Director: Pearry Reginald Teo
Screenplay: Nicole Jones-Dion, Steven Paul, Pearry Reginald Teo
Starring: Luke Roberts, Jon Voight, Kelly Wenham, Ben Robson, Holly Earl, Stephen Hogan
Running Time: 92 Mins
Release Date: 03/02/14
Reviewed by Guy Adams
What a strange movie DRACULA – THE DARK PRINCE is. Itâ€™s part reimagining of Dracula, part bible tract, part episode of XENA – WARRIOR PRINCESS. Sadly these parts never really add up to anything.
Luke Robertsâ€™ Dracula is a lovesick mediaeval prince who has â€˜turned his back on Godâ€™ after his wife was killed by political conspirators while he was away fighting â€˜holy warsâ€™. The questioning of faith caused by such courtly skullduggery seems to have given him fangs and turned him into a vampire. Being an atheist I await the inevitable.
He searches for the Lightbringer, a weapon made out of balsa-wood, tin and CGI. Only the direct descendants of Cain and Abel can wield the Lightbringer. Cainâ€™s descendants are evil, Abelâ€™s descendants are good â€” well, biblically theyâ€™re nonexistent because he didnâ€™t have any children before his brother placed a rock forcefully into his cerebellum, but letâ€™s not split heirs.
In the wrong hands, the Lightbringer can bring back someone from the dead. In the right hands, with itâ€™s funny little spinning scythes of doom, it can kill Luke Roberts.
Itâ€™s all terribly muddled and that was with Jon Voight explaining, a man who has bitten as many pieces of scenery in his time as Dracula has bitten throats. Heâ€™s on relatively calm behaviour here, wielding an accent that could curdle milk but otherwise good value. Heâ€™s Leonardo Van Helsing and he loves God and travels with a pair of young female disciples. The sort of disciples who were leather trousers and kick bottoms. When one of those disciples is kidnapped by Dracula (to occupy the inevitable â€˜Dead Ringer for My Dead FiancÃ©â€™ role) Voight is joined by a plucky young thief (and male love interest) and another Monster Hunter with Emotional Axe to Grind.
Itâ€™s terribly, terribly formulaic. Each beat clicking into place with the ingenuity of a childâ€™s jigsaw puzzle.
In fact thatâ€™s what the movie feels like, a romp for children. A modern-day HAWK THE SLAYER that might feel exciting to an audience thatâ€™s never seen its like before. Though, to comfortably play to that market there may be the odd naked breast too many for some mammary-averse parents.
Itâ€™s also hard to sympathise with heroes who claim that loving your fiancÃ© more than God makes you evil. The religious elements feel less like window-dressing and more like important messages the filmmaker wishes to impart on his audience. But what strange, mixed messages they are.
Dracula never gets to really vamp it up, making him feel a bit toothless. Heâ€™s far from evil, which would be fine were there someone else to take his place as a worthy villain but there isnâ€™t.
It just about passes the time, but, with no clear audience or tone in mind itâ€™s hard to honestly recommend.