Van Helsing (2004)

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Yet another CGI saturated set-piece assault from Steven “The Mummy” Sommers sees Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing in a kind of cross between James Bond and The Monster Mash.

As usual, Sommers throws everything at the screen – including the kitchen sink – in a film that is little more than a loosely linked collection of absurdly over the top set pieces with next to zero thought for pacing, narrative or characterisation. It’s actually very similar to The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman and suffers from exactly the same problems; the main difference between the two is that Sommers is a rather more competent director of action, but on the downside it does not have anyone of the calibre of Sean Connery on hand to steady the ship.There are also some shockingly over-ripe performances on display – Dracula’s brides being the main culprits – and the monster had more in common with Young Frankenstein than Boris Karloff. Typically of Sommers’ work this film – despite it’s many, many flaws – does manage to entertain, although I have to say I my interest was maintained not because I cared what happened; I felt more like my brain was like a kitten fascinated by a shiny bauble, or a dog chasing a laser pointer around the room.

Hardly intellectually satisfying, but if you want to switch off and look at some pretty pictures/actors for a couple of hours, this may serve the purpose adequately.

5/10

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