I went in to Wes Craven Presents Dracula III: Legacy cold, without having seen either Dracula 2000 or Wes Craven Presents Dracula II: Ascension, so I can't really compare what has come before with what takes place here. I was cautiously optimistic about the film, though (the name Wes Craven doesn't necessarily guarantee quality the way it once did). There are some things I didn't like about Dracula III, but overall it's a better than average vampire film. There could have been more blood and gore, and some of the special effects toward the end smelled slightly of cheese, but Jason Scott Lee pretty much carries the film. His character, Father Uffizi, isn't your typical vampire hunter - and he's certainly not your typical priest - and I think that gives the film a special little spin. Unfortunately, the movie is short on hot vampire chicks. Diane Neal more than fits the bill, but she's limited to the film's final scenes.
Father Uffizi is going after Dracula, with or without the Church's blessing (the Church being represented by Roy Scheider in a short, nonessential cameo). Unfortunately, he takes an annoying do-gooder sidekick with him. I can understand Luke's (Jason London) motivation, since the woman he loves is now a plaything of the vampire and it's apparently all his fault, but his is the kind of character vampire movies just don't need - unless they're going for comedy. The two make their way to Romania, a country in the throes of civil war, and fight their way through a number of obstacles - both human and vampiric. Along the way, they take up with an English journalist who is about to get the scoop of her life (assuming she lives to report it, of course) when she learns that the real source of the trouble in Romania is a vampire. As you might expect, the final scenes play out in Dracula's abode, and I can't say I was all that impressed with the head honcho blood-sucker. He's not all that bright to have caused so much trouble for so many centuries and his security system could certainly do with some improvements - and it takes more than harsh whispering to make a vampire truly impressive. Half the time, I had to strain to understand whatever rubbish Rutger Hauer was putting out there. I liked the ending, though - it's not unpredictable, but it is subtle.
The special effects are pretty darn good for the most part; human appendages tend to be less impressive when they're separated from the body, and I thought the special effects of the climactic scenes could have been better, but I'm not really complaining. Okay, I will complain about one thing. Uffizi has this deadly arsenal of blades, but we usually have to settle for watching blood splatter on the walls rather than see the blades do their dirty work. There's no shortage of that blood, though.
It's hard to offer a new take on the Dracula legend, but this movie does a pretty good job of it. I've certainly seen worse - much, much worse. Seeing Dracula III won't make your life complete, but I think most vampire fans will enjoy it.