At The Picture Show
The land down 'Under' returns: And it still stinks
Director: Len Wiseman
Screenplay: Danny McBride, based on a story by Len Wiseman and Danny McBride
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Bill Nighy, Derek Jacobi and Steven
Rated R / 1 hour, 45 minutes
Opened January 20, 2006
(out of four)
It must be tough for Kate Beckinsale. It's plainly obvious to anyone who has seen both of
the Underworld films - in particular this dreadful new sequel - that the mastermind behind the
series, Len Wiseman, is a pretty lousy filmmaker. But poor Kate is married to him - so no matter
how many of these movies he decides he wants to make, she has to keep saying yes!
It has been reported that Wiseman plans to make this a trilogy, meaning we will probably
be subjected to at least one more of these things before it's all over and done with.
Now, I'm of the opinion that Kate Becksinale wearing
tight-fitting black latex is never a bad idea, under any circumstances. But in a movie this bad, I
can't help but feel sorry for her. The original Underworld was pretty bad, but it did have its
moments. This one, on the other hand, not only proves that Wiseman doesn't have any
interesting ideas whatsoever, but also that he's just not a very good director. Underworld:
Evolution may please those who like nonstop gore and a heavy dose of sexy vampresses, but
won't do much for anyone looking for a cohesive storyline, originality, humor or charm. It
doesn't even have camp value.
This practically witless sequel picks up right about where the original left off, with Selene
(Beckinsale), a vampire "death dealer," having just killed off the esteemed elder, Viktor (Bill
Nighy), her mentor and father figure who evidently (I simply can't remember, and don't care)
betrayed his people. Nighy's role is limited to a simple cameo, seen in a series of clumsy
flashbacks (many taken from the first film) that vainly attempt to mask the fact that Wiseman has
no idea how to tell a story.
With Viktor now out of the picture, there is naturally a new antagonist and a new plot for
Selene to deal with. And basically, what Underworld: Evolution boils down to is just another one
of those movies where a diabolical villain tries to take over the world. I hate it when that
What's next for the third film in the series? A mad
scientist threatening to release an unimaginable evil on all mankind? Or something? I wouldn't
put it past Len Wiseman, let me tell ya.
Anyway, Selene and her friend/lover, Michael (Scott Speedman) - a half-vampire, half-Lycan (werewolf) - are on the run from...well, someone, when our villain Marcus (Tony Curran)
enters the picture.
Marcus has a beloved brother, William, a Lycan, who has been entombed for about 1,000
years - and big brother is none too happy about it. Marcus' extremely elaborate plan involves
freeing his brother, killing their father, Corvinus (Derek Jacobi), and creating a new, master race
- not human, not vampire, not Lycan - to, you know, take over the world and stuff, with Marcus
as their king.
Selene is helped along the way by Tanis (Steven Mackintosh), a vampire she imprisoned
hundreds of years ago who is in cahoots with Marcus (I think) and has a few dirty little secrets -
mostly involving advanced weaponry - that Selene will stop at nothing to discover.
What ensues is basically a nonstop menagerie of
poorly edited fight scenes, dubious special effects and really loud noises, all of it wrapped up just
before it becomes completely unbearable, and just in time to set up the intrigue for the inevitable
The Underworld series is one of great confusion to me. Does the vampire genre reach an
underrepresented demographic or something? Is there not enough blood and gore at the
multiplexes to satisfy the 14-year-old boy in all of us? Yes, I'm including myself - this stuff can
make for great escapism, but Underworld: Evolution is a poor excuse. This sequel is on its way
to becoming even more financially successful than its predecessor, which was a modest hit,
which tells me...well, it's gotta be the Kate Beckinsale-in-latex thing. There's no other
Read more by Chris Bellamy