The saga about the war between the vampires and the werewolves returns in Underworld: Evolution. While its predecessor set up the exposition on the why’s and how’s about the raging battle between the vampires and the werewolves/lycans, this sequel shows a flashback intensive plotline of that same old action-movie formula.
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The attempt to delve into the story revolving around the vampire and lycan battle can be quite engaging and stylish, but to top it all, it is quite challenging. With the pressed exposition and flashback-supported storyline that has such a complicated scope, this seems like a quickie sequel trying to milk as much money out of the fans of the original movie. This follow-up reel about goth, vampires, and werewolves provides an escapist feel for the too complicated story that could have probably worked better in a hardbound novel than a moving picture. For its own level, the movie could have worked, if not for the clutter. It should have maintained its focus by tightening the lagging sections of the story.
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There are many tired elements already used profusely in movies of similar themes such as Blade, Van Helsing,and even The Matrix. From camera handling to sound design, the fanged blood suckers and furry beasts fighting with guns, claws, swords, and teeth are seen all over. The action scenes look too messy.
Nothing new is presented in this sequel. What it mainly lacks is the re-imagining of the vampire genre so it can look more fresh and interesting. Given such a mayhem about a heroine and a hero trying to save the human race from vicious, malevolent creatures, there is no enough room for emotional build up. There’s no enough tension to promote enough thrill and suspense. The coldness of the sets in fabulously gothic scenes is widely seen and is indeed justifiable. Yet, the love scene of the fanged hottie Selene and the vampire-werewolf hybrid hunk Michael could have registered better if it has “visually raised” the temperature with their passionate endearment amidst the cold environment.
Most emotions aren’t felt much as the scenes reflect rather too superficial music and music video-style treatment. It lacks coherence and it doesn’t have much emotional chords. The audience can feel something for the characters, but there is no enough room to the right emotional involvement.
Len Wiseman, director of both installments and Beckinsale’s real-life husband, transforms her charming wife into a sexy vamp oozing with vampiric aura with her pale make-up, vampire teeth, and haunting eyes that go from dark to light blue (depending on how vampiric she gets). Her poise in wielding her weapons here and there is what is normally seen with such a warrior protagonist. However, with Scott Speedman’s role as Michael, there is nothing exceptional in his performance – nothing more than showing his admirably good looks. His execution is quite lousy and it lacks the drive to challenge his performance for such a role. He’s like a top male model who suddenly turns into “Incredible Hulk” when he gets mad or when the need arises. Isn’t it noticeable as if it’s a part of his transformation to remove his shirt before he morphs into a monster, then gets it back on when he’s normal again? Come to think of it, at least he won’t have any problem buying a new shirt after his transformation.
Tony Curran as the first vampire Marcus releases his twin brother, who in turn is the first werewolf, in order to come up with a new breed of hybrid monsters to take over the world. Marcus looks more effective in his human form than his funny winged nemesis look.
For the die-hard vampire story fans and fans of the genre, this movie is something to feed your eyes on. But don’t expect something new or great from it, whether from the story or the visuals. It is unfortunate that this sequel has not really evolved as the movie title suggests. For those with high demands and expectations, this flashback- and special effects-driven movie seems to suck blood from an anemic, then it returns to its coffin of dullness.