Review: Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Director: Len Wiseman | 101 minutes | action, horror, fantasy | Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Shane Brolly, Derek Jacobi, Bill Nighy, Steven Mackintosh, Zita Görög, Brian Steele, Scott McElroy, John Mann, Michael Sheen, Sophia Myles, Richard Cetrone, Mike Mukatis, Christine Danielle, Kaja Gjesdal, Attila Lovaghy, Alexander Grant, Monica Hamburg, Lily Mo Sheen, Andrew Kavadas, Kayla Levins, Michael O’Shea, Raoul Ganeev, Dany Papineau, Sean Rogerson, Adrian Hough, Michasha Armstrong, Julius Chapple, Kurt Carley, Christopher R Sumpton, Trevor Beeby, Colin Decker, Sean Millington, Travis Webster

In ‘Underworld: Evolution’, Kate Beckinsale, including a sleek shiny latex suit and long leather coat, returns as Selene, the vampire who prefers to use her weapons over her sharp teeth in the fight against all evil. The sleeper hit ‘Underworld’ from 2003 now has a considerable fan base and with the ending director Wiseman clearly opted for a sequel. This ‘Underworld’ also feels like just one episode from a series, which can also be seen as the only disadvantage of the film: it is as if you are watching a (long) episode from a TV series. But hey, a third part doesn’t have to be a punishment at all!

After all, visually there is a lot to enjoy about ‘Underworld: Evolution’. The blue-gray tones, which were already so effective in the first part, have also been applied here and give the film a perfect atmosphere. The Eastern European setting is almost cliché for vampire movies, but it works very well here too. The special effects are fantastic and it is clear that a larger budget has been made available for the second part. Especially the creepy Marcus (Tony Curran) with his tentacles and wings has been made lifelike. The scenes in which he takes down the vampire clan and later chases Selene and Michael are particularly thrilling. Actually, all of his scenes are worth it. A lot of attention has also been paid to the transformation from male to werewolf and it must be said: it has been done very convincingly.

Evolution follows all the rules set for sequels: more gore, more nudity (even Kate leaves her latex outfit for what it is in one scene!), More bad guys, but also more action. In ‘Underworld’ a lot was explained, which is logical; in ‘Evolution’ more room is left for action. Still, the story is just as interesting: we get crucial information about Selene’s past and also about the origins of the two clans. It is a well-developed plot and the momentum remains good.

After a short history lesson, ‘Evolution’ begins where ‘Underworld’ ended: Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman) are on the run, having previously created some enemies through their actions. In search of shelter, Michael tries to identify with the idea that he is now a hybrid (half-vampire / half-werewolf). The main pursuers of the two are the aforementioned Marcus and Alexander Corvinus (an impressive Derek Jacobi). Marcus needs Selene to find out where his twin brother William was imprisoned centuries ago and Corvinus has his reasons for getting Selene on his side: he is the father of Marcus and William and wants to prevent Marcus from finding William. because the consequences for the world will be disastrous. Apocalypse all over again…

Underworld: Evolution ‘is a risk-free film to watch if you already liked’ Underworld ‘; if you don’t see any fun in watching an ancient war between werewolves and vampires, you can also ignore ‘Evolution’. For the doubters, check ‘Underworld’ first for some much-needed background information, so you don’t break your teeth on this tasty sequel.

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