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Underworld: Evolution

A war between vampires and werewolves was sort of cool once. But twice?


In this unnecessary sequel, we take up where we last left off, with kick-ass vampiress Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and newly formed vampire-werewolf hybrid Michael (Scott Speedman) on the run after offing all the baddies in the original Underworld. And now, because of their shenanigans, there's a new psycho in town: Marcus (Tony Curran), the very first vampire (he's got wings and everything), who wakes up from his slumber to wreak havoc. His plan is to release his captive twin brother, who is conveniently the very first werewolf and the reason the war started in the first place, so the twosome can come up with a new breed of blood-hungry monsters and take over humanity. Boy, the things us human don't know about… Mankind's only hope is Selene and Michael, who set out to stop Marcus so they can, in turn, become the future of vampires and werewolves everywhere. Part three anyone?


Word is still out on whether Kate Beckinsale has bite. She started out promisingly enough in the delightfully quirky Cold Comfort Farm and Whit Stillman's The Last Days of Disco, but save for a few choice indies, her film selections have since gone downhill, including a stint as the sorely miscast Ava Gardner in The Aviator. As Selene, the actress looks every bit sexy-cute in black leather, with little vampire teeth and soulful eyes that go from dark to blue, depending on how vampiric she gets while she deftly wields firearms. But Beckinsale appears to be going through the motions for the sake of a paycheck. Same goes for Speedman. As Selene's counterpart--and, as we find out in Evolution, her lover--the actor mostly stands around, gets mad, turns all hybrid on us and rips other werewolves' heads off. Anyone can do that. And what in the hell is veteran British thesp Derek Jacobi doing in this, playing the bad brothers' immortal father? Shame on him.


Len Wiseman, Beckinsale's hubby and Underworld's original director, takes the reins once again, but it doesn't look like the helmer learned much from his first experience. It's the same old, same old. Is it me or are these vampire movies starting to all look alike? The Blade series, Van Helsing--all that dark, foreboding and usually wet environs is just getting tiresome. Plus, you can never exactly see what's going on, or who's beating the crap out of who. Come to think of it, that's probably intentional. In any event, Underworld: Evolution is simply pointless. The film's original concept--a sort of Romeo and Juliet between vampires and werewolves--is indeed intriguing, but to go beyond that is redundant. No, it's obvious Evolution is a case of greed, a sequel drummed up because studio execs believe they can milk more money out of the fans of the original movie. I don't think its going to work out as well the second time around.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.