This Dracula tale needn't be told

Of late, Hollywood seems to be flirting with the idea of using historical people as heroes in vampire flicks. We saw this in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012). This new reboot of the classic Dracula deviates from the Bram Stoker version, and seeks inspiration from Romanian folk hero and one of history’s tyrants, Vlad the Impaler as the origin of Dracula.

Making a human of a medieval villain and making us feel sorry as to what made Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, into a monster is what few of us would want. The result is that there isn’t much romance, an intrinsic part in vampire films, though there’s bloodless action.

Here’s the “untold” part: Vlad (Evans) as a prisoner was forced to fight for the Ottoman Turks in his teens. Fast forward to the present, in which an adult Vlad is set to rule over his tiny kingdom, only to be deceived by Sultan Mehmed (Cooper), who demands 1,000 Transylvanian youth for the Turkish army. Vlad’s refusal results in destruction of Castle Dracula. With no choice, Vlad makes a bargain with Caligula (Dance), an ancient vampire. He is now as fast as a falling star, is as strong as 100 men, and is powerful enough to destroy his foes, except that he needs human blood to survive and the trust of his people.

One can consider Dracula Untold as a prelude to 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for it mixes historically true events such as the battle between the Turks and Vlad III, and a dose of fiction, the mystical source of Vlad’s strength. In his anti-hero role, Evans doesn’t match up, despite his looks. Gadon’s role as Miren, Dracula’s wife is almost wasted as is that of Cooper.

While the CGI is good, the events that lead to the last battle lack logic — Why would Dracula waste the night’s advantage to kill the Turk soldiers and instead wait for the army that comes just before sunrise?

Dracula Untold is entertaining, though forgettable. This is one Dracula tale that would best stay untold.

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