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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Patrick Lussier
Cast:
Jason Scott Lee, Jason London, Roy Scheider, Diane Neal, Alexandra Westcourt, Rutger Hauer, Stephen Billington
Writing Credits:
Joel Soisson, Patrick Lussier

Synopsis:
More horror-filled terror in the modern Dracula series presented by Wes Craven, Dracula III: Legacy adds Rutger Hauer to a hot returning cast starring Jason Scott Lee, Jason London and Roy Scheider.

The feared Dracula (Hauer) leads vampire hunters Father Uffizi (Lee) and Luke (London) back to eastern Europe and a country plagued by civil war. There they discover powerful local warlords are assisting Dracula by capturing victims and delivering them to feed the vampires residing in Dracula's castle! And to make matters worse, Father Uffizi must face his own temptations as he struggles to overcome the vampire virus within himself! With sizzling stars, a riveting story and stunning special effects, this suspense-filled thriller will satisfy anyone with a taste for terrifying entertainment!

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 7/12/2005

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Patrick Lussier, Producer Joel Soisson, and Special Makeup Designer Gary Tunnicliffe
• “A Conversation with Patrick Lussier on the Mythology of Vampires”
• “A Conversation with Garry Tunnicliffe”
• Cast Auditions
• Deleted Scene
• Alternate Ending
• Original Treatments
• Trailers
• Easter Egg
• Sneak Peeks


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Dracula III: Legacy (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 22, 2005)

Although I remember seeing Dracula 2000, I must admit I wasn’t aware the franchise continued past that point. Imagine my surprise when Dracula III: Legacy wound up on my door. Since I didn’t know there was a Dracula II, I didn’t expect to find a third entry in the series.

Apparently Legacy picks up where 2003’s Dracula II: Ascension left off as we follow the exploits of vampire hunters Father Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee) and Luke (Jason London). They track Dracula (Rutger Hauer) to Eastern Europe but Uffizi’s superior Cardinal Siqueros (Roy Scheider) doesn’t want him to proceed. Some in the church suspect Uffizi’s been tainted by Dracula and they seek to keep him off the case.

That doesn’t sit well with the obsessed Uffizi, so he quits the priesthood to pursue vampires. He and Luke head to Romania to find Dracula and also rescue Luke’s friend Elizabeth (Diane Neal). Luke clearly pines for her, and he also feels responsible for her involvement in this situation.

Uffizi and Luke find a Romania torn by civil war, though it looks like vampires might be a bigger concern. Uffizi focuses solely on those issues, but Luke wants to help out the locals. Through this, they discover “procurers”, humans who capture other people to serve up as fresh blood for the vampires.

While the pair wander, they run into much evidence of vampire attacks and a small group of British reporters who narrowly survived. This trio includes reporter Julia Hughes (Alexandra Wescourt) and cameraman Tommy Tunnicliffe (Gary J. Tunnicliffe) along with severely wounded – and soon dead – helicopter pilot Vallon (Cosmin Chiriac). They all hole up in a local church to deal with any possible vampire attacks.

Of course, these soon come, and the humans have to battle off infected circus performers. The next day, Uffizi and Luke head out to track down Dracula the next day. The rest of the film follows their exploits along with the other vampire-fighting forces. We also see how Uffizi’s semi-infected status affects him.

What if they made a Dracula movie and forgot to include Dracula? That’s the question that confronts anyone who watches Legacy. I don’t want to provide spoilers, but I do want to note that the Big “D” doesn’t show up here until more than two-thirds of the way into the story.

When Dracula finally does materialize, his presence becomes decidedly anti-climactic. As I suffered through this plodding, leaden story, I hoped that maybe it’d culminate in a big showdown worth the wait. Unfortunately, Hauer makes little more than a cameo and quickly departs the scene.

Maybe viewers should sue for false advertising. Why even bother to include the name “Dracula” in the title? The story’s all build-up to a climactic sequence that never comes.

We do find a fair amount of vampire action, as the blood-suckers attack with reasonable frequency. Don’t expect these sequences to provoke much excitement or tension, though. They come across as gratuitous, as though the filmmakers knew they needed to add some gore but didn’t really want to do so.

What would they prefer to do? That’s a good question. I guess this is a buddy flick of sorts, as the ultra-somber Uffizi wanders the countryside with goofy Luke. London and Lee exhibit no chemistry whatsoever, and their endless searches for vampires become tedious.

Really, the whole thing is pointless and incoherent. It packages moody shots of the leads and the environment and promises adventure that never comes. Even the more intriguing parts – such as the vampire circus performers – end up as little more than cheap gimmicks.

This is director Patrick Lussier’s third Dracula effort, but he still hasn’t gotten the hang of things. Awkwardly shot and edited, it often feels like the camera’s in the wrong place, and the cutting jumps around without much reason. Much of the time we can’t easily tell what’s happening due to the poor filmmaking.

Is there anything positive to report about Dracula III: Legacy? No, unless you count my hope that this film’s atrocity will prevent the creation of a Dracula IV. (The conclusion clearly opens the door for yet another sequel, unfortunately.) A boring and stiff vampire flick with no passion or spark, this one’s a waste of 90 minutes.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Dracula III: Legacy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A spotty presentation for a brand-new movie, the picture looked good but with too many issues to be terribly strong.

Sharpness usually seemed fine. Wider shots tended to take on a little softness, mostly due to the image’s main problem: edge enhancement. Noticeable haloes appeared throughout the movie. This led to a mild lack of definition, but usually the film stayed reasonably concise. Light instances of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and the flick occasionally betrayed a somewhat rough “digital” look. Source flaws were infrequent, as I noticed only a few specks.

Like all modern vampire movies, Legacy went with a stylized palette. Much of it seemed fairly desaturated, though some reds stood out at times. The colors were acceptably distinctive but not special. Blacks were fairly deep and dense, but shadows tended to appear a little too dim. The low-light shots could be more opaque than I’d like. All of this added up to an unexceptional but acceptable transfer.

When I examined the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Dracula III: Legacy, it boasted a number of strengths but was harmed but one definite weakness: edgy speech. The dialogue often sounded reedy and brittle. While this didn’t affect intelligibility, it made the package rougher than I’d expect from a modern film.

Otherwise, audio quality was solid. Music appeared bright and dynamic, with good reproduction of the score. Effects packed a nice wallop. Those elements came across as tight and concise, and they also provided nice range and definition.

In addition, the film offered a pretty good soundfield. The various vampire sequences meant we got lots of chances for the mix to use all five channels. It did so effectively, as creatures zipped around us and weapons created strong movement too. Dracula’s voice popped up in various spots to good effect. Elements were appropriately placed and they meshed together smoothly. Without the speech problems, this mix easily would have merited at least a “B+”, but the crackly dialogue became too much of a distraction.

Legacy comes with a surprisingly broad roster of extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Patrick Lussier, producer Joel Soisson, and special makeup designer Gary Tunnicliffe. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. And a lively discussion it is. We learn about the choice to make Dracula II and III simultaneously, casting and the actors’ work, issues connected to filming in Romania, visual elements and effects, cinematography, story topics, and general production tidbits. Lussier takes the lead and chats at a mile a minute much of the time. The others contribute good notes as well, though it remains the director’s baby. They cover the flick well and make this a fun and entertaining conversation.

Next comes A Conversation with Patrick Lussier on the Mythology of Vampires. This chat lasts four minutes and 37 seconds and covers various legends. He goes over ideas through history, topics connected to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and some adaptation subjects. He runs through things too quickly for much depth, but Lussier offers a decent little piece of background.

We follow this with A Conversation with Gary Tunnicliffe. It goes for eight minutes, four seconds. Tunnicliffe covers his makeup and prop work on the film, the challenges of being in Romania, and acting in the film. He provides some nice details and anecdotes through this light and chatty discussion.

Four Cast Auditions run a total of 13 minutes, 31 seconds. We get try-outs for George Grigore, Ilinca Goia, Claudiu Bleont, and Alexandra Westcort. All of these add up to a fun look behind the scenes.

Up next we find one Deleted Scene and an Alternate Ending. The former fills two minutes, 26 seconds, while the latter occupies one minute, 19 seconds. Called “Flat Tire”, the deleted scene shows yet another shot of the interminable search for Dracula. The alternate ending provides a happier conclusion. Neither is very interesting.

Original Treatments gives us text materials. We find the original proposals written for all three Dracula movies. For fans who want to compare the initial ideas with the final product, this is a very cool addition.

In the Trailers, we get promos for Dracula 2000 and Dracula II: Ascension. No ad for Legacy appears.

We also find at least one Easter Egg. From the first “Special Features” page, click up from “Feature Commentary” and hit enter. You can then watch a four-minute and 48-second compilation of location scout footage.

The DVD opens with some ads. We get promos for Sin City, Cursed and Hostage. These also appear in the disc’s Sneak Peeks area along with trailers for Hellraiser: Hellworld and The Prophecy.

Just what we don’t need: another bad vampire movie. Unfortunately, Dracula III: Legacy is nothing more than a forgettable and tedious excursion in occasional blood-sucking. The DVD’s a decent affair, however, with acceptable to good picture and audio plus a surprisingly rich set of extras given the film’s direct-to-video status. None of these redeem the forgettable feature, unfortunately.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4444 Stars Number of Votes: 18
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