I like Hugh Jackman, so I'm not blaming this on him, but damn is Van Helsing a bad damn movie. Terrible. Atrocious. Appalling. Insulting.
I mean, like, it's on now, right, and like, I can't point out a single thing I like about it. The cinematography is cheesy and over-the-top at best, and sloppy at worst (which is often). The character designs are a ten year old's idea of avant-garde, the music is unoriginal, the fake Romanian and Italian accents are insultingly overdone, the special effects are plastic-looking and keep me from immersing myself in the story, the dialogue is flat and leaves nothing to the imagination, and the choreography makes the Matrix look like Malcolm X.
I think I know what the director wanted to do. He wanted to do something like what Moore did with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but with action-horror, not pulp action. It's a good idea: make an over-the-top action flick reintroducing classical monsters from Old Hollywood, cast some big names, make the James Bond flick of monster-action-horror. With that in mind, it can be argued I'm being a pretentious prick and I should let the movie stand on its own--it ain't meant to be literature, right?
Well, right. But here's a short list of movies that are in the same category of atypical telling or really good standard telling of a genre-based story with plenty o action that created cool, if not actually great works of art:
The Fifth Element
The Chronicles of Riddick
Happiness of the Katikuris
Independence Day (I think)
Terminator 1 & 2
Alien 1, 2, & 3
Star Wars 4 & 5
Spider-Man 2 (except the terrible acting)
From Dusk Till Dawn
and more, I'm sure. Here's some movies that suck because they didn't cut it:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Alien Resurrection & AvP
Spider-Man (and apparently #3)
Die Another Day
and so on and on, &c. Point is, there's a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it. I think Hollywood can't tell the difference though, because their advertising campaigns draw enough people in to justify making any piece of crap story into a blockbuster.
Van Helsing hates your mom.