The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

My Underworld: Evolution review

Let me start off by talking about the original. The original was entertaining, but deeply flawed, mainly because I've seen better story lines and acting during late night sessions of the roleplaying game Vampyre: Masquerade. Also werewolf Scott Speedman was totally unbelievable as a love interest for vampire Kate Beckinsale. He was more like somebody a vampire would feed off and forget before the last drop of blood fell. But it was entertaining to me. It had vampires and werewolves and was shot decently. And it had Kate Beckinsale in tight black leather. Grrrr, as Bob Hope would have said. I wanted to love the movie, but I couldn't. I liked it for what it was despite a nagging sense of disappointment about what it could have been. But I wanted to love it and considering it had two of my favorite supernatural creatures, it shouldn't have been hard to make me love it. Instead it was more of a "I'll call you" but I never did and didn't even pick up the DVD. So I saw Underworld: Evolution this afternoon at the cheapie theater: $3 for ticket, $1 for small popcorn, $1.50 for medium soda and $1.50 for Milk Duds. At that price, Underworld: Evolution is worth seeing and is a fun way to spend an hour and change. The first movie is all about the war between the vampires and the werewolves and betrayal of trust for some secret plan that makes no sense after it's explained because the plot is more riddled with holes than a lycan corpse after Selene (Beckinsale) emptied clips into it. After a brief history lesson of the start of the war between vampires and werewolves, you get a recap of some of the events in the first movie. Then Marcus, the founder the vampire race, is accidentally freed from his imprisonment when blood from the first movie's big bad drips down on him, and he kills most of the characters left over from the first movie in a 30-second span. Nice bit of cleaning the slate by the film's director, Len Wiseman. Then the half man/half bat Marcus drinks another vampire's blood and you discover one of his abilities is the movie exposition and flashback superpower, so you get more back story. Apparently Wiseman listened to the critics of the first movie who called the plot too convoluted and decided to go overboard explaining things this time out. Except when you learn the story, it's really not worth knowing. But as I explained in my BloodRayne review, the story is not what vampire fans go to these things for: it's the fangs and blood. And Wiseman apparently read my criticism elsewhere about Speedman's character and took it to heart and made his character less like someone out of Vampire Felicity. Instead he's more like a werewolf/vampire hybrid version of Neo from one of the Matrix movies. So I like Speedman's Michael much more in this movie than the original. There is still no heat between Speedman and Beckinsale. Sure there's the obligatory sex scene between the two (if it's totally expected and cliched does revealing it count as a spoiler?). It's more like casual sex than romantic sex so in a way that seems more appropriate for a vampire than what Wiseman probably intended. Maybe he just had trouble directing his wife Beckinsale in a sex scene with another man, but the lovemaking was about as hot as my popcorn which was cold and stale and cheap. Wiseman also could take a few tips from professional wrestling on how to build suspense in a climatic fight. The hero should be in more dire circumstances and then make a big comeback. Not here. The conclusion seemed so obvious that I kept thinking it had to be a set up for a twist. No, the last 10 minutes are completely predictable. Oh well. It also -- just as predictably -- set up the next in the series. And I'll be there. I guess Wiseman isn't the only one who can't veer from the inevitable.


Anonymous harmonyfb said...

I haven't seen it yet. I'm still not emotionally healed from the first movie's breach of trust(they promised us hot vampire/werewolf sex, dammit! And all we got was one measly, no-tongues kiss! Robbed, we wuz robbed, I tell ya!)

I imagine I'll rent the dvd, because...well...I'm pretty much compelled to watch any vampire movie, no matter how cheesy.

1/23/2006 09:52:00 PM  

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