“Underworld: Evolution” (2006) – 2.5/5 stars


It seems kind of pointless, in my opinion, to develop such an extensive mythos and history for a centuries old vampires vs. lycans (werewolves) premise when everyone’s just going to try and kill each other anyway. Underworld creators Len Wiseman and Danny McBride impressively flesh out their world and backstory, especially so in “Underworld: Evolution” — then they have all the characters’ rip each others flesh out. It’s fun for those looking for an imaginative gore-fest, but don’t expect to feel deeply invested in the unnecessarily complex story.

I imagine if I were in Wiseman and McBride’s shoes, I would want to carefully craft my story down to the finest of details and take great pride in my own creation — but that seems like a lot of energy expended just riddle a film with bullets and blood. Fans of the 2003 film, however, are apt to expect that and in that end they won’t be let down.

The film picks up right where the original left up and reminding us of the key pieces: Selene (Beckinsale) has killed vampire patriarch Viktor (Bill Nighy) and she and vampire/lycan hybrid Michael (Speedman) are now on the run from the one remaining patriarch of the coven, Marcus. To go any further into the story would take an essay’s worth of writing.

So neither will the fans who actually enjoyed the backstory and wanted to learn more be disappointed. But doing supporters a solid doesn’t make “Evolution” great by default.

From the opening scene back in the past with all the vampire immortals decapitating lycans in the snow, Wiseman lets you know this is all about bloody, gruesome death. He wants to catch you muttering “awesome” under your breath as many times as possible. It would’ve been nice for him to be a bit more selective and not actually construct plot events around creative death scene ideas to make the goriest ones stand out a bit more, but why be nitpicky?

Wiseman is also a fan of the vampire sex appeal thing. There’s some blood and nudity which is certain to get a select groups’ blood flowing and it’s incredibly deliberate and non- essential. It can definitely be accused of being bloody vampire porn, but let’s just call it Wiseman aiming to please his audience.

“Underworld: Evolution” is mindless monster action thriller with a lore/backstory that vies to outdo the Old Testament. Fans of the genre will find parts of it to enjoy, fans of “Underworld” will love it and I enjoyed it just enough to feel like I wasn’t wasting my time.

Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Written by: Danny McBride, Len Wiseman, Kevin Grevioux
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman


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