Monday, May 6, 2013

REVIEW: Dracula 3000 (2004)

“Come in, Review Command Central…come in…we have an unidentified object on the horizon. It seems to be just floating in dead space, doing absolutely nothing at all. It looks like…a DVD case, and it is glowing a strange, radioactive green, like something that came from the lowest depths of a sewer. Oh, God, it’s coming closer! It’s about to crash into us! Oh, God, save us from this unholy fate! What has my life become! The DVD is overlapping the ship! It’s devouring us whoAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!”

Director: Darryl Roodt
Starring: Casper Van Diem, Erika Eleniak

Hmm, I just found the above tape recording on this abandoned spaceship I conveniently started wandering around in. And here’s the DVD! “Dracula 3000”…sounds absolutely horrendous in every way possible! I think I’ll review it. Hell, I’ve had worse reasons to review things.

We start off with about three minutes of credits. I know I haven’t told you anything else about the rest of the movie yet, but seriously, once you read the rest of the review, it will make sense why this is so ridiculous. I’m really not sure it’s a good idea to advertise who made this movie, guys. It’s really not going to do their resumes very much good. Do you really want the people who very charitably donated their time to making this to be homeless on the streets?

Well, either way, the opening of the movie dispels all pretensions of this being good, as it starts out with a ship about to self-destruct. The movie even knows it’s not going to have anything worthwhile – so it’s just skipping all the bullshit and starting right out with a self-destructing ship with its sole member, some old guy who will serve as our exposition machine throughout the film, dying off. That’s a point in the movie’s favor actually. If they just rolled the credits now, this would be by far the best Dracula movie I’ve ever reviewed on this site. Which isn’t saying a lot, but shut up.

Then we skip to 50 years later, because that’s not pointless, is it? Oh, you mean it is? You mean it doesn’t matter what time any of this takes place because it’s all arbitrary made up nonsense? Huh, well I guess I was wrong when I rhetorically asked myself that question. We get this guy named Van Helsing with a wimpy voice talking about his crew and how stupid and incompetent they all are. I know that sounds like my usual sarcasm, but no, I’m dead serious. He says the navigator never has any idea where they’re going, the scientist is only half as smart as he thinks he is, and is still the smartest person BY FAR on the whole ship, and the hired gun is basically dumb as a rock with no redeeming value outside of recon missions.

There has never been a good movie that introduced its characters like this. Never.

So, yeah, you heard right – apparently these people have absolutely no idea what they are doing, no clue how to run a ship and are just kind of aimlessly drifting through space, like useless space debris. Except I think space debris is actually more intelligent than these idiots. Who even gave them this ship? They basically just admit in the first five minutes of the movie that they’re completely incompetent in every way possible! You’d have to be high to think these people deserve to pilot a goddamn space ship! They should be back on whatever planet they came from serving fast food. Or, hey, here’s a thought – maybe they’re so worthless that the space federation just wanted to get rid of them as fast as possible. That makes more sense.

So, being geniuses and all, they naturally send over the weakest, smallest female they have to check out this abandoned ship they find, because finding an abandoned ship is literally the oldest sci fi cliché in the world. She’s jumpy and gets scared of everything, and is the most likely to get killed or captured if there is anyone there. Why didn’t they just send someone with more nerve? I couldn’t tell you.

It turns out he's faking the choking on the "poisonous" air...but I really wish it was real, just to illustrate how stupid the crew is. Oh well. I still have my imagination.

They make jokes about how she basically doesn’t get paid anything and her job generally sucks. I just love the logic Captain Van Helsing uses – “you have complaints and grievances? We don’t care, get your ass on the ship.” Like any good team, the women on the ship are subject to constant sexual harassment from the males, with no sign of any stop to it. I’m so glad years and years of scientific development has made our species so much more tolerant and intelligent as individuals. Personally I think the future needs an equivalent of Rosie the Riveter to set things straight here.

Oh and there’s also Coolio as 187, a stoner who apparently does nothing but get high all the time:

This one image, even out of context, shows everything wrong with the movie in one frame.

Does that even look like it belongs in the same movie as the rest of this shit?! Seriously, did they just spend all the money they had getting Coolio to sign on for this movie? Great job, guys; you got a mediocre actor and now you have no cash left for the vampire effects. How do you think getting him to sign on for this went?

Movie Studio Exec: "Coolio, we can’t find anyone to play the black vampire in our Dracula in space movie. We tried every other person we can think of, went through hundreds of auditions, and you are the only appropriate person we can think of to play a crazy vampire. Will you do it?"

Coolio: "Hmm. Depends. What kind of a script is it? Is it worthy of my artistic talents? I did write Gangsta’s Paradise, you know."

Movie Studio Exec: "You get to wear fake teeth, mug to the camera and jump around like an insane asylum inmate on crack, while half-singing some of your dialogue."

Coolio: "…"

Movie Studio Exec: "…there are also racial stereotypes involved. You will be able to assert how much of a gangster you are."

Coolio: "Excuse me. It's gangsta. Not gangster."

Movie Studio Exec: "What?"

Coolio: *disapproving glare*

Yeah, that sounds about right.

So basically these characters constantly bicker with one another and never display any kind of competence. I can’t even tell you how stupid most of the dialogue in this is. Oh, so the stoner character talks about nothing but drugs all the time? The big dumb guy only thinks about getting laid? I’m sorry, but didn’t we have an important space mission going on here? These people are about as business-minded as the crackheads that live under the bridge. They make the crew of Aliens look like serious entrepreneurs in an important meeting to decide the fate of the company. There’s cajolery and good fun, and then there’s completely slacking off like morons. But what am I to expect from the ship that’s probably the class clown of the intergalactic space ship community?

So they wander around aimlessly, exchanging dumb dialogue and bickering with one another over pointless shit, because that’s what every bad screenwriter falls back on when they have no other character development to put in. They find the dead captain of the ship, who is now just a perfectly preserved, not bad-smelling at all skeleton with a cross in his hand. Apparently the future world in this movie has “outlawed” crucifixes now – huh, I guess the separation of church and state is taken much more seriously in the future.

Maybe it's an ancient artifact. WITCHCRAFT! RUN! PRAY TO YOUR GODS!

But here’s the thing – apparently nobody ever taught these people religious history, because they all think the crucifix is a big plus sign. One of the characters even says “maybe he really likes math!” Seriously, movie? They don’t have any kind of history or cultural relativeness to fall back on in this future? They haven’t even the faintest clue what a crucifix is? How dumb are these people? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though, seeing as we live in a world now where people barely even know the Bill of Rights or who fought who in the Revolutionary War.

Suddenly I’m very sad for humanity. A moment of silence then, for our lost intelligence.

Anyway, Coolio and the muscle of the crew, Humvee, find a bunch of coffins in the loading area and start to break them open, finding nothing but sand. Coolio cuts his hand and, surprise, this leads to more uninspired bickering. Isn’t that just great? Fortunately, Coolio gets bitten by Dracula after this, when the others leave, and frankly, I think I figured out why he was chosen for this movie: it was actually a diabolical plot by the record industry to make him immortal and sell more albums. Unfortunately, they did not foresee his decline in popularity as the years went on. And so, we just got this goofy-ass performance:

Jesus Christ, he's making Peewee Herman look subtle.

Seriously, he’s out of his mind in this. It’s like they just told him to imitate Ed from Fright Night and try to outdo him in over the top wackiness. It’s totally un-subtle. Hmph. I prefer my Z-grade vampire movies to have Shakespearean level acting. Anything less is just unacceptable.

Okay, now he's just off his meds. This is the kind of performance that, if done at childrens' birthday parties, gets people thrown in jail.

So he runs around, does goofy shit, half-sings a lot of his dialogue like a crazy person, until Vice Captain Aurora shoots him a bunch of times. The bullets don’t hurt him, obviously, and then he gets Mina as his first victim. Aurora runs away, but runs into another guy, Count Orlok, who mostly just looks like a D&D player who got lost on his way to the bathroom:

"I am the game master."

This is really supposed to be our Dracula for the movie? Count Chocula was scarier. Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula evoked more drama. Even the prissy vampires in Underworld were cooler, and THAT is saying a lot! This guy needs to go back to Party City and get better makeup.

Anyway, he bites her and next thing we know, she’s coming in to the rest of the crew acting like everything is okay. Is she a vampire? Will she murder the rest of her crewmates? Will Batman get out of this pinch okay? Will Lassie get Old Man Thompson out of the well in time for supper? Find out all the answers and more after these messages!

Huh…that was something…and I’m pretty sure most of those questions have very little to do with the movie.  Either way, I'm not answering the last few. Too bad. Anyway, they suspect Aurora of being a vampire, and so they tie her up to the chair she’s sitting in and make her stay there as a captive. I’m fairly sure the director just wanted to exercise his bondage fetish, as if she really was a vampire, she wouldn’t have let them tie her up…but we’ll go with it, and the movie is almost over anyway.

Coolio comes back and tries to fool Humvee into letting him in, by giving him the whole “we’re both black and we said we’d stick together” speech. How has racial equality actually gone BACKWARDS in the future? Well, at least Humvee won’t actually fall for it…oh, who am I kidding; would you be even the least bit surprised if I told you he did fall for it, and in less than a minute, too?

"Bros for life!!!"

Sigh…and I was just starting to have some hope in humanity again. Thanks, Dracula 3000. Thanks a lot. I guess we should just let North Korea and Syria blow up the world now – honestly if this is the kind of future we’re in for, it might be the best move.

So Coolio and Humvee fight, and it’s all pretty stupid, but then Van Helsing comes in and shoots at Coolio some more, wasting all of his bullets. Even when Coolio gets up after being shot the first time, Van Helsing just tries again. Are you stupid? Bullets don’t kill him, you Neanderthal! Luckily Humvee stabs him with a pool cue and kills him. Note also that they didn’t have enough money to do any ‘turning to dust’ effects…lame.

You already had sand in previous scenes, guys. You could have at least jump-cutted Coolio out of the scene and put sand there...sure it would have been stupid, but what ISN'T in this movie? C'mon.

They untie Aurora when she reveals she can’t be a vampire, because she’s – dun dun dun – A ROBOT, sent to monitor how incompetent they are and get them in trouble for it like they deserve! Humvee says they should just leave her tied up, because otherwise she’s just going to get them in trouble. Well what do you think is going to happen then, dipshit? Leaving her tied up is just the stupidest idea possible.

Up in the computer room, Van Helsing and the wheelchair-bound scientist guy research ways to kill vampires. The computer passes through several phrases like ‘stakes’ and ‘sunlight,’ but for some reason, the characters just ignore those right now. They do notice that Van Helsing shares his name with the famous vampire hunter from the 1800s, and yeah, that IS a pretty big coincidence, huh? Of all the ships that could have come across a vampire, it has to be the one with a Van Helsing descendent on it. What a coinky-dink.

And when Van Helsing meets up with Orlok and fights him, Orlok says that it’s destiny that they’ve met up. Yes, truly this movie is the rightful sequel to the Dracula storyline – a generic looking white guy in his 30s and the pimply D&D-playing Dracula fighting in the middle of the rejected Jason X sets. Such heart-wrenching drama!

Oh yeah, showdown of the century, man! D&D Dracula versus Lame-O Van Hellsing! Bring it on! Who's got the popcorn?

Meanwhile, Aurora tries to get Humvee to come help save Van Helsing, but he doesn’t believe her and thinks she’s just trying to lure him into a trap. So, he’ll open a door to someone he KNOWS is a vampire, because they were friends, but when someone he knows isn’t a vampire tells him to open a door, he gets suspicious? Something about that doesn’t add up. Even though he said he wouldn’t leave, the next scene shows him leaving, simply because he’s annoyed by the scientist computer wheelchair man’s whining. What a great character. What a great movie, right?

To add insult (and comedy) to injury, Orlok kills off Van Helsing, who was supposed to be our main character, and turns him into a vampire. Van Helsing gets unceremoniously killed off by Aurora, and Orlok gets his arm ripped off in a door, and that’s the last we see of either of them. Wow. How utterly underwhelming. Oh and somewhere in the middle of all this, Orlok goes and turns Mr. Wheelchair Scientist into a vampire, making the world’s first handicapped vampire!

The most worthless vampire in the whole world! The most pointless of all Satan's creations!

Seriously, what is the point? He can’t get out of the damn wheelchair even after he turns into a vampire! How is he going to reach anyone’s neck to bite them? Just rolling him down a ramp would kill him, frankly. In the movie’s constant quest to outmatch its own stupidity, Aurora stabs him violently to death and murders him easily. When Humvee asks how she knew he was a vampire, she says “I didn’t know.” So she’s just the kind of person who violently stabs people ON THE OFF CHANCE that they might be a vampire. Very nice. Charming.

The plan they come up with is to steer the ship toward the sun and kill Orlok that way. We don’t see Orlok again, because this movie is just that amazing and cares so much about its plot. Humvee and Aurora find out they only have 12 hours until the ship goes into the sun. Aurora says that she used to be a Pleasure Bot, and the two go off to have sex off screen.

Really, at this point they weren't even trying. I mean this ending is just...WOW. It's such an insane cop out! Really I'm convinced this whole thing was just a joke. And that's why I can't take it seriously enough to get mad. Not really.

And believe it or not…that’s the last we see of them. Not fighting off Orlok, not doing anything heroic, not even remembering their dead friends…just going off to have sex without a care in the world. Then we see the ship explode, and that’s the end!

Dracula 3000 didn't do so well on opening fact, it "bombed." In the truest sense of the word...ha ha...okay, my humor is getting as bad as the movie's. I'd better stop.

Or rather, I can’t even say ‘end,’ because it’s not an end. The movie just tapers off like they ran out of money and ideas, which, frankly, they probably did. Dracula 3000 is just about as stupid as it sounds – vampires in space? Really? It’s barely even worth reviewing at all. The only reason I did was because I found it on this abandoned spaceship, like I said. I always review things I just find in creepy abandoned places. It’s not weird at all.

Hey, what’s that? Who are you? Why are you coming closer with that menacing set of teeth? What are youAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH! NO! DON’T EAT MY HEAD! AGGGHHHH! IT'S DRACULA FROM THE FUTURE! HE'S FOUND ME! Have mercy on my soul!

Let this review be a warning: avoid Dracula 3000! Avoid it at all costs! Remember me as a critic of films!

If anyone would actually claim any of these images, I'd go ahead and just agree they were copyrighted to you. I guess they're copyrighted to the owners. But really, I'm guessing this lost more money than it made, so not a lot of incentive there, is there?