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Underworld: Evolution

By Ian Grey | Posted 1/25/2006

True to its title, Underworld: Evolution represents a modest learning curve for franchise director Len Wiseman, who advances from the unfettered, inept awfulness that was his first vampire vs. werewolf tribe idiocy to the furrowed-brow mediocrity of this incomprehensible follow-up. Assuming you have not only seen the first outing but also seen it within the last 10 minutes, he dives right into the enormously complicated, unresolved interspecies shenanigans. Along with the supergory monster rallies faced by "good" vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her half-breed werewolf hunk Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) against batlike baddie Marcus (Tony Curran) and sundry interbreed vendettas, Wiseman ups the incomprehensibility ante with maximum-velocity flashbacks traversing eight centuries of supernatural hoo-ha. Dialogue is terrible in an almost funny-bad way, with a matching ludicrously stentorian tone suggestive of Masterpiece Theatre does Bram Stoker's X-Men. But while Wiseman also doesn't know jack about characterization, pace, or coherence, he does know branding: As much as red and white symbolize the Target retail chain, so does the patentable blue murk through which most of both Underworlds were filmed--which at least makes it easy to avoid by sight when it airs on cable.

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