Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Month of Terror: Dracula II: Ascension (2003)

My only explanation for this movie is that the people who made Dracula 2000 looked at their movie and said, “Hey, this isn’t near nonsensical, stupid and silly enough yet! Let’s see what we can do about that!” And thus THIS.

Director: Patrick Lussier
Starring: Jason Scott Lee, Jason London

Really, I’m at a loss for words. Dracula II, the movie that even Gerard Butler was too good for, is just a spectacle of horrible characters, ridiculous story elements that come out of nowhere and a lack of any logic. It’s a movie that would crumble at the first sign of any kind of logic. Does that sound good to you? I’d rather be eaten by a WALRUS than watch this garbage again so you know it’s going to be an interesting ride…

We start off with a lady in the Czech Republic doing one of her nightly ‘run around in a fancy white gown for no reason’ sessions. She’s getting chased around by the master of walking slowly, this Bruce Lee rip-off!

Doo dee doo...just taking a stroll out here; not like running would get my goal accomplished faster or anything! Pfft. Jogging is for losers!

No, really, he’s a Bruce Lee rip-off. Sounds like a stirring resume to me, too; stick him in the movie for the rest of the runtime!

So it turns out she’s a vampire and also has a clone of herself, and they both bite him a little before he kills them, thus setting up the central conflict for this oh-so-endearing and deep character…yeah, not really; we just switch to a scene with this cripple named Lowell giving the shortest speech ever delivered in a college classroom about how death is inevitable. I guess he’s famous for 5-second speeches…

Then we get some more amazing character development as our heroes, among them a chick named Elizabeth, who is dating Lowell the crazy cripple man, a black guy named Kenny and his girlfriend, Not-Paris-Hilton. She probably has another name but that’s all I’m calling her.

Yeah I buy this about as much as I buy...well, any other obvious chick only with a guy for his money.

After that we see Elizabeth working at the hospital with this guy Luke, played by Jason London. I don’t really have a joke about him, but rest assured, he’s a terrible actor, and five minutes into this performance and you’ll want to shoot him. They’re concerned because a body came in, burnt and scarred to all hell after being hung from a cross at dawn. His organs are white, and even though there are plenty of other explanations, Luke says he thinks it’s a vampire. At first it seems like he’s joking, but no; he really thinks it’s a vampire right off the bat. Was he just waiting for some opportunity to spout out the most ludicrous conclusion he could think of? It’s like some dumbass kid in elementary school who just talked for the sake of talking. This movie’s dialogue is on the level of annoying kids prying for attention. I’ll let that sink in for a second…aaaaand done.

So while in the real world this would have been met with derision and scorn from all parties, luckily Luke has found the dumbest person in existence with Elizabeth, as she just eats it up and goes along with it. She gets bitten by accident and doesn’t tell anyone, probably because she’s an idiot. Then Luke gets a phone call from a “mysterious third party” offering them a lot of money for the body. Lowell for some reason, can’t imagine why, says it’s a good idea that they take it. Can’t possibly be that he wants to heal his crippled body, can it? Nah. Luke freaks out and gets Elizabeth to help move the body in secret, because that’s really legal, right as the slow-walking priest/Bruce Lee rip-off comes and tries to find it.

If this jackass walked any slower he'd be going backwards. Christ.

And seriously, how does this guy arrive on time for anything? He walks SO DAMN SLOW. It’s just nuts. He’s worse than Michael Myers and Jason combined. All the other characters are doing stuff and running around like mad, and this guy is just kind of walking around slowly, like he doesn’t even know where he’s going. Kind of hard to take that very seriously…

Meanwhile, Luke, Elizabeth, Kenny and Not-Paris-Hilton are transporting the body to Lowell’s parents’ old house, which is big and gothic-like. Like any sane person would do, they put the body in a bathtub of blood and expect it to come back to life. Is this sounding like your last really screwed up house party in college yet?

Not-Paris-Hilton's real line here is "Maybe it needs to be virgin blood?" God,  the way these people think scares me.

So yeah it eventually DOES come back to life, despite all evidence to the contrary that it would probably just be an insane pot-fueled idea that even Jay and Silent Bob would blush at, and we get the ensuing garble of incoherent scenes:

Nope, sorry; not buying her falling out the window like that. She was barely even shoved at all. Did the floors just get polished with grease beforehand?
Looks like they're trying to give Grandpa a bath never works out the way it's supposed to, dammit!
Take THAT bathtub!

Oh and then this guy shows up! Who is he? I don’t know. He says he’s the money!

Oh yeah, well...I'm the ATM.

Pardon my French but WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? And I don’t just mean this action scene; I mean the ENTIRE GODDAMN MOVIE UP UNTIL THIS POINT. It’s like they just threw out ten pages of the script explaining this spastic gibberish and just left us to pick up the pieces! How did they know what to do with the vampire? Did they really just have all these specific rituals waiting for the very, very specific off-chance they could bag a vampire? For that matter, why would they just jump to the conclusion that the dead body they found was a vampire? Remember, this takes place only a few hours after the first movie ended. Vampires were, as far as the viewer has been led up to this point, not a common phenomenon. It makes about as much sense as a character randomly deciding she fully, seriously believes in Bigfoot; you might as well just make that into a movie next.

Not to mention the whole subplot with Christopher Plummer’s daughter becoming a vampire hunter or whatever. Where did that go? It’s completely ignored now. What’s the logic with this? Did the writers just decide they didn’t like their own movie? What? WHAT?

After that they move Dracula to another location where they all start doing experiments on him, draining his blood only to find out he’s severely dehydrated and is running out.

This was actually how the new movie 'The Debt' was supposed to turn out. But the filmmakers quickly decided it was such a stupid idea, they sent it back to the past apparently, and that's why we now have this pile of heinous vampire-droppings here.

Wait a second, didn’t Christopher Plummer in the first movie drain Dracula’s blood for YEARS even though Dracula was all but mummified? And now like an hour of burning in the sunlight and he’s suddenly drained entirely? WHAT SENSE DOES THAT MAKE. This is seriously mind-numbing. What other contradictions are they going to throw at us? Let’s just get them all over with now.

Okay, so there’s this one part where a priest played bafflingly by Roy Scheider from Jaws (what a career downgrade!) tells him that Dracula has to be forgiven by God, although in the other movie it was the exact other way around…ahh, continuity errors, what a surprise from this movie. You can’t see my face right now, but it’s forever in a mask of stoic unimpressed-ness while watching this.

Now that that’s over with, we can get onto more important things like watching Kenny inject the vampire blood into himself even though a) he was never shown to be a power-hungry or mean-spirited character before this and b) it turns him evil automatically, which never happened in the other movie…OK, OK, done ranting about continuity errors; both of these movies suck anyway. He goes out and mugs at the camera a lot:

Save it for the Fright Night remake...

…and then bags himself his first vampire whore!

Just to add 15 minutes of runtime to the movie, I suppose...

Some more stuff happens, and we find out that the vampire chick killed her own cat. Well now that this movie has animal violence I just can’t stand behind it anymore. I declare that this movie now officially sucks!

So she gets killed and then Kenny gets killed too…ah just play it:

After that? Time for some good old hallucinations! Although this time they’re more like rejected Twilight scenes rather than Tim Burton rip-offs. At least director Patrick Lussier is experimenting more! We also hear Dracula’s stunning monologue skills as he lists off all of his various names: Nosferatu, Judas, Vlad Tepes, El Hazarid, and other stuff that I'm sure they spent a lot of time on Wikipedia looking up.

Peter Griffin, George Carlin, Snoopy, Bill Cosby, Ozzy Osbourne...

It’s revealed then that Lowell was fooling them the whole time into thinking there was a third party who wanted Dracula when really it was just him wanting to heal his crippled body…I don’t even get this subplot; what difference does that deception make, anyway? We’re supposed to be surprised that the cripple who’s been ordering everyone around the entire movie and has the most direct, clear-as-day motive for experimenting with unusual medical practices, actually wants Dracula for himself? I thought that was just a given. But I guess that means I don’t have the intellectual prowess necessary to enjoy this masterpiece. So for the rest of the review I will now be praising this film.

No real reason for posting this except that it's yet another Funny Face in a Horror Movie.

We see the movie’s undying devotion to bloodcurdling terror as Dracula slaughters Lowell and that weird British guy, even ripping off the latter’s face whole! But it’s OK, as he comes back as a vampire somehow despite that. I’d say the following image is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, but that wouldn’t even come close to doing it justice. In fact, it’s downright poetic:

.............well I think that speaks for itself.

Isn’t that just a peachy image? And what’s this – they’re defeating him by shoving a water bottle of holy water through his facial opening? How inventively creative and fresh! And I don’t just mean fresh as in, it was incredibly fresh water either!

That ought to be in a Zephyrhills ad or something. "Zephyrhills Crystal Clear water! It kills mutated and deformed vampires!"

Then we get some truly awesome battle scenes between Dracula and the slow-walking priest, who finally caught up to the movie I guess, but it’s OK since they were just building suspense. It doesn’t matter that it was completely silly – I was just missing the point before. We get some stock footage from the first movie and somehow that really pisses the slow-walking priest off, perhaps because he never liked the first film either. Clearly this one is superior in every way.

So yeah, all in all, I liked Dracula II. The characters were wonderfully colored, the storyline was only confusing if you’re an idiot who needs everything spelled out for you and the acting was unparalleled. So all in all, if you didn’t like this movie, you clearly have no idea about anything good in cinema. After all, if a guy with no face with a water bottle stuck in his head isn’t art, WHAT IS?

…now that I think about it, this was a pretty dumb movie after all.