"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Vern Reviews CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE and DRACULA 2: HYPERDRACULA!!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Vern’s a good egg. If you don’t know that by now, then catch up to the rest of us and enjoy this new review by him.

Boys –

It’s me Vern. Remember me, I write articles, win awards, etc. Today I am returning to my old shtick of reviewing straight to video sequels nobody asked for. Enjoy!

Actually the first picture I’m gonna deal with here is not completely un-asked for. The first movie CUBE was one of those small time cult movies that nobody is really rabid about but everybody kind of likes. The premise is that a group of strangers find themselves inside strange, symmetrical rooms with vault doors on each side. When they go through a door, they find themselves in a room exactly like the last one. And when they go through one of the doors in there, it’s another room exactly like that one. And when they go through one of the doors in there, it’s another room exactly like that one. And I could go on man. There’s nowhere to go. So of course they get into a George A. Romero type deal where they each have a different background and they argue and what not by they try to put aside their differences to solve the puzzle of “what in fuck’s name is going on here.” There is math, etc.

Cube 2: HypercubeThe acting is not all that great and none of the actors really have the kind of screen presence you want them to have. And the dialogue isn’t exactly on Romero’s level. But it’s such a good premise that you can’t help but enjoy it.

Well CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE is almost the same level of quality as the first one, its main downfall being that we’ve already seen this before. They do shake up the premise a little by introducing this idea of the “hypercube.” I don’t know if they made this up or if this is some actual thing that weirdo math guys are into, but the idea is that it is a 4 dimensional cube. There is length, width, depth, and the mysterious fourth dimension. Maybe time, maybe smell, who knows what it is. Only some math whiz guy I guess. Not me, I am a Writer.

Anyway what this hybercube deal does is when you go through one of the doors, you don’t necessarily go into the next cube over. Maybe you go into another room ten miles away. Maybe you go into another cube ten minutes ago and run into yourself. These poor fucks start getting shifted all around time and space and they get attacked by flying geometry and shit. I guess you would call it math-fi, like that movie π. (you know, like PIE.) It’s π in a box.

Now I don’t exactly remember who the poor saps were that got trapped in the first cube, but these ones are maybe a little more obvious. You can tell right away that you’re gonna get your standard business – they all are hiding a secret, one of them may or may not betray the others, etc. So it’s not that surprising that the Writer, Sean Hood, also did that piece of garbage HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION. Now, if I remember right – correct me if I’m wrong on this – that was the one that sucked the most out of all the HALLOWEEN pictures. I mean there were alot of sucky ones in the series, for example part 3, part 4, part 5 and of course part 6. But there was one that sucked more than any other and that would be the one that involved the internet, reality tv, Busta Rhymes dressed as Michael Meyers, etc.

Anyway fuck the writer, what does he do other than make up all the stuff that happens. Cinema is a visual medium, not a stuff happening medium. The filmatist here is Andrzej Sekula, who we all know and love as the cinematographist of RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION. Oh and who could forget COUSIN BETTE. This is his second time in the director chair after some movie called FAIT ACCOMPLI aka VOODOO DAWN. He also acts as director of photographing and I think the new look he gave to the cube, let’s call it the HYPERLOOK, is pretty nice.

Remember when they had hypercolor, it was a type of clothes that changes color from your body heat. what the fuck man.

Anyway the movie held my attention. There is less numbers and more geometry. There is a pretty grim ending that gives you a look into the outside world without being too specific about what’s going on. I mean it’s okay.

Dracula II: AscensionThe other movie I saw recently is not quite up to that okay standard though. It is called DRACULA II: ASCENSION. I wish I could say it was DRACULA II: HYPERDRACULA but I’m afraid that would be a lie. I’m also sorry to say that this is not Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee or Frank Langella, who is an underrated Dracula. Instead it is “the thrilling sequel to DRACULA 2000.” Like the thrilling predecessor, it is directed by a guy named Patrick Lussier and thrillingly executive produced by Wes Craven.

I don’t know why the studios think we trust Wes Craven to present a movie to us. I mean I know he has done some pretty good stuff in the past, like the first and last Freddy pictures, and THE HILLS HAVE EYES, and to a certain extent THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. As a director he’s hit and miss, but as an executive producer he has an unbroken record of garbage. I mean, have you seen MINDRIPPER? Or WISHMASTER? “Careful… what you weesh for…” I mean jesus man. And there was that remake of CARNIVAL OF SOULS. I never saw it but that’s because I read that it was about a serial killer clown.

Well DRACULA 2000 is probaly one of Mr. Craven’s better outings as an executive producer. I remember it being not all that bad, while also not all that good. I can’t really remember much about it so I was gonna refresh my memory by reading my review of it, but turns out it was so memorable I forgot to review it. Oh well. All I remember is that it followed most of the old resurrecting Dracula cliches from the Hammer movies pretty closely, in a year 2000 setting, with a little biblical twist tying in Dracula to Judas. I found it mildly entertaining.

But DRACULA II pretty much abandons Dracula. Instead it’s the story of a group of medical students with no screen presence who capture a vampire and think they can get money out of it. Other than the beginning and end, the entire movie takes place in an old mansion where they have the vampire tied up. I guess the vampire must be Dracula, but he sure doesn’t seem like the Dracula I know. He stays tied up until the last ten minutes of the movie. He is a spikey haired punk vampire. He’s not the suave, seductive sex machine Dracula of the movies, or the hideous, hypnotic Dracula of the book who has the power to control weather, spiders and moths and turn into a wolf and shit.

Just once I would like to see a movie Dracula that controls moths. Nobody ever controls moths in movies, in my opinion.

Anyway, this isn’t much of a Dracula movie. And I mean I understand when you can’t get the cast to return for a cheapass sequel. Obviously Taye Diggs wouldn’t come back for this. But Dracula is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER. It shouldn’t be hard to talk him into a meatier role than this. They basically have him do a walkon at the end, when he becomes Rutger Hauer in what I guess is the setup for the thrilling sequel to DRACULA II. (I didn’t realize he ever changed into Rutger Hauer, but the credits list Hauer as playing “Dracula 3” and some other guy as “Dracula 2.”)

Brande Roderick plays one of the medical students, and in the film’s best scene they find themselves around a campfire discussing their careers. MC Hammer lectures Corey Feldman saying that celebrities have no right to complain about their lives when there are people out there really struggling to put food on their tables. Suddenly a coyote howls and Emmanuel Lewis jumps up and runs for the tent. He comes back with a rolled up towel. He unrolls it and inside is a huge knife, and he starts swinging it around!

Oh I’m sorry, that wasn’t DRACULA II, that was some tv show that Brande Roderick is on. Man you boys should watch that show. MC Hammer and Emmanuel Lewis share a bunkbed, and in the morning Hammer says, “Manny Moe, you get the bathroom first, followed by your co-pilot.” I never seen anything like it.

Anyway there is nothing even close to that entertaining in this movie, but there is one element that is worth singling out as “good.” In fact the opening scene had me convinced it was going to be a worthwhile viewing experience, since it starts off with a badass vampire slayer priest played by Jason Scott Leigh.

Jason Scott Leigh is of course the guy who played Bruce Lee in DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY, and if you’ve seen that you know he’s pretty phenomenal. The guy looks nothing like Bruce Lee, and he’s a totally different body type. But somehow in the fight scenes he scrunches his body up and he moves just right and at times he makes you think of him as really being Bruce Lee. I mean people are always talking about actors gaining weight or doing accents or whatever, but that was a case of a guy really going through an amazing physical transformation, and he seems to just do it with his movements. That’s a real underrated movie too, a good balance of corny romance and kung-fu action. Too bad the director turned into Rob Cohen.

Anyway, Mr. Leigh was perfect casting to play this generic, er, iconic type character of the asskicking priest. He really makes him cool. He’s got long hair and a long coat and when you see him in silhouette you assume he’s Dracula. But then you see his collar. He gets to do some martial arts, kill some vampires with a whip, carry around a couple severed heads. But his best scene is early on when he’s been nicked by a vampire so he takes his shirt off and goes out into the sunlight and screams in pain as the vampirism is apparently burned out of his body. He makes it agonizing.

Unfortunately, his character takes the backseat to the “plot” and mostly disappears until the end of the movie, when he swoops in to make the save and turn the movie vaguely interesting again.

By the way, if you don’t figure out the second you see Craig Sheffer in a wheelchair that he’s gonna get bit and start walking, then you might be able to enjoy this movie. sorry I gave it away to you though, whoops. Or who knows, maybe that won’t happen, nobody really knows.

One last thing about this movie. One of the ways they keep the guy who is apparently Dracula tied up for the whole movie is they put a net on top of him. Because vampires can get distracted by knots. I knew I had seen this obscure vampire detail in one other movie, so I was thinking it must’ve been DRACULA 2000 I. But looking at my old reviews it turned out to be HABIT, the most watchable of Larry Fessenden’s Pretentious Horror Trilogy. In my review of HABIT I included a random offhand comment:

“There’s also at least one obscure vampire detail, that she gets preoccupied by knots. I hope they bring that one back in DRACULA 2000 II.”

Well, I got my knots, but in order to get that I also had to get DRACULA II.

“Careful… what you weesh for…”

thanks boys

Vern

I just keep re-reading that digression about MC Hammer and Emmanuel Lewis. You made me laugh ginger ale out my nose with that one, Vern, and I wasn’t even drinking ginger ale at the time. You rock, man. Nice to hear from you, as always.

“Moriarty” out.

Originally posted at Aint-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/14486

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
  • February 17, 2003 9:08 AM CST

    Man, Vern, I don’t want to watch EITHER of these movies, but aft

    by Dog Of Mystery

    Unfortunately, I’m gonna keep looking for Emmanuel Lewis to turn to MC Hammer just befor the big vamp fight and say, “Please, Hammer. Don’t hurt ’em.”

  • February 17, 2003 9:21 AM CST

    Cube was, IMO, a copout

    by BTWR

    I totally agree on your assessment of Cube (everyone liked, no one loved), but for different reasons. I LOVED cube, until the “cryptic” ending. Not to do any spoilers, but the “mystery element” of Cube was great. “What’s going on here? Who made this cube? Why are they here? Why these people?” were some fantastic questions. Unlike Fight Club or the Sixth Sense, there were NO hints as to what the actual answers to these questions were earlier in the movie (for the record, I don’t pretend to have known the FC or TSS twists, but others claim to, honest or not). But in the end, if you saw the movie, they TOTALLY COPPED OUT! They wimped out! ***Spoiler*** They leave it as a “well, YOU figure it out” ending, and it’s more along the lines of “We can’t think of a great idea to end this, so we’ll just end it here.” The right way to do an ending like that is, for example, Shawshank or Fight Club, where they adequatly answer the questions, but the charachters are now left in a position where you wonder “Now what happens to them?” and the credits roll. It is nice to wonder what Andy and Red now do, or what ever happens to Tyler Durden (Norton’s character has no actual name), but to simply have had Brad Pitt say “What the F*cl are you doing with that gun?” and then have credits roll would be a total copout. Cube is a movie where I give the first 89 minutes a 10 and the last minute a 0, making it a failing 5/10 overall. Too bad. ***AUFT***

  • February 17, 2003 9:28 AM CST

    Seriously, this guy Vern is the best reviewer EVER.

    by Vegas

    Those digressions are far more entertaining than anything in Dracula 2000 II could possibly be. Way to go man.

  • February 17, 2003 9:43 AM CST

    Now I have to see both of these…

    by Frank Black

    I love the badness of movies that think they are good, like Dracula 2000. I liked the first “Cube,” and will see that, but I would have skipped this Dracula, (I’m really Jesus,) sequel, but after this review, I’m seeking out the DVD. The first one had Vitamin C, (former lead singer of Eve’s Plum,) topless, and crazy-Christopher Plummer as a VanHelsing kind of guy, so maybe this one will have more absurd bits of fun. Great reviews. Still laughing.

  • February 17, 2003 11:14 AM CST

    I know it’s a little presumptuous, but

    by themikejonas

    Don’t you think that an Asian/Asian-American actor wouldn’t be named “Jason Scott Leigh,” but rather “Jason Scott Lee”?

    Just being nitpicky. :)

  • February 17, 2003 11:20 AM CST

    Sweet Georgia Brown!

    by JPanic

    These are the best reviews I’ve ever read of movies I’ll never see. More Vern!!

  • February 17, 2003 12:13 PM CST

    Did Cube rip-off Jim Henson?

    by Declan_Swartz

    Jim Henson’s: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0291118 Vincenzo Natali’s: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0123755 Henson spoke about it in a Dark Crystal interview: http://users.bestweb.net/~foosie/henson.htm The Henson Company told my friend that there is no connection, but he found that one of the new Cube’s producers, Betty Orr, had once worked on The Jim Henson Hour: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Orr,+Betty The only places to see Henson’s Cube are The Museum of Television & Radio Los Angeles and New York City: www.mtr.org

  • February 17, 2003 12:16 PM CST

    This joker’s a writer?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Maybe I just don’t get it. sk

  • February 17, 2003 12:21 PM CST

    hypercube

    by Chaka015

    yay. i just downloa- i mean rented this. the first was really cool. it would have been alot better if the actors could have done their job and acted. i’m hoping that this doesn’t completely suck.

  • February 17, 2003 12:33 PM CST

    Did he actually just say “fuck writers”….

    by Hog_Hug

    ….and actually mean it? Aw never mind, I do actually want to see these movies now. In the same way that I want to watch Ed Wood movies, to see just how bad it could be.

  • February 17, 2003 12:34 PM CST

    AUFT = All Us Felching Talkbackers…

    by Dog Of Mystery

    Give the threading nonsense up. If you don’t like this board, if you don’t like Harry get the fuck out, and take your right wing friends with you.

  • February 17, 2003 12:36 PM CST

    Yeah, Rev, he’s a writer

    by No. 41

    His disdain for question marks on interrogatives is merely his own little e e cummings-esque stylistic flourish. That’s the ticket. And his succinct commentary of Cube II as “okay” tells you all you need to know and is still a wry, Gen-Y comment on life on this post-modern world. I mean, everything is all just okay, isn’t it? And my wife is Morgan Fairchild, whom I’ve seen naked.

  • February 17, 2003 1:48 PM CST

    Thanks for the comments

    by Vern

    Good point about Merlin controlling moths in lord of the rings part 1. I bet that’s the only time it’s ever happened in a movie. Well I guess you could count the little Peanut girls in Mothra. Never mind. But there’s still not enough mothing in the films of Cinema. I never heard of that Jim Henson movie but it definitely sounds similar (but with a sense of humor). I bet that woulda creeped the shit out of people if they played it on Sesame Street. Also good spelling on Jason Scott Lee. Like I said, I am not a mathematician or a speller, I am only an award winning Writer.
    I don’t think the first Cube was a copout. Actually it mighta ruined it if they did explain what was happening. I think it’s one of those things where what your imagination fills in is always gonna be better than what they show you. A good example of this is the big explanation at the end of VANILLA SKY. I know there are better examples than that but none are coming to mind. But would you want them to say at the end of THE THING that either Keith David or Kurt Russell is the thing? No, you want to leave it up to your imagination. Anyway HYPERCUBE gives you a little more and I think some people (not you) will be disappointed by that, although I thought it was handled real well. And finally the name of the show with Emmanuel Lewis is called THE SURREAL LIFE and it is on thursdays on the froggy channel. I highly recommend it.

  • February 17, 2003 2:37 PM CST

    “Jason Scott Leigh”

    by ChaseSequence

    I didn’t realize Jason Scott Lee and Jennifer Jason Leigh got married. How 21st century of him to take HER name. Why wasn’t AICN on top of THAT story?!

  • February 17, 2003 2:47 PM CST

    Fuck Vern’s report, here’s a real horror story

    by FD Resurrected

    http://www.nbc4.tv/news/1981137/detail.html – Fucking vampire scums. Read at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • February 17, 2003 3:42 PM CST

    If only all reviews were as funny as this…

    by trench404

    I totally agree Vegas, this review was pant wettingly good, by far the funniest thing I’ve read here in ages. I’ll check out Hypercube when I can, despite the trailer making it look like a tacky piece of straight-to-video lame CGI-fest. Bravo Vern, keep up to good work.

  • February 17, 2003 4:02 PM CST

    Is this Vern the ex-con?

    by Villa Restil

    If this is the same guy I’m thinking of, I found his web site a few months back. Great stuff.

    http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/veranda/3556/index.html

  • February 17, 2003 5:33 PM CST

    Although I was kind of expecting HYPERCUBE

    by Silvio Dante

    it can’t be as entertaining as this review. Great stuff!

  • February 17, 2003 7:04 PM CST

    one good thing about dracula 2 (spoilers)

    by nekrophile23

    [SPOILER]
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Dracula actually wins! If you follow vampire movies at all, you know that in the end the main protaganist always has to show up and kill Dracula just as he’s about to get away w/ the girl. Happily, this does not happen in Dracula II: Ascension. While the movie is not a classic by any means, I’ll give props to the director for giving the fans what they want to see. It’s quite obvious too that Mr. Lussier has a thing for women w/ fangs.

  • February 17, 2003 7:54 PM CST

    the CUBE script was way better in the first draft

    by Jarek

    Many things needed to be changed in the Cube script before it got lensed. If it was shot as written, it would have been really, really good. Instead, it’s just really good.

  • February 18, 2003 5:33 AM CST

    Cube 3: Hyperboogaloo

    by rizla

    Will we see them enter the mystical 5th dimension, the one in which anyone gives a rat’s ass about these films?

  • February 18, 2003 6:55 PM CST

    Halloweens…

    by BladeSaga

    Just a pet peeve since I’m such a fan of the series, but Halloween: Resurrection is far from the worst of the bunch. It’s much better than Halloweens II, 3, 5, and 6.

  • February 18, 2003 7:59 PM CST

    BladeSaga – you think “Resurrection” is better than “Halloween I

    by Elgyn6655321

    Not even Steve Guttenberg could`ve made “Resurrection” better. At least Part 2 FELT like a “Halloween” film.

  • February 18, 2003 8:53 PM CST

    Cube’s ending was hilarious.

    by EddyOilProduct

    I didn’t think it was a cop out at all. But maybe you have to be Canadian…

    Although the rest of the movie dreared me out, I loved that the reason that the cube existed was because the government had allocated the funds for it and the reason that the people had been dropped in the cube was because they had to justify the fund allocation.

    Sometimes I like to watch the last fifteen minutes of Cube during grant season. Just to lift me out of my depression…

  • February 18, 2003 9:39 PM CST

    DRACULA LIVES!

    by TomVee

    A CUBE sequel sounds like a sure miss. But a followup to DRACULA 2000, even if it is in name only, sounds like a sure rental.

  • February 19, 2003 2:13 AM CST

    Elgyn…

    by BladeSaga

    Part 2 is one of the most boring films I’ve ever seen. It somehow makes everything that was right with H1 wrong. It was too gory, was low on suspense, and featured infinitely unlikeable characters.

  • February 19, 2003 5:43 PM CST

    Vern is the funniest reviewer on this site

    by Lord Shatner

    Speaking of funny, I haven’t seen Buzz Maverik’s updates for a while

  • February 20, 2003 7:26 AM CST

    Cube really freaked me out

    by Heleno

    Like, I wish I had the guts to leave the cinema but I’m too scared to stand up in the dark kind of scared. Having said that, Hypercube sounds kinda silly. And if any movie makers out there are looking for new ways to defeat vampires, Terry Pratchett has it that they are obsessive compulsives, and you can defeat them by hiding one of their socks. They will then spend eternity looking for it (as long as you hide it pretty well, that is). Just a thought.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 17th, 2003 at 9:47 am and is filed under AICN, Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Vern Reviews CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE and DRACULA 2: HYPERDRACULA!!”

  1. […] cube 2: hypercube / dracula ii: ascension vern […]

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>