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Underworld: Evolution (2006)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Movie Connections:
Underworld
> Underworld (2003)
> Underworld: Evolution (2006)
> Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)
> Underworld: Awakening (2012)
> Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, Gothic Film, Horror, Vampire Film, Werewolf Film
Director:
Len Wiseman Len Wiseman
Starring:
Kate Beckinsale Kate Beckinsale
Scott Speedman Scott Speedman
Tony Curran Tony Curran
Derek Jacobi Derek Jacobi
Bill Nighy Bill Nighy

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: February 10, 2008
Let me preface this by saying that the going-ons here contain a lot of Underworld spoilers, so keep this in mind if you haven't seen the first film yet.

Before catching up with Selene and Michael, we get a bit of a history lesson on the origin of the war, as well as the creatures themselves. It seems what was merely considered a legend was actually true; in the fifth century, a man named Alexander Corvinus watched his village get ravaged by a plague, but a genetic anomaly not only saved his life, it reacted with the virus and turned him into an immortal. five centuries later, he would have three sons. One was a normal human (Michael's ancestor), but twins William and Markus adopted this strange genetic trait. In their case, it reacted with animal bites (Markus was bitten by a bat, and William by a wolf) turning them into the first vampire and werewolf. William did not fare as well as Markus, his transformation left him a feral creature, and he rampaged through the country with an insatiable bloodlust. Unable to control his brother, Markus enlisted the aid of Viktor and Amelia, who successfully capture William and sentence him to an eternity of imprisonment. Back in the present day, Selene and Michael have fled the city and taken refuge in a safehouse in the forest. Selene has just killed the Elder vampire Viktor and Michael is now a vampire/lycan hybrid. Knowing that they'll both be killed on sight, Selene decides her only chance is to wake Markus and plead her case to him. However, the blood from the lycan Viktor killed before storming Lucian's den has dripped into Markus's tomb, turning him into a powerful, winged hybrid. He easily dispatches the last of Kraven's men before drinking the traitor's blood and absorbing his memories. With Kraven's knowledge, he sets out after Selene, convinced she knows something he needs. After narrowly escaping the hybrid Elder, the two set out in search of answers, their only clues being Lucian's medallion and Selene's long forgotten memories.

Now, the first movie is kind of an oddity in that, while it would basically be called an action movie, there weren't a whole lot of action scenes in there. You wouldn't be hard pressed to find people who criticize this approach, but there are an equal number of people (myself included) who thought the story presented was strong enough to make up for it. Evolution tried to switch this around by increasing the action at the expense of the plot. Normally, a weak plot isn't a problem in action movies, but I think it really hurt the film in regards to the franchise as a whole. After all, what won over the fans of the first one was the story itself, not the action. The twists and revelations of both the vampires and the lycans, not to mention the constant blurring of the hero versus villain line, was the driving force, and the straight-forward approach used in the sequel was nowhere near as effective. The good guys are the good guys, the bad guys are the bad guys, and the new information learned about the Underworld universe is all origin and backstory. Sure, it was nice learning where these creatures came from, but the explicit way it was shown just didn't compare. Obviously, they were shooting to draw in a wider audience with this more accessible route, and you really can't blame them for that; however, it sure didn't do any favors for the people who liked the series the way it was.

Wiseman & Co. walked into this movie with more than twice the budget than last time, and sadly, not much of it was spent well. There isn't a whole lot of lycan action this time, with the main antagonist being Markus. While the lycans are so effectively done using men in costumes, the winged creature that Markus becomes is accomplished with a lot of help from CGI. Not only did they use it for the flying scenes, but he also had a penchant for using the taloned wings as weapons. In the same vein, now that there's a lot more action to go around, most of which involving these powerful hybrids going at it, there's a lot more Matrix type combat going on, which automatically adds a lot of unnecessary camp. The most offending CGI use is hands down the bleeding. Particularly when Markus gets shot, there is a spray of digital blood that looks utterly horrible. I had thought that Wiseman knew the value of 'less is more' but I guess the extra dollar signs at his disposal sent him off the deep end.

If nothing else, at least I can say that the list of actors, both new and returning, garner little to no complaints. Granted, Kate Beckinsale seemed to be a bit iffy with some of the more emotional scenes, but nothing major. In the same vein as Bill Nighy's Viktor, Tony Curran (Markus) wanders a bit too close to that overacting line by using the same weird, pseudogoth syntax and mannerisms, but, again like Nighy, never truly crosses it. Derek Jacobi and Steven Mackintosh also accomplish their small roles without a problem.

Despite all the complaints, it's not really a bad movie and I did like it; but it was still a bit of a disappointment compared to how much I enjoyed the first one. Basically, take your thoughts on Underworld and drop the score a point or two. For me, I'll go with a 6/10.
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Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 06/01/2010, 02:48 PM
It looked like he was fucking her belly button in the sex scene. I'll agree with most of the things you said here Crissy, like you said it's not entirely a bad movie, but I will probably never watch this film again. 6/10
AttnDefDis #2: AttnDefDis - added 01/03/2011, 07:58 PM
I actually liked this one. Considering how much I disliked the first, I was pleasantly surprised.
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