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"Underworld: Evolution"

Directed by Len Wiseman.
Written by Denny McBride and Len Wiseman.
Starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  1/22/06

Folks-- 

Taking the best elements of the original "Underworld" and even making those elements completely shitty, "Underworld: Evolution" marks our first visit in 2006 to Hard Vice territory with a bang by making me question why the fuck anyone would try so hard to make a film as bad as this...especially one starring their fucking wife.

Kate Beckinsale is back as Selene, a "death dealer" that works as a hitwoman of sorts for the vampire population of our great world.  Being that she's somewhere between 500 and 2,000 years old, she looks great for her age, but in trying to get to the bottom of some kind of mystery involving the original brothers that started the vampire and lycan (werewolf) clans, she doesn't seem to be wiser for the wear.  As such, she is still trying to protect Michael (Scott Speedman), a vampire/lycan hybrid that is somehow related to this grand quest to save the world; she still wears hilarious tight black leather suits everywhere with no underwear, despite the fact that "The Matrix" films are so three years ago; and, she still spends inordinate amounts of good ammunition on certain bad guys that are impervious to gunfire.  Add it all up, and it leads to the quest of the sequel--keep the misguided founding father of the vampires, Marcus (Tony Curran), from unlocking the tomb of his brother, William (Brian Steele), because if these two guys link up, it's armageddon for not only the mutant population but all of humankind as well.

I think.  See, the problem with this flick is that it reaches back so heavily into the first film's storyline that we get bogged down not only in the characters from the old film but also the new ones from this sequel.  And, in a flick like this, all I was concerned with was watching wolves try to rip vampires apart and watching Selene put about a thousand rounds into her rival baddies.  But, in giving us too much convoluted story, co-writer/director Len Wiseman--aka, Kate Beckinsale's husband--literally gives us nothing interesting and then decides to give us a bunch of random shit, like a vampire SWAT team that features black guys that don't talk, the most awful, shitty, gratuitous sex scene in recent memory, twisted gun logic (most people can't hit Marcus at point blank range; Selene hits him repeatedly from across certain rooms) and a shit ending.

Wow, that sex scene was awful.  Not only does it completely blow the point of insertion**, it follows what should have been a tense moment with a ludicrous (not Ludacris), contrived sequence that belongs in the Cronenberg version of "Crash" from a few years ago.  Did Wiseman really think I needed to have that in a vampire action flick?

Beckinsale, certainly one of our more talented & attractive leads at the moment, seems to be working for scale in this one; she is useless and devoid of charisma, even if she is wearing leather so tight you could use it to play guitar.  The supporting cast is bad, but can you blame them, given the material?  The special effects--most notably the human-form-to-lycan-transformation sequences--look low-budget; the original songs written for the film are blah.  And, the fact that Wiseman shamelessly recycles material from the first film so often in this horseshit makes me despise the man even more.  Completely unnecessary to know what happened in the first movie, and newbies to the series won't get it or give a shit anyway.

Further driving my anger is the fact that I had a freebie to see this movie, but upon arrival the movie was sold out (the night before it opened here in DC).  Whenever I had a chance to see dogshit for free but came up empty, I'm always a tougher audience.  Wow, this was a piece of fucking shit.

Rating:  Hard Vice

**point of insertion: the point where an actor probably should be pretending to poke a partner in a sexual manner; in most bad American flick sex scenes, actors blow the point of insertion because they are trying to hard NOT to poke their respective partner and because the director is too afraid to make the sex scene look even reasonably plausible.  In this case, the actor (Speedman) is so far off from the point of insertion that people in my audience were laughing hysterically as he tried to pretend that he was in the throes of ecstasy when it looked like he was trying to poke the actress (Beckinsale) in the belly button.  For chrissakes, make it believable!

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09