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Dimension Films presents
Dracula III: Legacy (2005)

"He's gone back to Romania. Somewhere in the Carpathians."
- Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: July 14, 2005

Stars: Jason Scott Lee, Jason London
Other Stars: Alexandra Westcourt, Rutger Hauer, Roy Scheider, Diane Neal, Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Director: Patrick Lussier

MPAA Rating: R for vampire violence, language and nudity
Run Time: 01h:30m:22s
Release Date: July 12, 2005
UPC: 786936235456
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B-B+B B+

DVD Review

As the third film in his vampire series—the latest chapter after Dracula 2000 and Dracula II: Ascension—writer/director Patrick Lussier takes what he refers to as a Heart of Darkness approach to the mythos, with Drac heading "upriver", back to the old home country. As a carryover or continuation from Dracula II: Ascension, vampire-infected priest/slayer Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee) is in hot pursuit, teamed up with de facto sidekick Luke (Jason London), who is out to save his gal pal Elizabeth (Diane Neal) from the clutches of the famous undead one, after she was snatched up at the end of the second film.

It is sometimes a challenge to fall in line with the third go-round in a series if you're new to it, but as with most horror sequels you can probably fill in some of the cracks yourself, thanks to the chunks of requisite expository dialogue that does its best to put everyone on the same page rather quickly. The short version is that scythe-swinging Uffizi and wisecracking Luke find themselves in war-torn Romania tracking Dracula, a country knee-deep in civil war where the rebels demand that government officials show themselves in the daylight, as it becomes clear that corruption and unrest now includes vampirism. With a television reporter (Alexandra Westcourt) in tow, the trio battle their way across the countryside, all leading to what we all assume will eventually be a final confrontation with the seldom seen Dracula (Rutger Hauer).

This one isn't as altogether clever as the first two, and serves more as a vehicle to finish up what has already been laid out. In fact, Rutger Hauer's Dracula almost seems like an afterthought, relegated to a handful of scenes in the final moments. Much of the time it's Uffizi and company battling assorted lower level vamps, including an unusual fight with one on stilts, and what that means is that much of Dracula III: Legacy is like foreplay to a sex act that ends too soon. But the story here is a necessity even if it doesn't offer the same kind of nouveau thrills found in the others, considering the second film seemed incomplete. Lussier paints his hero into an interesting corner this time around, and while Jason Scott Lee isn't necessarily the most well-schooled actor I've ever seen, his character of Uffizi continues to show some post-Buffy promise as the new troubled slayer in town.

In true sequel tradition, Dracula III: Legacy is the weakest link in the trilogy, continuing the usual law of diminishing return; yet it does fill in a void of sort, concluding the travels started in Dracula II: Ascension. As a standalone it is fairly routine, but for all his stiffness I kind of like the Uffizi character, and the banter between Jason Scott Lee and Jason London makes up for the general absence of Dracula.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: It is nice to see a straight-to-DVD horror title get released in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (it seems to give it more legitimacy), and Dimension really gives Lussier's film a more-than-respectable treatment that compliments the impressive cinematography from Douglas Milsome that makes Dracula III:Legacy look like a larger budgeted project. Colors have a golden, reddish hue for most of the outdoor sequences, and the print here offers up sharp, detailed image quality, even during the obligatory dark castle sequences.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track isn't quite as aggressively mixed as Dracula II: Ascension was, but the presentation is still fairly lively. Rear channels do carry the crackle of burning corpses or a low-flying chopper, but it isn't as frequent as it could have been. Sub activity, on the other hand, is quite noticeable, with those heavy Romanian church doors causing some adequate rumble.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Sin City, Cursed, Hostage, Hellraiser:Hellworld, The Prophecy, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension
1 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
6 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Patrick Lussier, Joel Soisson, Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Script Treatments
Extras Review: A nice job on the supplements from Dimension for the third installment in this particular Dracula trilogy, beginning with a commentary track from writer/director Patrick Lussier, producer Joel Soisson and Special Makeup Designer Gary J. Tunnicliffe. It's a fast-moving track, with the bulk of the talk about not just the challenges of shooting two films at once (Dracula II and Dracula III), but doing it all in Romania.

After the commentary come a couple of short interviews, one with director Lussier and the other with makeup designer Gary Tunnicliffe. A Conversation With Director Patrick Lussier on the Mythology of Vampires (04m:38s) is brief talk about the variations in the vampire/Dracula myth, and A Conversation with Gary Tunnicliffe (08m:05s) runs a bit longer, and it's broken into five separate sections. Tunnicliffe talks about shooting in Romania, the problem with frozen contact lenses or gluing together broken scythes, and the coolness of being an effects guy shooting a Dracula film in Transylvania.

There is also a set of Cast Auditions for three of the Romanian supporting players—George Grigore (02m:35s), Ilinca Goia (02m:26s), Claudiu Bleont (03m:02s)—as well as lead actress Alexandra Westcort (05m:29s). A single deleted scene (02m:26s) is called "Flat Tire," and is basically an extended version of the sequence when Uffizi and Luke discover the burning, staked corpses. A slightly more hokey alternate ending (01m:19s) is included, and I for one vote for the one Lussier chose for the final print as opposed to this one.

Here's something that fills in some cracks: treatments for all three of Lussier's Dracula films (text screens broken into chapters) are also on this disc, which represent a chance to see how the original stories were meant to go. An easy to find easter egg (04m:49s) shows some hand-held footage of various locations (railyard, monastery) used in the film.

Extras conclude with a set of trailers, with the disc having been cut into 17 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

It's hard to tell whether or not this will be the end of Patrick Lussier's enjoyable Dracula series, and I'm kind of hoping he gets a chance to extend the mythos that he has create a bit more. Even though the title vamp only logs what amounts to a few minutes of screen time here, it is the developing relationship between Jason Scott Lee and Jason London that actually provides the hook in this entry, so much so that it wasn't until afterwards that I realized just how little Rutger Hauer (Dracula) had been onscreen.

If you saw the first two, this one is an easy recommendation, especially with the inclusion of some decent supplemental material. If you're new to Lussier's spin on the legendary fanged one, pick up Dracula 2000 and start at the beginning.

 


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