‘Underworld’ Does Not Bite

We return to writer/director Len Wiseman’s land of vampires and werewolves (or lycans) in the dark action film ‘Underworld Evolution,’ the sequel to Wiseman’s debut flick ‘Underworld.’
Evolution follows femme-fatal vampire Selene (played by the stunningly attractive Kate Beckinsale) and vampire-lycan hybrid Michael Corvin (‘Felicity”s Scott Speedman) instantly after the end of the first film, in which Becksinsale had killed Viktor (Bill Nighy), the ancient vampire responsible for the death of her pre-vampire family.
An outcast from her vampire coven, Beckinsale must fight vampire and lycan alike to stop the first vampire, Marcus, from freeing his twin brother, the first werewolf, and thus destroying humanity.
‘Underworld Evolution’ is by no means a ‘good film’ but it is a damn fun one to watch, which is all any sane person should expect of the movie. It fulfills everything that a vampire-and-werewolf-fighting movie should be.
The film opens with action, a graphic vampire-versus-werewolf battle, much in the style of a James Bond movie, and manages to keep the remainder of the film exciting.
One thing that stands out in the film is the duality in the levels of violence and gory technological battles. Brute force used by many of the characters leaves a very raw and primal feeling. But at the same time there’s a plethora of modern gadgets and guns, giving a colder more militaristic sense, which contributes to the film by adding a sort of fluidity.
A sex scene with the perfectly hairless Speedman and Beckinsale (also the director’s wife) ensues after the two decide they have nothing better to do while waiting for the sun to go down. It is very artistic for lack of a better word, and it’s extremely reminiscent of Bjork’s ‘All is Full of Love’ music video, in which cyborg Bjork attempts to mate with another cyborg Bjork.
The film is also very dark, set with gray and blackish-bluish tones, which doesn’t really help when you’re trying to actually see the fast battle scenes. As a result some of the film ends up being a blur. The speed should have been scaled down for some parts.
If you enjoyed the first film then you’ll really like this one. It’s definitely a step up. It really manages to keep your attention which is something I felt the first film had trouble with, which is amazing given the sophisticated gothic feel in many of the aristocratic vampire scenes that Wiseman manages to pass off as entertaining.
This is a sporadically beautiful film that isn’t able to escape its backbone of ultra-violent fighting and the many creative ways of efficiently killing a vampire or werewolf, not that anyone should expect this film to be a work of beauty.
There are moments when you feel that there might be an excessive amount of violence, but with a runtime of 105 minutes, a relatively short movie in this day and age, you won’t start to feel antsy.
Wiseman is still very sophomoric. There are times when you laugh out loud when it’s obviously unintended, but he manages to make a fine vampire movie, and really what more can anyone ask for? Also look forward to a third installment, this time a prequel. To conclude, it is a fun movie if you can go in with the right mindset. Just don’t go in expecting the vampire action version of ‘Squid and the Whale,’ though I do like that idea. Someone should get on that.