‘Evolution’ a leap backward for vampire movies
Starting the year with “Rumor Has It,” enduring the three-hour soap opera “Memoirs of a Geisha,” then “Last Holiday” whetted my appetite for anything different.At least a violent war between werewolves and vampires in “Underworld: Evolution” was about as far as I could get from a terminally ill Queen Latifah, and Kate Beckinsale in tight-fitting warrior-Goth garb didn’t exactly scare me away, either. Nor did a questionable pedigree: Good vampire movies should be scary, bad vampire movies are often enjoyably silly. In between, there’s a variety of choices, from snarky to sexy, gruesome to gothic, cerebral to corny – and a few (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”) that manage to touch all those points at once.”Underworld: Evolution” manages to miss the tantalizing possibilities of an undead-versus-lycanthrope blood feud by a wide margin. Check that: We’re not talking blood here – this is gore. Chunky style. So much, it splatters the camera in the introduction.When most of the budget seemingly goes toward to mixing fake blood, birthing computer-generated werewolves and squeezing Beckinsale’s rear end into very tight leather pants, there’s not a lot left over to pay screenwriters. Maybe the “Underworld” crew generated them by computer, as well.Assuming the pants weren’t computer-generated, they’re worth a star alone. But that’s all “Underworld” gets.Sir Derek Jacobi is the only other name I recognized when the credits rolled, and let’s just say I didn’t suggest reviewing the sequel to a movie I never saw because I was hoping he’d deliver the St. Crispin’s Day speech. But Beckinsale’s fearless vampire killer of a heroine might be the most toothless undead double agent in film history. Not only does Selene get nothing interesting to say or do – or flash back to, for that matter – but she doesn’t even get to establish herself as a compelling vampire-killing vampire. She doesn’t even get real fangs – I saw far scarier orthodonture growing up in southwest Virginia.So it follows that “Underworld: Evolution” would have no bite. It just sucks.
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