Van Helsing – Film Review

Hugh Jackman fighting monsters? What’s not to like?! It turns out, there’s quite a lot not to like. In fact, pretty much most of the movie is not to like. It’s a real mess from start to finish and only just has enough enjoyment to stop me from turning it off at any point during its 2 hour runtime.

Hugh Jackman is legendary monster hunter Van Helsing. Fresh off of hunting down Mr. Hyde, Van Helsing is sent to Transylvania to help Kate Beckinsale’s Ann to kill Count Dracula. Dracula is trying to create an army of vampires using Frankenstein’s monster and a werewolf. Basically, think of all the Universal monsters and most of them are shoved into this movie. It’s pretty messy and all over the place and the tone is very mixed. It’s trying to be funny when really it isn’t funny at all. It tries to be dark and interesting but it fails at that too. It tries to be an action movie but just becomes overstuffed.

For the first half of the film there is barely even 2 minutes of screentime without an action scene. It’s relentless! One after another after another. And then in the latter half when it does eventually take some time between action setpieces the dialogue and story developments are so boring that you just wish it’d get back to the mind numbing action stuff. Not that the action is all that good anyway. There’s a lot of bad CGI creatures and cheesy convoluted action stuff that it all makes no sense, there’s no tension and overall it just isn’t very exciting.

Not even the charming Hugh Jackman can save this movie. Yeah, he’s okay as Van Helsing, but it’s far from his best. Beckinsale is phoning it in with a bad accent, David Wenham is annoying as the ‘kooky sidekick’ who isn’t as funny as the writers think he is and Richard Roxburgh is so camp and melodramatic as Dracula that he’s not scary or menacing in the slightest. This film wants so desperately to be some sort of Roger Moore- era James Bond film of the Universal monsters franchise that it doesn’t succeed in the slightest.

Van Helsing‘ might be enjoyable slightly if you can shut your brain off and take your mind off the garbage you’re watching by doing something else fun instead. It’s got a slight bit of fun in it if you can get past everything else bad about it, but that’s like climbing up Everest for the view and all you see is clouds. It took a long time and a lot of effort to get there and then when you do, though it might feel like an achievement, what’s it all for really?



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