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Van Helsing [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Famed monster slayer Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is dispatched to Transylvania to assist the last of the Valerious bloodline in defeating Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) reveals that Dracula has formed an unholy alliance with Dr. Frankenstein's monster (Shuler Hensley) and is hell-bent on exacting a centuries-old curse on her family. Together Anna and Van Helsing set out to destroy their common enemy, but uncover some unsettling secrets along the way.
Like a roller coaster ready to fly off its rails, Van Helsing rockets to maximum velocity and never slows down. Having earned blockbuster clout with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, writer-director Stephen Sommers once again plunders Universal's monster vault and pulls out all the stops for this mammoth $148-million action-adventure-horror-comedy, which opens (sans credits) with a terrific black-and-white prologue that pays homage to the Universal horror classics that inspired it. The plot pits legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) against Dracula (the deliciously campy Richard Roxburgh), his deadly blood-sucking brides, and the Wolfman (Will Kemp) in a two-hour parade of outstanding special effects (980 in all) that turn Sommers' juvenile plot into a triple-overtime bonus for CGI animators. In alliance with a Transylvanian princess (Kate Beckinsale) and the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley), Van Helsing must prevent Dracula from hatching his bat-winged progeny, and there's so much good-humored action that you're guaranteed to be thrilled and exhausted by the time the 10-minute end-credits roll. It's loud, obnoxious, filled with revisionist horror folklore, and aimed at addicted gamers and eight-year-olds, but this colossal monster mash (including Mr. Hyde, just for kicks) will never, ever bore you. A sequel is virtually guaranteed. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.