Published Oct 10, 2014The latest re-telling of the Dracula legend explores his origins as Transylvanian prince, Vlad The Impaler (Luke Evans), who runs a peaceful kingdom with his lovely wife (Sarah Gadon) until Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper) demands 1,000 of his kingdom's boys, including Vlad's own son, to join his army.
To save his family and subjects, Vlad tracks down an ancient sorcerer named Caligula (Charles Dance), who offers him a devil of a deal: I'll make you as strong and fast as 100 men so you can destroy entire armies by yourself, but in return you must forever drink human blood to stay alive. And so, Dracula is born. Dracula fights Mehmed's armies and protects his wife, child and kingdom.
What's surprising is that Dracula Untold is really an action flick with occasional neck biting; don't expect horror. Instead, there are loud, CGI-fuelled battlefield scenes galore. The vampiric element bares its fangs only towards the end of them and disappears quickly — too quickly.
That's disappointing. Overall, this doesn't feel like a Dracula movie. Rather, Dracula Untold resembles a videogame raging on an IMAX screen, with way too much action and not enough story. It's hard to feel anything for Vlad or his wife Mirena, because we hardly know them. Instead, there is a parade of bone-crunching combat that numbs the senses.
Sure, the battle scenes are awesome to behold on the big screen, and the sound effects are amazing, but moments such as Vlad slaying an entire army by himself are hard to swallow, and the ending is a little predictable.
Dracula Untold doesn't suck, but it doesn't soar either. It looks like so many special effects spectacles that populate movie screens in the summer, not in the fall.