Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bloodsucker Sequels: Dracula II: The Ascension

Hiya gang and welcome back for Day 4 of Bloodsucker Sequels. Hey remember when director/writer Patrick Lussier retold the legend of Dracula in the year 2000? Thus getting the title Dracula 2000? What ever became of Simon Shepard and Mary Van Helsing? Did they ever drag down the smoking remains of Dracula and entomb in the crypt under Carfax Abbey? What if none of those questions will be answered at all? Then you would have a sequel ignoring its own storyline. This is Dracula II: Ascension.

Hey, that's not Gerald Butler!

So the fairly well spoken narrative of Mary being her father's daughter and the keeper of Dracula's remains...yeah we can toss that notion right out the window. RETCON! Hours after Dracula transmogrifies to Mr. Crispy due to intense ultraviolet rays he is wheeled into the morgue.  Prior to this reveal is our beginning story in Transylvania with Father Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee of Back to the Future II, Ghoulies Go to College, Map of the Human Heart, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Jungle Book, Tale of the Mummy, Soldier, Lilo & Stitch, Timecop: The Berlin Decision and The Prophecy: Forsaken and Seventh Son) with twin vamp girls (Jennifer Kroll of Weird Science, Cybill and Dracula II: Ascension) when he was injured by one of the vamps corrupting him. He walks in the sun and flogs himself to purge the evil.

Now according to a friend of mine who watched this with the commentary on; it was stated that the master of vampires' body was swapped for another and Mary ended up claiming another charred corpse and stowed him away. Apparently that scene just wasn't worth filming or maybe it hit the cutting floor. There goes her pre-natural senses. Interns Luke (Jason London of Dazed and Confused, Mixed Signals, Broken Vessels, The Rage: Carrie 2, Jason and the Argonauts and Grind)and Liz (Diane Neal of Dracula II: Ascension, Second Born, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS, Power, Suits and NCIS: New Orleans) work to move the body for an experimentation when they see the body healing on its own from third degree burns of bone and ash.

Jeremy? Jason here.  Look I'm not feeling this role. Cover for me?

Professor Lowell (Craig Sheffer of Nightbreed, A River Runs Through It, Hellraiser: Inferno, One Tree Hill and The Mark) suffering from palsy feels this is the real first step to repairing his on diseased cells. Along for the ride of science and the macabre is fellow intern/students Kenny (Khary Payton of Street Sharks, Certain Guys, Latter Days, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Teen Titans, Friday: The Animated Series, Ben 10, The Sims 3, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 and Young Justice) and bubbly Tanya (Brande Roderick of Club Wild Side 2, Stripper Wives, Baywatch, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding, Starsky & Hutch, Lucky 13 and The Daily Habit). So off to flirt with damnation and death then!

A middle man Eric meets to explain that large sacks of money are on their way if the kids play ball. Lowell goes on to explain the mythos of Dracula as he can apparently change his appearance after every resurrection (Hang on a tic, that's the Doctor's racket you hornin' in on, mate!) and their paltry explaination why Gerald Butler is not reprising his former role but now a platinum blonde man (Stephen Billington of Out of the Blue, Highlander: The Raven, Cornation Street, Resident Evil, Young Arthur, The Prophecy: Uprising, A Life in Suitcases and Hollyoaks) who flirts with Liz. With Luke being the only real one of sound mind, he goes shopping for holy water, knotted rope and seeds following the vampire mythos of their need to untie knots, count seeds and well holy water probably burns like the Dickens. Meanwhile, Father Uffizi is on the trail for Dracula as well and Heaven help whomever stops him.

Will tampering with Dracula lead to bodies hitting the floor? Should Luke pour holy water all over himself? Can Liz stop flittering between her collective men?

Patrick Lussier really wanted Dracula to be the pinnacle apex of evil so Billington claims to be to be Gilles de Rais (Knight and Marshal who was a companion at arms with Joan of Arc dabbled in satanism and child murder), Vlad Tepes (House of Draculesti, Prince of Wallachia and Vlad the Impaler), Proximus (Dux or General of Roman Legion) and of course Judas the Betrayer. It was if though Dracula was not evil enough and had to show the audience oh yes, this is a very bad man in case SOMEHOW you forgot that. While the first film dealt with shades of gray (Not 50!), Lussier feels the need to hammer it in your skull that Dracula is the personification of all that is evil. Subtle touch.

The effects of CGI blood and practical are a decent mesh but I would have preferred more practical vs CGI. It captures better on film. Jason Scott Lee's character is a righteous wrathful man that seems like the instrument of righteous cruelty rather than a man of God so it was interesting watching him balance the two sides of himself. Location wise this is a gorgeous region of hills, mountains and township to capture on film and connected in the heart of the mythos and Stoker's own writings. Overall this is not a bad movie but it does contradict a lot of the first film. 

OoOoOo he has the sweeping cloak effect going.