated. But combining a bunch of unsatisfactory parts into a marketable whole seems to be Steven Sommer’s whole forte.

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