Dracula takes a beating
Christopher Lee isn't depicting Dracula in this one. His replacement is easily dispatched and reincarnated as some Chinese adventurer, no less. Peter Cushing returns, though, as yet another descendant of Van Helsing. Hammer’s Dracula meets the kung-fu subgenre and offers an improbable hybrid. The image is washed out, the dialogue is pious, and there are plenty of martial arts.
Some of the previous Dracula films have featured stoic protagonists, but nobody was exactly battle ready. Everybody but Cushing fights, here. This isn't necessarily a horror film and plays out more like a war film. Dracula and Helsing play a small part in this circus version of Hammer Film’s jewel. It chooses style over substance and action over chattering. This gets us rid of the usual filler.
There is little room for Gothic Victorian sets. They are mostly traded for oriental landscapes and towns. The previous films were often describing a solitary quest, and this one depicts a group adventure. The scale of things makes the picture too distant and the shots are not always carefully planned or well framed. But the film’s biggest mistake is that it takes itself seriously...