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Van Helsing - 6.0/10

I went to Van Helsing (VH) with little expectation, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. This was not to be the case. The movie, while featuring some above average fight sequences – which seemed to be crafted specifically for the post-movie video game industry – suffers from excessiveness. Too much CG, too much action (read, not enough character development), and way, way too many major monsters (aka boss characters). Normally, you wouldn’t care about hordes of mindless (and often faceless) zombies doing interior decorating in shades of gore, but VH doesn’t go that route. Instead, it chooses to load the movie with plenty of super-baddies, with the result that not one is developed properly (does the Wolfman regret his nocturnal activities? Does Dracula have any secret regrets about his lifestyle?) The only character chosen to exhibit any sort of character development is Frankenstein’s monster – and that’s too little, too late.

All in all, VH is a gothic representation of 2002’s “XXX”, except that Vin Diesel brought to the latter an Arnie-like implacable force of destruction. Hugh Jackman can’t compete with that. He needs space to fill out the character – look at the amazing work he’s done in the X-Men series of movies.

If I were you, I’d wait for the DVD on this one.

As an aside, I find it troubling that Hollywood’s creativity – in designing action/ adventure stars – to be atrophying. There seem to have been two major templates created in the last 5 years from which most of today’s characters are derived. The first, The Matrix, brought the long leather/vinyl overcoat that’s popular with *everyone* now. The second is Hugh Jackman’s own X-Men, which has given rise to the blades-popping-out-of-nowhere style of character. Please, please, will no one rid me of these meddlesome influences?

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