I was a bit harsh on Underworld upon its theatrical release back in 2003. Since then I have grown to enjoy the movie on DVD, which I believe several others have as well, which has to be a major reason for this sequel. A sequel you could see coming from miles away after the way the first film ended, which is where this movie pretty much picks up.
If you have seen the trailers you may have had the same concerns I had, that they would be going back in time and make this more of an origin story. Fortunately, beyond the opening sequence, which is a battle between the first werewolves and vampires in medievel times, we are immediately thrust into the present, just moments after the action that ended the first film.
The battle between werewolves and vampires still exists, but so does a battle inside the vampire clan as Marcus (Tony Curran), the king of the vampires, believed to be the original vampire, is reanimated. Marcus learns of the events that have transpired and takes to the air as this winged vampire has a past that covers more than just a vampire lineage. His twin brother, William, was the first werewolf and has been spending several years locked away in a tomb and only the death-dealing vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) knows of its location, for reasons I won’t reveal here.
Making a long story short, the first werewolves were not able to control their transformation and once they became werewolves they lost the ability to transform back to human form and became raving mad with a bloodlust that could never be quenched. All this leads to the hunt to stop Marcus from saving his twin brother in an effort to ensure a battle from thousands of years ago is not relived.
Reading that you can’t help but get excited if you are any kind of fan of vampire or werewolf films. The construct of a new immortal timeline as well as a new legend is so exciting to me that I couldn’t wait for this sequel. On top of that I love what director Len Wiseman has done with the look of these films, giving them a cool blue look along with a deep dark red as blood is splattered everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Underworld: Evolution is far more gory than the original feature as werewolves are not only decapitated but they have their upper and lower jaws literally ripped from their heads. It is a sight you will appreciate if you are any kind of loyalist to this genre.
All that said, this is far from a perfect film, and I was actually ready to give it a “C-” or a “D+” had it not been for the final 10-15 minutes. Most of the movie is spent watching Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman), the half-breed vampire/werewolf, drive around in a Land Rover learning bits and pieces of information here and there. Aside from Michael’s relentless killing of werewolves and a pretty cool car chase involving Marcus the second act of Evolution is a bit tedious. Then comes the final act in which all the cards are on the table and a mix of bullets, blood and helicopter blades make Evolution a worthwhile visit to the theater.
If I can make a recommendation; break out your Underworld Uncut DVD, watch it, then head immediately to the theater for Underworld: Evolution. If you can follow those instructions you won’t be disappointed. Neither will you be disappointed if you enjoyed the first film. On the other hand, if you didn’t like the first film or you haven’t seen it, stay home, this one isn’t for you.