Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 100 minutes
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When we last left our parasitical antagonist (then played Stephen Billington) in Dracula 2: Ascension, he’d found a way to flight the clutches of the group of medical students who’d been holding him detainee for their own testing. It was now up to the inexplicable Father Uffiizi (Jason Scott Lee), a card-carrying member of the bloodsucking alliance himself, and improbable subordinate, Luke (Jeremy London), the instigator of the whole ‘let’s nab Drac from the morgue’ band to hunt down prickly teeth.
“Dracula III: Legacy” takes proceedings out of the claustrophobic – though effectual – surroundings of the second film, and into much wider topography where Uffizi and Luke track down their adversary, who’s opportunely got Luke’s ‘turned’ friend, Elizabeth, in tow.
It doesn’t take an intellect to make a “Dracula” movie – what corn syrup and synthetic teeth? – but Dimension seem to have got it down to a fine art by expunging what hasn’t worked before and putting in what might. Having said that, the third in the Dracula 2000 series, “Dracula III: Legacy” is the most untarnished and genteel of the threesome.
When it comes to direct to video sequels – a trend and a half these days – audiences don’t expect a lot. They know the cast won’t be marquee names, they know the budget will be appreciably less than a tentpole flick and they presuppose the plot’s essentially going to be a rip off of it’s predecessor. Most of that isn’t applicable here. In fact, the third – and reportedly final – chapter in the “Dracula 2000” series is significantly more enthused and alluring than even the first chapter in the series. Mind you, which was theatrically released.
Director Patrick Lussier – who’s helmed all three of the films – has an ogle for ocular element. Obviously knowing the limits of his budget, Lussier has crafted powerful scenes by combining the obscure aspects of his backdrop with unfussy effects.
With casting, this time there’s the added appeal of Rutger Hauer taking over the role of the perpetual Dracula. As good as Billington was in the previous sequel, having Hauer – no stranger to playing bloodsuckers – in the role just gives the film that extra feel of validity. And although we don’t see Hauer a hell of a lot in the film, his moments towards the end of the film are well played.
Best of all though is the chemistry between unlikely duo, Luke and Father Uffiizi. Points of course to the writing team for teaming two polar opposites and for their witty dialogue, but Jason Scott Lee and Jeremy London also seem pretty snug and at home in the parts – Lee, especially, as the vampire-hunting parasite with a past. Be nice to see more of the character.
What’s invigorating about “Dracula III: Legacy” is that it improves on it’s predecessors in nearly every way – suspense, gore, action, character detail- and in turn throws a stake through the heart of all who say direct to video numbers are a waste of time.
Posted on October 30, 2003 in Reviews by Clint Morris
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- RUTGER HAUER STARS IN A DOC…ABOUT RUTGER HAUER
- DRACULA II: ASCENSION (DVD)
- THE MONSTER LEGACY COLLECTIONS (DVD)
- ALEX PROYAS TO DIRECT “DRACULA” PREQUEL
- SCREAMFEST SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF LOS ANGELES
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