Van Helsing
Review by Ross Anthony

Two hours is a long time for a film to keep its tongue in cheek. But this film gives it a go. Though there are plenty of campy, purposely ridiculous lines (good fun) the film also suffers from an equal amount of just plain bad lines (boring). Campy, loud, with visual effects that roll out like a fun house ride, "Van Helsing" sinks it teeth into action.

The story takes off like a bat out of hell, with a slightly revised version of the classic Frankenstein story. This one includes a certain Count Dracula. It's a fine sequence that promises a great movie to come. The film's hero, Van Helsing, appears in the next sequence with an interesting bout with Mr. Hyde. However, just as the audience begins to appreciate the lack of explanation, the very next scene rambles a stream of exposition (characters explaining each other's purposes for the audience) that wipes nearly all that fun mystery away. Since the picture loves to make fun of its genre, the filmmakers may have been doing the same thing here - but it didn't work for me. Perhaps, instead of just using bad exposition, they should have used impossibly horrible exposition.

Van Helsing From that point on, the film toggles between fun visual action sequences, bad dialogue, and silly lines that crack up the audience. All very light, nothing terribly scary. There are several opportunities to intellectually or emotionally compel the audience (even amidst the comedy of vampires), but each time the film chooses otherwise. I'm a huge Hugh Jackman fan, and while he's fine as a comicbook hero here; don't expect him to shine as a thespian Van Helsing. Likewise, though juicy character development is available in the concept, the execution neglects it. In fact, the only deeply interesting character is the chatty, rational thinking, Frankenstein monster. The music however, brings a great deal of thunder to this monstrous combination of "Rocky Horror," "League of Extraordinary Gentleman" and a middle school rendition of "The Wizard of OZ." I'm going to give it a "B," but I may be biased - I expected a great deal more. That said, perhaps the younger crowd (PG-13 rating) will better appreciate.

(This film viewed at a Krikorian Theatre.)

  • Van Helsing. Copyright © 2004.
  • Starring Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J. O'Connor.
  • Directed by Stephen Sommers.
  • Screenplay by Stephen Sommers.
  • Produced by Stephen Sommers, Bob Ducsay at Universal. (c) 2004.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:43:11 PDT