Review by Mark Walters


I wasn't exactly a big fan of the first UNDERWORLD movie.  In fact I really didn't like it much at all.  To me it seemed like an interesting concept that just wasn't handled well.  For starters it was WAY too dark for it's own good, so much so that I had a hard time being able to tell what was happening in any given scene.  Whenever I talk to people about it, they inevitably say something to the effect of "Yeah, but Kate Beckinsale looks hot in that black leather."  Well maybe so, but I'm sure there is a pretty long list of actresses you could say the same thing about, and if that's the best quality of a film then you've got problems.  Regardless of how I felt about it, the first film apparently made enough money to warrant a sequel, which reunites the two main stars Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.  Now keeping in mind my memories from the first outing, I had to wonder if this one could possibly be any better.

 The story opens with a flashback showing the powerful Viktor (Bill Nighy, reprising his role from the first film) leading his vampire army into a town that's been ravaged by a lycan, or as some call them werewolves.  His right hand man is Marcus (Tony Curran), but the two don't quite see eye to eye.  Viktor orders his men to destroy the bodies of the victims, and demands that the lycan responsible be killed.  But this lycan happens to be Marcus' twin brother, and he's not keen on seeing him get hurt or captured.  When Marcus defies Viktor's wishes, he gets imprisoned along with his brother for all time.  Cut back to present day (?) where we pick up exactly where the last movie left off.  Selene (Kate Beckinsale) the Death Dealer and Michael (Scott Speedman) the lycan/vampire hybrid are trying to hide out and stay safe.  But Viktor's death has allowed Marcus to escape, and he's now out to kill all remaining vampires and free his trapped brother.  Selene and Michael discover that Marcus was actually the first vampire, betrayed by Viktor long ago.  He hopes to bring forth a new breed of hybrid beasts which he will lead.  Selene and Michael must find a way to stop him, if they can stay alive in the process.

 I will say this film is slightly better than is predecessor, but it's certainly not without it's faults.  It's being pushed as a big action movie, but sadly there isn't much action in it, save for the ending.  In fact a big bulk of the film is filled with tiring exposition which makes us long for some serious butt-kicking.  One of my biggest complaints about the first movie was how dark everything was.  While this film is still dark in tone, it at least plays more clearly to the eye.  The tone matches what came prior, and Beckinsale feels somewhat more natural in her role this time.  Bill Nighy shows up only briefly to tie things together with the original story.  Speedman unfortunately comes off as wasted in this script.  In fact he could've been gone altogether without hurting the story too much.  Tony Curran is pretty creepy as Marcus, and does a fine job playing the nemesis.  But I found him to be more interesting than the protagonists, which doesn't speak highly of the writing.  One thing the film doesn't hold back on is violence.  The gore is pretty intense, which helps keeps things going during the slow moments.  One positive is the finale, which delivers some great action moments, even if they take a while to get to.  Kevin Grievoux, who created the original film and characters, apparently had nothing to do with this new one.  I have no doubt it was a case of the movie studio basically taking someone's property out from under them.  However I will say this film at least seemed a bit more cohesive overall, so maybe Kevin's absence wasn't that bad of a thing.  To be honest I'm not sure what the allure of these movies is, other than looking at Kate in tight leather.  The concept of vampires fighting werewolves is not entirely a bad one, and I think it is possible it could make for enjoyable films.  But in the end the UNDERWORLD franchise just isn't cutting it for me.

BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, I give UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION a 6.

Visit the official Sony Pictures UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION movie website by clicking here.

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