‘Underworld: Evolution’


You’ll need devotees of the first Underworld—do you guys exist?—to explain what the hell is going on in Underworld: Evolution, which quickly disintegrates from simple incoherence into the realm of nuclear fallout. A Star Wars credit crawl and blur-edit flashbacks to the first film do little to clarify the central war between leather-clad, sharpshooting vampires and slovenly, mucus-dripping lycans (known elsewhere on the planet as werewolves). This much is evident: Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her half-breed beau (Scott Speedman) are chased by a giant Cronenbergian bat (Tony Curran) through a succession of Eastern European locales (Russia? Transylvania?) on a trail that eventually leads them to Derek Jacobi, a vampire/lycan forefather who commands his very own SWAT team. A former props master now married to Beckinsale, director Len Wiseman hopes that if he accelerates the montage enough, no one will notice he’s ripped off all his trinkets from The Mummy Returns. It’s not clear whether any of the action scenes were filmed with more than one non-animated participant—credit a cinematographer with an insatiable fetish for murky coolant blue. There’s no guiding power at work here; it’s Evolution without a shred of intelligent design.

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