There were plenty of action and battle scenes, some romance, and Luke Evans looked hot in armor. As far as plot goes, it is sufficient but not anything that left me wowed. Mostly, it was just a fun vampire flick that focuses on the transformation of the character from a damaged man who had a dark past because he was a soldier who was warped by his training under the Ottomans, to a strong man who chooses darkness for the right reasons- to protect his family and kingdom. And for a fictional movie that's all fine and it works.
The problem I had with the movie, though, was that it actually isn't just straight fiction. it is based on a real person who actually lived, and was the inspiration for the original Dracula novel. Even the book loosely based the story on the actual person, and so it's no stretch for the movie to do the same. But where the traditional Dracula story paints Vlad as a true monster, this movie romanticizes a person who in reality was about as sick as they come. And that felt...weird.
The real Vlad the Impaler:
- Was the on-again, off-again ruler of Wallachia.
- Impaled his political enemies
- When he wasn't impaling enemies, ordered anyone who defied him to be burned, skinned, nailed, buried alive, strangled, or to have their limbs, genitals or facial features cut off.
- Sentenced others to work off their transgressions by building a fort for him. The work was so grueling and the conditions so harsh, that most of them died from this sentence as well.
- Took steps to make impalement an even slower, more gruesome death than it had been already. (Used rounded stakes instead of pointed ones, oiled the stakes, used horses to pull the person down on to the stake, etc.)
- Impaled women and children- sometimes mothers and infants shared a stake.
- Did spend time as an Ottoman hostage, and did likely witness impalements while under their care. However, did not start his bloody career while under Ottoman supervision. His tortures and murders began with the people in his own country who were political rivals and other noblemen who opposed his rule. Then he took what he had learned by terrorizing his own people and used it to wage a psychological (and physical) war against the Turks.
- To effect that goal, staked the enemies he conquered in battle and created a field of corpses for his enemies to witness.
- Is rumored to have rounded up the poor of Wallachia and offered them a feast to show how generous he was. Then locked all the doors and burned the building down, effectively "fixing" the poverty and homeless issues in his kingdom.
- Is rumored to have nailed hats to the heads of emissaries that refused to remove their head ware in his presence. Cause, I mean, how dare they.
- Is rumored to have impaled a high ranking member of his own government for complaining about the smell of all those staked corpses rotting all over the place.
- Poisoned wells in his own kingdom to kill off invading Turks.
- Burned his own villages when retreating his army, so that the Turks that pursued them would have nowhere to rest.
Hey girl...I heard you like tormented heroes, so I impaled a village for you.
So that was my take on it. I liked the movie, but it also made me feel creeped out. Not because the vampire scenes were so scary, but because the idea of finding a torturer, murderer, and despot sexy is just a wee bit unsettling.