CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS AND BLATHERING ABOUT A FILM I HAVEN'T SEEN YET
One of the films I'm most looking forward to right now is Dario Argento's Dracula in 3D - not for the 3D, not even because it's a Dracula picture, but because of Argento. His glory days of delirious giallo classics like Terror At The Opera and Tenebrae (his two best films, for my money) may be long gone but no career should tail off with things like Giallo and Mother Of Tears; it would be like David Lean spending his twilight years directing Police Academy sequels. My fingers are not so much crossed as plaited for it - even though it's a Dracula movie and vampires tend, to me anyway, not to be particularly interesting monsters. However, Argento's Van Helsing is none other than Rutger Hauer and while we're waiting for that one, it's worth noting that Hauer had his own stab at the role of Dracula himself in this reasonable 2002 franchiser "presented" by Wes Craven and Miramax.
Though apparently shot simultaneously, Dracula III: Legacy (why do they have to keep putting portentous but entirely meaningless words into the titles?) is a direct follow-on to the tolerable but forgettable Dracula II: Ascension, sequel to the theatrically released Dracula 2000 (renamed Dracula 2001 in the UK because we didn't get to see it until the following year). Vampirised vampire hunter Father Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee) heads into war-torn Romania to track down his boring sidekick Luke's (Jason London) girlfriend, who's been abducted by Dracula (Hauer) himself. Joining up with a comely TV journalist "for EBC News" (whose cameraman is named Tunnicliffe after the film's FX supervisor), they follow the slaughter, the impaled corpses and the blood traffickers all the way to Castle Dracula....
It's not a brilliant piece of work but it's perfectly acceptable, with enough blood and splatter to keep you awake (it's only been given a 15 certificate, though), enough character material to keep you interested without getting boring, and there's a brief appearance by Roy Scheider. And I like the idea that the rebels insist that all candidates for posts in the new government must appear in public in daylight to prove they're not vampires! (Mr Cameron, are you listening?) Plus, of course, it's always good to see Hauer in more or less anything, although he doesn't show up until the last chunk of the movie. Strangely, when he does turn up, it's as if director Patrick Lussier (who also made the other two entries in the series and has recently specialised in the shiny new 3D craze with Drive Angry and the My Bloody Valentine remake) wanted to hark back to Hauer's iconic role in Blade Runner by trying to give his scenes a similar look. It doesn't really come off, but kudos for trying.