DRACULA III: LEGACY
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Produced by W.K. Border & Joel Soisson
Written by Joel Soisson & Patrick Lussier
Director of Photograpy Doug Milsome
Music by Marco Beltrami, Cieri Torjussen & Kevin Kliesch
Cast: Jason Scott Lee, Jason London, Rutger Hauer & Alexandra Wescourt
2005/90 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Dimension Home Video DVD
I hate to sound like a snob (really, I do!), but I'm not very fond of films which are made to go directly to video. (These movies should not be confused with films which are made in the hopes of having a theatrical release, only to find that their only outlet is home video.) These movies often comes across as being cheap and are usually pale imitations of more popular movies. However, occasionally one finds a decent direct-to-video release, such as 2003's DRACULA II: ASCENSION, the sequel to the theatrical release DRACULA 2000. As DRACULA II was watchable and fun, I was looking forward to DRACULA III: LEGACY, which was shot simultaneously with the second film in the series. Unfortunately, the third time is not the charm.
(SPOILER WARNING!: In order to describe DRACULA III: LEGACY, I must divulge some of the plot-lines from DRACULA II. So, if you haven't seen DRACULA II and want to be surprised by DRACULA III, read with caution.) DRACULA II had a cliffhanger ending, which concluded with Dracula (then played by Stephen Billington) injuring Luke (Jason London) and evading capture by Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee). As the film ended, Dracula made off with Elizabeth (Diane Neal).
DRACULA III opens five years later...at least I think it's five years later, that part is very vague. Luke and Uffizi have traveled to Romania, hot (?) on Dracula's trail. The pair procure a car and begin traveling through the mountains in search of Dracula's castle, hindered by rebels and Dracula's minions. Along the way, they meet a cable news reporter, Julia (Alexandra Westcourt). Despite these obstacles and their new accomplice, Luke and Uffizi are determined to find Dracula (now played by Rutger Hauer), each for personal reasons -- Luke wants to find and rescue Elizabeth, while Uffizi desires to rid the world of the evil that is Dracula.
DRACULA II was one of the first DVDs that I reviewed for DVD Crypt two years ago, and I've wondered when the third installment would be released. Now I know why it was delayed. DRACULA II and DRACULA III were shot back-to-back with essentially the same crew, but watching the two films, this is very difficult to believe, as they have little in common. DRACULA II offered some clever ideas, a group of interesting characters, and a novel use of limited locations. The movie was well-paced and never boring. In contrast, DRACULA III has only the slightest amount of story. Luke and Uffizi are trying to find Dracula -- that's about it. A few new characters are introduced, and there is one plot twist (that adds little to the movie), but that's about it. What we essentially have is a lot of scenes in which Luke and Uffizi drive through Romanian locations and occasionally encounter a local extra fitted with vampire teeth. A subplot explaining how the vampires are able to move across the country is introduced and never elaborated upon.
The movie contains a few flashbacks to DRACULA II, but never does a concise re-cap as to what occurred in that film, so if you haven't seen DRACULA II, then DRACULA III may not make much sense to you. Director Patrick Lussier has toned down some of the rapid-fire editing which he used in DRACULA 2000 and DRACULA II, but that only further draws attention to the fact that there isn't much happening in this movie. To his credit, the movie does contain one very creepy shot that reminded me of the video game "Silent Hill", but otherwise there isn't anything scary or disturbing here. The actors all appears to be trying their best, with London bringing some levity to the film, but it's hard to be impressive when you're just driving around or running from vampires. The finale is lackluster and the ending implies that the trilogy may not be over. If you liked DRACULA II, this one will disappoint you, unless you're a big fan of Romanian travelogues disguised as vampire movies.
DRACULA III: LEGACY flies onto DVD courtesy of Dimension Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The picture is clear and free from grain, but somewhat flat as well. The colors are good and there are no overt defects from the source material. However, the image isn't completely sharp and the at no time was I "wowed" by the look of the transfer. The DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is much more impressive, as it delivers a nice display of surround sound effects and subwoofer action. The dialogue is clear and audible and the musical score sounds fine. The audio isn't perfect, but it does help add to the film.
For a direct-to-video production, the DRACULA III DVD contains a surprising number of extras. We start with an audio commentary from writer/director Patrick Lussier, producer Joel Soisson, and special makeup designer Gary Tunnicliffe. Lussier claims that the idea for this film was "spun off of 'Heart of Darkness'". Other than that, we don't get many great revelations. The trio simply talk about what it was like to shoot the film in Romania and they tell many detailed stories about the production. "A Conversation with Patrick Lussier on the Mythology of Vampires" (5 minutes) is exactly what it sounds like, as the director discusses vampire myths, mostly as they've been expressed through popular media. In contrast, we get several anecdotes about the film in "A Conversation with Gary Tunnicliffe" (8 minutes). "Cast Auditions" features video of George Grigore, Ilinea Goia, Claudiu Bleont, and Alexandra Westcourt trying out for their roles. The DVD contains on "Deleted Scene" and an "Alternate Ending", which is more like an opposite ending, as it's essentially the same ending as the finished film with one major change. Finally, we get the text "Treatments" for all three DRACULA films and trailers for DRACULA 2000 and DRACULA II: ASCENSION.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©