Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Dracula II - Ascension

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: R

Starring:
Jason Scott Lee as Uffizi
Jason London as Luke
Roy Scheider as Cardinal Siqueros
Craig Sheffer as Lowell
Diane Neal as Elizabeth Blaine
John Light as Eric
Khary Payton as Kenny
Brande Roderick as Tanya
Stephen Billington as Dracula
Nick Phillips as Officer Smith
Jennifer Kroll as The Victim

Special Features:
Cast Auditions

Feature Commentary With Director Patrick Lussier, Screenwriter Joel Soisson, And Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Gary Tunnicliffe

Deleted Scenes

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 85 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the sequel to Dracula 2000.

In New Orleans, a group of med students working in a morgue discover a body of a vampire. Little do they know it is Dracula himself. Adding to the mystery is an offer from an anonymous caller. They offer the students $30 million for the body. Believing it is an offer too good to pass up, they steal the body. However, their professor has other plans.

The professor wants to revive the vampire corpse and study it in order to make medical discoveries. He believes the vampire holds the key to not only curing his physical handicaps but to unlocking the answer to immortality. However, it doesnít take long for the group to get in over their heads as they each follow their own agenda.

To make matters worse, a vampire killer from the Vatican is hot on their trail and determined to kill Dracula. Heís also ready to kill anyone who becomes vampires themselves.

Dracula II Ė Ascension is rated R for violence / gore and language.

The Movie:
I never saw Dracula 2000, so I canít say if this film is any better or worse than its predecessor. A straight-to-video release is not usually a good sign, but this movie is better than I was expecting. With a decent cast, interesting plot, and good monster makeup, itís better than I thought it would be.

Dracula II Ė Ascension is not a great vampire flick, but itís not a bad one either. It deals with some unique aspects of the typical vampire tale that havenít been thoroughly explored before. It was interesting to see a group of medical students get their hands on a vampire corpse. What would they do? How would they deal with it? Throwing in the mysterious buyer was also an intriguing twist. Then, in the end, the priest actually absolves Dracula of his sins. The aspect of forgiveness is rarely explored in horror films, and though this film only briefly touches on it, it helps elevate the finale a bit more.

However, what really makes the movie good is Jason Scott Lee. Heís one of my favorite actors and he is cool as the vampire killer / father in the movie. Heís driven and ruthless yet still a good guy. Lee handles the action well and makes a nice nemesis for Dracula. He more than holds his own against the vampires.

While the movie had a lot of good aspects, it still had its fair share of problems. The rest of the supporting cast is rather unmemorable. None of the really stand out beyond being victims for Dracula. And while the film starts out very strong, it soon degenerates into your typical horror film where people are picked off one by one in a gory manner. There are no twists or turns in the plot that arenít expected. The movie also ends on a strange note implying that Dracula is either Judas or that Jesus was a vampire. I wasnít exactly clear on that matter.

Anyway, this film would make a decent renter of youíre any kind of horror fan. Also, you can look forward to a third Dracula film coming soon. This one and its sequel were shot at the same time.

The Extras:

There are three extra features on this DVD:

Cast Auditions Ė This section features the audition videos of each of the secondary cast members. Itís amusing to watch, especially considering how unglamorous everyone looks. Itís quite a dramatic difference between these videos and the final product.

Feature Commentary With Director Patrick Lussier, Screenwriter Joel Soisson, And Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Gary Tunnicliffe Ė The commentary by these guys is pretty interesting. They keep things pretty lively. They discuss a lot about their thinking behind the plot. (Itís enlightening to realize they really did put a lot of thought into the plot.) They also discuss a lot about what to expect in the third Dracula film.

Deleted Scenes Ė There are about 4 deleted scenes featured. Theyíre all really uninteresting and arenít really worth checking out. They were really only cut to save screentime or make the characters look a little better than they were.

The Bottom Line:
This filmís really only for horror fans and fans of Jason Scott Lee. It will make a decent renter for you.

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