A review of ďVan HelsingĒ by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: * 1/2

Rating: PG-13 for bloodsucking and adult situations

Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes


A CGI-saturated action-adventure is a rite-of-passage for up-and-coming A-listers.Even brooding indie-er Jake Gyllenhaal is jumping into the fray with The Day After Tomorrow. Hugh Jackman is making his mark, but finds himself second banana to the bluescreen in this plotless, pointless, horror-fest.

Bluescreen bludgeoning isnít anything new, but I prefer a smidgen of plot and deep-dish conflict to support the action.In this case the narrative is the short life and times of monster-hunter Van Helsing (Jackman), killer of gargoyles and demons and hot on the heels of Count Dracula, holed up in Transylvania with his evil-doing harem.

Van Helsingís methods cause undue attention, rendering him the most wanted man in Europe.Once ensconced in the accursed land of the undead dead, Van Helsing makes nice with Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), the last of her family to try and rid themselves of a generations-old curse of the pointy-toothed foe.

From 19th Century London, Paris and Rome to the dark depths of Transylvania, Van Helsing faces his fears head-on.He and Anna join forces to conquer the evilly seductive Dracula and his army of goons, with mixed results.

A battalion of computers have set out to re-envision the vampire classic into a Cineplex extravaganza.All under the auspices of the man (Stephen Sommers) who brought you the appallingly overcooked Mummy series.

No action staple is safe from cinematic larceny; Star Wars and Alien to Lord of the Rings and all things James Bond.Frightening flying vampiresses and an enigmatic turn by Richard Roxburgh as Count D. canít overcome sensory overload and a string of garish fight scenes edited together in loosely sensible sequence.Plot threads dawdle and dangle without a breath of closure, among them the origins of Van Helsingís thirst for revenge.

2004ís first summer blockbuster is undoubtedly one of the worst films of the year.