January 26, 2006

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FILM: Underworld Evolution (R)

by Amy Diaz

Kate Beckinsale looks super hot in latex and leather and shows it off (along with her ability to look convincing while kicking ass) in Underworld: Evolution, a movie that, I can only assume, is actually Beckinsale’s audition tape for a much cooler action movie.

Maybe Beckinsale’s looking to be in Wonder Woman. Or maybe some far cooler female superhero script is floating around Hollywood. If you’re best known for a few action stinkers (Pearl Harbor, Van Helsing) and little-seen indies (Cold Comfort Farm, Last Days of Disco), it would make sense to star in a movie about which you could say “ignore the story; check out my trim physique and the roundhouse I give to that guy’s jaw.”

You could argue, of course, that the first Underworld did this just fine but maybe Beckinsale really wanted to drive the point home.

Also, the first Underworld came out in 2003, eons ago in the movie world. This presents sort of a problem for Underworld: Evolution, which starts seconds after the first movie ended. With the help of some wavy-flash-back-o-vision, you have to remember who killed whom and why and which baddies are still skulking around. After a few scenes of bumpy plot arrangement the story shakes out this way: Selene (Beckinsale), a former werewolf hunter now on the outs with the official vampire network, and her half-vampire, half-werewolf boyfriend Michael (Scott Speedman) must try to stop the oldest, most powerful vampire Marcus (Tony Curran) from finding and freeing his brother William (Brian Steele), the oldest, most powerful and most dangerous werewolf. Allowed to run free, these boys will likely destroy humanity as well as the workaday members of the vampire and werewolf clans. They have some help in the quest from Corvinus (Derek Jacobi), the daddy of both these bad boys.

You know how everybody looks more attractive in black and white photos? I think blue lighting, the kind used when people are fighting or hunting “in the dark” in movies such as these, has a similar effect. Beckinsale’s creamy pale skin is luminous and molding of her corset and body suit makes her look even more shapely when shadow comes into play. I’m not saying you should have your wedding photos shot in blue light (though how much cooler would that be than your standard couple-in-front-of-trellis shot?) but perhaps if you’re looking for something a little more seductive than the typical passport-like portrait, it’s something to consider.

Beyond this little discovery, Underworld: Evolution doesn’t offer much. The fighting was cooler in the last movie (and there was, I think, more of it) and we got more of the goth-prom vampire fashion stylings that make these movies so much fun.

Underworld: Evolution did offer one moment of sheer terror: near the end, a voiceover suggested that the war between vampires and werewolves continue. Oh. Dear. God. NOOOO! Not a sequel!

C-

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