Publicity Stills of "Underworld: Evolution"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar.)

Genre: Action/Horror/Fantasy
Director: Len Wiseman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Bill Nighy, Derek Jacoby
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: M18 (Violence and Some Sexual Scenes)
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.net/movies/underworldevolution/

Opening Day: 2 March 2006


The sequel to the $100 million worldwide hit, Underworld 2 continues the saga of war between the aristocratic Death Dealers and the barbaric Lycans (werewolves). The film traces the beginnings of the ancient feud between the two tribes as Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the beautiful
vampire heroine, and Michael (Scott Speedman), the lycan hybrid, try to unlock the secrets of their bloodlines. The fast-paced, modern-day tale of deadly action, ruthless intrigue and forbidden love takes them into the battle to end all wars as immortals must finally face their

Movie Review:

Imagine you are a first-time director and your first major movie release earned a box-office of five times the original budget. What should you do?

A) Increase the blood and gore factor in the sequel
B) Throw in more characters to fatten up the plot
C) Marry your female lead
D) All of the above

If this hypothetical question were posed to Director Len Wiseman, he would have chosen option D no doubt. In this sequel to the hugely successful “Underworld”, Director Len Wiseman and his writing buddy, Danny McBride has concocted another fictional tale about the waging war between Lycans and Vampires. Continuing from the first instalment, “Evolution” goes a step further by introducing Corvinus, the immortal father to Marcus the Vampire and William the first and most dangerous werewolf. Marcus (Tony Curran) who has evolved to a hybrid is bent on world domination by releasing his twin brother, William to give him a hand. However before he could do so, he needs to get rid of Selene (Kate Beckinsale), an ex-death dealer in search of her parentage and Michael (Scott Speedman), the world’s first hybrid.

If the numerous mentioned characters in the sequel such as Viktor, Amelia confused you, then it will be much beneficial if you have watched “Underworld” before you embarked on “Evolution” unless you find the flashback sequence and narration in the beginning helps. On the other hand, the “Underworld” saga is build upon a rather filmsy foundation, Wiseman and McBride who achieved instant success with the first has not much time on their hands (if you consider 2 years to write and shoot an entire movie long) to pan out the entire story plot and so here it goes.

While it lacks in substance, Wiseman and McBride goes all out in the action and creature effects department. Patrick Tatopoulous who designed all the Lycans’ animatronics effects is back to give a more realistic feel to the werewolves and that pair of wings on Marcus is ingenious combing real puppetry with CG. Action buffs won’t be disappointed by “Evolution” given that the action is fast-paced and even more violent than the first. Be glued to your seat when the flying Marcus attacked Selene and Michael in a stowaway truck or the hybrid versus Lycans’ sequence. Nothing extraordinary but enough to satisfy the imaginative wild side of you. It’s a pity Selene is given less chance this time round to show her ass-kicking combat skills. Nevertheless seeing her firing those automatic machine guns is a blast!

The first, which apparently has a less comfortable budget, has to confine itself in a claustrophobic blu-ish environment. The sequel (given a higher budget but still lower than the average blockbuster) has more lavish sets and outdoor action scenes. Technically speaking, the effects and production designs are virtually flawless.

It’s apparent that Wiseman and McBride are not David Goyer or the Wachowski’s brothers. The whole “Underworld” saga has elements from “Blade” to “The Matrix” written all over it. Even Yuen Woo-Ping’s wire-fu tactics are used throughout. In addition, Kate Beckinsale’s tight latex outfit looks like a rip-off from Carrie Ann-Moss. Never mind the obvious lack of originality or creativity, the style factor still ranked high as it is. At least, we should give credit to Wiseman and McBride for churning out a cheesy and fun “Vampire/Werewolves” saga that will at least hold your attention for 108 minutes.

Movie Rating:

(A fun, mindless ride that ranked high in the technical aspects and pretty much shallow plotwise)

Review by Linus Tee

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