Directed by Len Wiseman
starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Sir Derek Jacobi, Bill Nighy, Tony Curran
Underworld Evolution, the sequel to the $100 million worldwide hit, Underworld, is not your run-of-the-mill vampire flick. Although the vampirism remains just as sleek, pale and sexy, director Len Wiseman has taken his franchise in a new direction by taking the action, bloodlust and intrigue to a higher, more cerebral level.
Evolution continues where its predecessor left off. An escalated war between the aristocratic Death Dealers (vampires) and the barbaric Lycans (werewolves) is in full effect. Carefully orchestrated montages trace the beginning of this ancient feud which has now escalated by the actions of the vampiric heroine Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Lycan hybrid Michael (Scott Speedman). As the film opens the duo is on the run from Lycans, Death Dealers and the last vampire Elder, Marcus (Tony Curran), who has been transformed into a flying hybrid by the Lycan blood that seeped into his chamber at the end of Underworld. Upon reawakening, Marcus wreaks havoc upon the world of the living as he searches desperately for Selene.
Selene causes a bloodbath of her own as she continues to exact her revenge on the Death Dealers who betrayed her. Despite her rage she cannot ignore her intense feelings for Michael who is beginning to discover what he is. The bond between them grows stronger as they sacrifice their safety for each other. While on the run from the sadistic Marcus they are unexpectedly aided by the mysterious and spooky Corvinus (Sir Derek Jacobi).
As he hides them away, Corvinus, the first Lycan, explains how he has been in the shadows for centuries, cleaning up the mess left behind by the fangs, swords and guns from this endlessly bloody feud. Corvinus helps Selene discover her true destiny by filling in the blanks about her bloodline.
The film's violent and bloody crescendo occurs when Marcus shows up to spoil the fun and leave bodies on the floor. In the tradition of the finest Western, there can only be one survivor in the final showdown as Marcus and Selene go at it full throttle.
Wiseman goes all out for Underworld Evolution. The action, intrigue and special effects that wowed moviegoers in the first film have been kicked up a notch. The cinematography is also terrific. It remains bleak, but perfectly suited for setting up the atmospheric aesthetics for a film this dark.
Technical prowess aside, the backbone of the film remains its returning cast. Better character development makes them deeper and richer as their back stories unfurl. Kate Beckinsale once again combines sex appeal and ruthless aggression with smarts and reserved sass. Scott Speedman has improved his acting chops tremendously and is given more to do. Bill Nighy once again steals the show by going completely over the top.
Sadly, the addition of Sir Derek Jacobi is wasted by his diminished screentime. He could have been utilized much better. Every good film needs a great villain and Tony Curran is perfectly callous as Marcus.
Underworld Evolution is terrific film that bucks the notion that the second film of a trilogy is often a let down. Lightning does again strike twice with an action filled frenzy of fury, fangs, fisticuffs and fiends that doesn't slow down