|SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT/KIMBERLEY FRENCH|
Xavier Samuel, center, is shown in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse."
It is not exactly praise to call "Eclipse" the best film in "The Twilight Saga" to date.
Cliched, maudlin dialogue and painfully wooden acting gussied up with vampires who sparkle in the sunlight and computer-generated werewolves marked the first two entries, "Twilight" and "New Moon."
And it's more of the same in "Eclipse." The difference is this time, the reins are in the hands of a director ("30 Days of Night's" David Slade) who has some aptitude for creating an air of menace and shooting an action scene.
The story picks up where "New Moon" left off, with Bella (Kristen Stewart) torn between two creepy, borderline stalkers: the eternally 17-year-old vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).
Meanwhile, a series of killings grips Seattle, which is not far from our setting of Forks, Wash. It seems someone is building an army of newborn bloodsuckers, and their sites are set on Bella.
So the friendly vampires of Forks and the werewolves put aside their ages-old feud to mount a join defense against the coming onslaught.
When the battle finally comes, it's almost worth the wait.
Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner show no improvement, leaving their love triangle as inert as ever.
The highlights are Billy Burke, providing much-needed comic relief as Bella's clueless father, and Anna Kendrick, an Oscar nominee for "Up in the Air," whose career desperately needs this series to end.
Greg's Grade: C
(Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality. 124 minutes.)