Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Movie Review: "Underworld: Evolution" (2006)

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Movie"Underworld: Evolution"
Director: Len Wiseman
Year: 2006
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

With Viktor (Bill Nighy) dead, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman) search for clues to unravel the mystery of their past. A new threat appears when the last vampire elder, Marcus (Tony Curran), wakes up looking for answers and his own key to the past.

"Underworld: Evolution" is the first sequel in the "Underworld" series and picks up pretty much where the first one left off, though most of the key details are changed. This is directed by Les Wiseman, who wrote the screenplay with Danny McBride, the same team who wrote and directed the first film. Returning to the cast are Kate Beckinsale, who reprises her role as the now former Death Dealer Selene. Joining her once again is Scott Speedman, who plays the vampire/lycan hybrid Michael, and Bill Nighy, who plays Viktor, though only in flashbacks. New to the cast is Tony Curran as Marcus, the last remaining vampire elder. Contrary to popular belief and the history established in the first installment about Viktor being the oldest vampire, it turns out, that was all bullshit and Marcus is actually the OG vampire. It just so happens that his twin brother William is the very first lycan. What a world.

Most of what was established in the first "Underworld" film is thrown right out the window in an effort to create bigger stakes and a tougher villain. The plot isn't very clean and frankly doesn't make much sense. This is a clear example of style over actual substance, especially considering the changes made to Wiseman and McBride's first movie, even though they are the ones who wrote both stories. This is a movie that is trying to look good more than anything else, but the lack of a substantive story means we really don't care too much about what is at stake for Selene and Michael. Marcus wants to let his brother out of captivity despite holding him there for centuries, because reasons. Now, he wants to kill Selene, who technically saved his life, because she has the key and he wants her memory. Maybe he should have tried, you know, reasoning with her, but that wouldn't have made much of a movie we suppose. There are also some scenes in this film that are clearly borrowed from other movies, which are painfully obvious a whole decade plus later.

In the end, "Underworld: Evolution" is a big step down from its predecessor, though there still is some good action here and there. The CGI is also a little bit better, but considering this sequel was made 3 years after the original, we really expect there to be improvements.

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