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‘Underworld’ doesn’t have bite

The worst qualities of ‘The Matrix’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Poor “Underworld.” It’s the saddest kind of poseur — one that succeeds in capturing only the worst qualities of the film it mimics. “Underworld” is everything you hated about “The Matrix Reloaded.”

Here, again, is a droning, endless barrage of humorless people in black dusters moving in slow-motion while firing big guns into tile walls.

Plink-plink-plink go the tiles as they break.

Yawn goes the audience.

Kate Beckinsale, the breathy love-interest from “Pearl Harbor,” stars as Selene, a vampire soldier who belongs to a gang of tragically hip, pistol-wielding bloodsuckers.

The vampires are at war with werewolves and have been for centuries.

After a few hundred years, you’d think they’d agree to disagree.

The wolves are trying to capture Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman, from TV’s “Felicity”) who is a human heir to the ancient family from which both the vampires and werewolves sprang. The wolves want to combine wolf and vampire DNA in this guy and create a hybrid warrior, with all the strengths of both species.

The vampires wish to stop this abomination of science. But Selene has mushy feelings for the man the wolves are hunting, which results in a lame, drippy romantic subplot.

Gunfire ensues, empty ammunition clips plunge ominously to the floor, people flip backward in the air like Mary Lou Retton in S&M garb ...

The film’s efforts to be different are laughable. The vampires have bullets loaded with some kind of liquid silver capsules. Why not just silver bullets? The wolves counter with bullets loaded with sunlight.

And it’s hard to buy Beckinsale as an action hero. She looks too uncertain, too dainty, too soft.

Len Wiseman, a music video director for En Vogue and Megadeath, makes his feature-film debut here, and it’s all flash and shadow. He also recently became engaged to Beckinsale.

This is their “Gigli.”