British star Luke Evans does an impressive job of making this interesting take on Dracula lore into watchable fare.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Fast and Furious 6 actor gets his first headline vehicle as the legendary title character in this fantasy-actioner which offers a different take on Bram Stoker’s infamous mythology.
After a blood-splattered past which saw him become a famously deadly warrior known as The Impaler, Vlad Tepes (Evans) now looks for a peaceful life as Prince of his Transylvanian kingdom – with his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon) and son Ingeras (Art Parkinson).
But when Vlad’s former-friend Mehmet (fellow Brit Dominic Cooper), King of the neighbouring Turks, demands a thousand boys to join his already massive army – he has to turn to drastic measures to save his kingdom and family.
He encounters ancient sorcerer Caligula (Charles Dance) in a mysterious mountain cave, who gives Vlad the powers of the legendary vampire Dracula – enabling him inhuman strength and the ability to turn into a hundred bats – but leaves him with the insatiable thirst to drink blood.
But via these new abilities it gives Vlad a fighting chance to take on Mehmet’s invading forces – as long as he can stay out of the light.
Despite Evans’ impressive lead performance it can’t quite detract from this being ultimately generic stuff, with mediocre battles and scripting that doesn’t quite capitalise on the interesting premise put before it – with Cooper’s bad guy bringing surprisingly little to the party.
But the ideas behind the movie take it slightly above mediocre genre efforts, and if this is the start of a new Universal Monsters franchise – which will reportedly include a Mummy-reboot, along with Frankenstein and the Wolfman – then this has been a story worth telling.
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Cast: Luke Evans, Charles Dance, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gaddon, Diarmaid Murtagh, Noah Huntley, Art Parkinson & Paul Kaye
Running Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins
Director: Gary Shore[youtube id=”_2aWqecTTuE” width=”600″ height=”350″]