Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Dracula | Gerard Butler (2000)

I really need to see this again. When Dracula 2000 came out, the biggest name in it to me was... well, Christopher Plummer, of course. But after him, it was Danny Masterson from That '70s Show and Jeri Ryan from Star Trek: Voyager. I didn't know who Gerard Butler was. Or Jonny Lee Miller. Or Omar Epps. Even Nathan Fillion was just The Boyfriend from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place.

Oh, look, it's on Netfilx streaming. Let's bump that to the top of the queue.

Even without all the Before They Were Famouses, I remember liking this pretty well. Plummer makes a great Van Helsing, who claims to be a descendent of the original and is in charge of guarding the coffin containing the slumbering body of his ancestor's old nemesis. Unfortunately, Jennifer Esposito and Omar Epps steal the coffin (not knowing what it is; just that it's valuable) and take it to New Orleans. Dracula (Butler) escapes of course, so Van Helsing and his protege (Jonny Lee Miller) have to hunt him down.

The movie has to fudge some vampire lore to get there, but there's also an interesting and unique origin story for Dracula. Nathan Fillion plays a priest and Jeri Ryan is... well, I won't spoil what Jeri Ryan is, but it's kind of cool. All around, a fun B-movie and I'm looking forward to revisiting it.

It's got two direct-to-DVD sequels: Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005). I've never seen those, but there are some cool actors in them as well, including Jason Scott Lee, Roy Scheider, and Rutger Hauer. Unfortunately, they sound pretty ridiculous. Jason Scott Lee's character, for instance, is a Vatican vampire hunter who was bitten by a vampire, but burns away the infection every day by standing in the sun. I'm not nearly as eager to check those out.

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