Monday, January 23, 2006

Incomprehensible at Any Speed

Review: Underworld: Evolution

That phrase was coined by the FBI in its investigation of "Louie, Louie" to determine if the song contained inappropriate lyrics. Incidentally, Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed came out within a few years of that investigation. I'm not sure if the two are somehow related. Either way, I'd now like to apply that same phrase to Underworld: Evolution.

As a caveat and disclaimer, I have not seen the first Underworld movie. I've been told that the second makes a lot more sense if you've seen the first, and I'll have to assume this is true.

As I understand it, the plot for the first Underworld is basically as follows:
A bunch of werewolves and vampires want to kill each other.
Violence ensues.
Kate Beckinsale is hot.

Now I will attempt to summarize my reaction to the second (having not seen the first):
"Wait, okay, so Viktor and Markus, now who are they again? Isn't one of them dead?"
"Huh? Guy on a boat? What the heck?"
"That guy's head just got sliced open!"
"Kraven? Tanis? You mean there are more characters to keep track of?"
"Okay, now what's this flashing back to?"
"Kate Beckinsale is hot."

So lesson number one learned? See the original before seeing the sequel. Always.

Now, even if I had understood what was going on, I'm not sure I would have thought this movie was all that great. The sex scenes were wholly unnecessary to the plot (as sex scenes almost always are). The action was decent, but nothing I hadn't seen before. The violence was bordering on gratuitous (although I have to admit that whoever-it-was getting pushed into the helicopter blades was an interesting effect).

Bottom line, this movie practically screamed "MST3K me!" It looked like something that could easily have made its way into Servo and Crow's mockery, albeit a higher-budget and higher-tech version. Maybe I'll get around to seeing the original and finding out if that makes the sequel make more sense.

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