Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon0
The battle between the Death Dealers (Vampires) and Lychans (Werewolves) continues in Underworld Evolution, the sequel to the smash “Underworld” that detailed the battles between the two horror mainstays. The sequel picks up shortly after the film and deals with Selene (Kate Beckinsale), and Michael (Scott Speedman), on the run after Selene was forced to turn on the Vampires following events at the conclusion of the previous film.
Of course being a Vampire traveling with a Vampire/Werewolves hybrid is not an easy thing, especially when Selene can only move around at night and must seek refuge from daylight. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that the war between Lychans and Death Dealers began centuries ago, when two brothers each heading one faction of the conflict were drawn to a decisive battle. The losing Lychan brother, William, is imprisoned for all ages in a specially designed tomb, thanks to his brother Marcus’s insistence that he would only help capture him, if he were to remain alive.
Since William is capable of utter destruction, his location is a closely guarded secret for centuries that is until Marcus re-emerges and seeks to locate Selene. Marcus upon emerging from hibernation learns what Selene has done, and is convinced she has betrayed her own kind, unaware of the real reasons behind her actions. In short order, Marcus, Selene, and Michael play a deadly game of cat and mouse with each trying to unlock the mystery of Williams’s location. Marcus wants to exploit the power of William while Selene to protect the world from the evil that William and his followers would represent.
Along the way, there are plenty of battles, odd characters, and romance to keep most viewers entertained, which leads up to an action packed finale, that for me was the high point of the film. The plot has its share of holes but also deals with a series of complexities as it attempts to take the topics of bloodlines, centuries of history, and mythos in a tight 100 minute package. The two leads work well with one another though their do not have the most dynamic chemistry ever seen on screen. For this type of film, it does work as one does not come to a monster film expecting great acting, story, or characterization.
What Underworld Evolution has going for it, are good effects, a few good action moments and a plot, that at times tricky for the casual viewer to follow, more than surpasses the average storyline for the genre. The tight pacing of the film by Director Len Wiseman keeps the film moving a clip that was much brisker than the original and allowed the film to get to the highlights quickly and not be weighed down by fluff.
The finale as I mentioned was the highlight for me, as the buildup to that point was at times, slow, and had me wishing for more. That being said, the final 15 minutes of the film more than saved it, and got more than a few cheers from the audience at my press screening.
While it would be easy to find faults with the film, the important thing to remember is the spirit and intention of the film. They were not out to make classic cinema, they were out to make a fun and entertaining monster film, blemishes and all. In that, Underworld Evolution succeeds.
3 stars out of 5