Sunday, January 22, 2006

UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION - The blood, the blood!

The original Underworld was basically- Vampires and werewolves fighting with guns, claws, teeth and edged weapons. If you don't like the sound of this then Underworld ain't for you and neither is it's worthy sequel Underworld Evolution in cinemas now.

Where the original spent a good deal of time explaining why vampires and werewolves (or Lycans, as they're called here) are a bit pissed off at each other, Underworld Evolution for the most part has this battle play out. Now there is a few lagging segments where our heroes Michael and Selene have to do a bit of investigating but nowhere near as many as the first film, and most of them are told in flashback, so you see them happen as opposed to just having the caharcters explain them, far more satisfying.

Kate Beckinsale reprises her role (and thankfully her wardrobe- which even more thankfully she takes off for some hot sex) from the first film; a vampire named Selene, a Death Dealer, charged with the task of ridding the world of Lycans. At the end of Underworld, she learns of a betrayal that changes the path of her life, and this film explores the repercussions of that. The biggest of these is her relationship with Michael (Scott Speedman), a hybrid vampire/Lycan.

Since vampires and Lycans have been bitter enemies throughout history, their affair does not go down well on either side, and in the beginning of this film (which picks up right after the events of the original), Selene and Michael are on the run, and defending themselves against all comers, although strangely they're now in Eastern Europe as opposed to the US?!!!??

As we should have guessed, the Lycan blood that made its way to Marcus, the last remaining vampire Elder, has transformed him into a super-charged, winged beast like the boss thingy in House Of The Dead, and he is out to exact revenge on everyone who has wronged him(and I mean EVERYONE). His idea of a good time is to find an enemy, pin him to the wall with his bony wing-tips and rip off his head. In fact, Marcus' bloodletting is the true joy of the film. There are some righteous kills and Marcus is usually at the center of them. Jaws are dismantled, heads disintegrated, and scores of folks are shot up in the tech-heavy war. It all looks a lot better than in the first outing; the effects have been upgraded considerably. The werewolves themselves—their transformation sequences and their movement, especially—are leaps ahead of the ones on display in the original Underworld.

Actually the whole production seems to have gotten a leg up. Len Wiseman is very comfortable mixing genres and the film gets more creative, carving out its own identity in the action/gore sequences and will no longer be compared to Blade and The Matrix, I wouldn't be surprised come it's next outing that it would surpass both the Blade and the Martix trilogies. Caps off to Bill Nighy, in his flashback appearance as the vampire Viktor, and Derek Jacoby is a proper use of a Shakesperian actor in a Sci-Fi film, not like Judi Dench in The Chronicles Of Riddick.

In the end, Underworld Evolution follows all sequel rules—more action, death, villains and character development—but manages to be better than the original by keeping the action coming. Overall this is a solid genre picture with killer action and plenty of satisfying death-dealing. Let's just say I had a few seizures :)

Colonel Creedon rating: *****

7 comments:

planetpotato said...

I loved the silliness of the original Underworld. The new version is getting awful reviews though (yours excepted).

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Well I'm not a film critic, but I know what I like, and I like this. One review had the line "It's like watching 90 minutes of constant gunfire". The reviewer was trying to put people off but it would have sold me, that is if I hadn't already decided to go and see it.

Mark said...

Awful movie, the original is far superior. It would have been a better movie they had just set it in the past.

Was there even a point to hiring Derek Jacobi? The scenes he's in were too brief while the fight sequences were too repetitive.

Former Grunt said...

Why do you even mention Derek Jacobi? Weren't you watching it for Kate in leather?

Master Guns said...

Kate in leather, mmmmmmmmmm!

sith apologist said...

I can unofficially confirm that its more fun removing the leather than looking at it!

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Isn't it just :)