Underworld: Evolution

By Mark Ramsey | 2006/01/22

One would have thought the only way for Kate Beckinsale to top the box office would be to find a box office and put a roof on it.

“This is the first time I opened a movie without using a DVD case,” said an elated Kate, who brings the refined accent of Cate Blanchett, the “work cheap” ethic of Billy Zane, and the skin-tight catsuit adolescent dreams are made of to her role as a vampire death dealer – and if you’re in this audience you just got the losing hand.

Kate’s face is untainted by the natural enemy of vampires: Wrinkles! She’s fresh from the career twilight of underworld_bekinsale.jpg

Van Helsing and a role in The Aviator that had me convinced Howard Hughes never met Ava Gardner, but certainly got to know Kate Beckinsale.

“I did all my own stunts,” said Kate, by which she primarily meant the one called “acting.”

Compared to the original Underworld, this new chapter is half bad and half worse. If you want your life force sucked, then Underworld: Evolution is just the movie to do it.

I honestly have no idea what’s happening in this movie.

It seems that thousands of years ago there was a war between vampires and werewolves. This was just after the battle between tooth fairies and leprechauns and before the clash of the centaurs and the gnomes. Really! Check any history book!

The plotting here assumes that the first Underworld is fresher in your mind than it has any right to be. Thus the arcane twists and illogical mythological turns are so fuzzy the action sequences might as well be surrounded by dialogue from Charlie Brown’s teacher:

“WAH wah WAH wah wah, Lycan!”

Why Kate insists on gun-firing at these hell demons is beyond me. They cannot be killed this way, as she clearly demonstrates, round after wasted round. She would have been better off prodding them with a really long stick, one end wrapped in garlic – like an Italian Q-Tip.

Scott Speedman is a hybrid: Half vampire, half werewolf, all Prius. “I need to feed on blood for survival,” said Speedman, “but at least I get 50 miles to the pint.”

The vampires are sleek and sexy, the werewolves are gigantic and fierce, but Scott, the hybrid, is none of these. underworld_hawk.jpg

In fact, when Speedman morphs into his alter-ego, it was like watching Bill Bixby Hulk-ify into Lou Ferrigno.

Kate and Speedman settle in for a passionate night of most likely body-doubled sex. Said a satisfied Kate: “Rigor mortis is the Viagra of the undead! If Affleck had performed like that I would have said ‘yes’ to Pearl Harbor II.”

Of course, Speedman has an amulet that everyone needs in order to unlock the prison holding the first something-or-other.

Yes, this is one of those movies where every character is chasing jewelry.

And speaking of jewelry, Sir Derek Jacobi performs an autopsy on a vampire elder only to find a strange metallic disc in his chest. Either this is a very dear commemorative plate or it’s a key that unlocks Speedman’s key that unlocks something something something.


Sir Derek is best known as the stuttering emperor in I, Claudius, but here he’s cast as I, Needtopaytherenticus.

Kate’s nemesis is an awakened vampire elder who is, himself, a hybrid – he’s bat from the waist up and skirt from the waist down. “Hygienically speaking, the skirt is a real plus,” he says, “although I have to remember to cross my talons when I’m seated.”

“Plus,” he adds, “the occasional updraft reveals my pecker is as undead as the rest of me.”

Here’s what I learned from Underworld: Evolution: When you drink people’s blood you can see what they have seen.

God help you if you just drank the blood of anyone in this audience.

Photos Copyright ©2006 Screen Gems

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