Upon entering a screening of “Van Helsing,” I can honestly say that I had never been as excited to see a movie with Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein since the 1987 film classic “The Monster Squad.” Now that I’ve successfully dated myself, let me say that, in all truthfulness, I went into “Van Helsing” expecting to be wholly disappointed.
Van Helsing is the newest film from monster movie director Stephen Sommers. Sommers has centered his films on popular characters from classic Universal horror films of the 1930s and ’40s and emerged on the scene with “The Mummy” and his Scorpion King-starring follow-up, “The Mummy Returns.” “Van Helsing” is easily Sommers best film to date but is not free of its corny moments. Sure, the dialogue is terrible and actor Richard Roxburgh is over-the-top as Dracula, but this does not change the fact that the film is suprisingly entertaining from beginning to end.
The story follows the anti-hero Van Helsing, played by the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, who does a noteworthy job of depicting the famous literary monster hunter. After dealing with the pesky Mr. Hyde (of Dr. Jekyll fame), Helsing returns to Vatican City and receives his next daunting mission, delivered from a secret order of priests of the Catholic Church responsible for relinquishing the world of evil.
Van Helsing’s next mission sends him to the infamous town of Transylvania, where Dracula reigns supreme. Upon arriving, Van Helsing is greeted by Dracula’s three vampire brides, one of which he manages to kill, making him the first person to kill a vampire in over a hundred years. Van Helsing is responsible for protecting Anna (Kate Beckinsale), the last member of the family responsible for killing Count Dracula 400 years earlier. As if Van Helsing didn’t already have his work cut out for him, he also must stop thousands of Dracula’s minions from hatching from their cocoons and wreaking havoc on the local townspeople.
My biggest complaint about Stephen Sommer’s newest big-budget blockbuster is that the film doesn’t end two minutes earlier – a decision that would save the audience from one of the cheesiest moments ever recorded on film. However, if you are looking for a viscerally stimulating roller coaster ride, Van Helsing is sure to deliver the goods.