Underworld: Evolution
Starring:
Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy, Shane Brolly
Directed By:
Len Wiseman
Grade
B+

The first Underworld set a stage, revealing a conflict between vampires and werewolves, while focusing on the vampire "death dealer", Selene, who had long believed that her family was killed by werewolves. Through the events of the story, a history and mythology was created that is fully revealed in the sequel. Underworld: Evolution picks up quite literally just after the first movie. Selene and Michael, the werewolf/vampire hybrid, are on the run after killing Viktor, one of the elder vampires.

Of course, it doesn't take long before they're under attack by humans and another vampire elder, Marcus, who has also become a hybrid. As the opening sequence tells, Marcus and his brother, William, were the first of their kind (vampire and werewolf). William was feral and out of control when the vampires captured him. Not that Marcus has awoken again and Viktor is dead, he plots to release his brother. At the same time, Selene and Michael try to stop Marcus before he releases an uncontrollable beast on the world.

I could waste time going into all the history and machinations present in this film (which obviously spill over from the first), but honestly, they serve as a means to string together a number of awesome action sequences. There are some especially fun sequences that really ramp up the adrenaline, only tempered by a much more developed relationship between Selene and Michael. While Beckinsale didn't get a lot of time to be anything other than an ice queen last time around, this time, the focus on her and Speedman's characters really establishes their relationship.

From a production standpoint, Underworld: Evolution does a lot with the money they have. The costumes and sets are packed with character and style. Many of the set locations serve as wonderful frames for the action content delivered there. The visual effects are excellently done and work hard not to standout from the real world action. The chase sequence where Marcus is after Selene and Michael in the truck is so well done that I'm impressed at how clean the visuals look.

I won't paint Underworld: Evolution as some kind of masterpiece. The story works well for delivering the stylish action and anyone looking further than that really shouldn't be watching sci-fi action flicks. I enjoyed the film, despite some minor continuity flubs and a few convenient plot devices. If you really just want to see high intensity action with a decent backstory, Underworld: Evolution should serve your needs nicely.

- - Vane

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