$2.50 Reviews: Underworld: Evolution (2006)

There will be spoilers for Underworld in this review. If you haven't seen that movie, go do that, then read this review.

$2.50 Reviews:

Underworld: Evolution

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Underworld: Evolution is a 2006 action film, and is the sequel to the 2003 film Underworld. Evolution follows the newly turned vampire/Lycan hybrid Michael (Scott Speedman), as well as the vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale), following the aftermath of what happened throughout the first film. It takes place directly following the death of Viktor, and introduces Marcus as the new villain. Very early on, Kraven is killed off, and Marcus eventually goes on a hunt for two keys, hoping that finding them will allow him to rescue his long captured Lycan brother.

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That's totally the same crossbow that was in Van Helsing

I really liked the first Underworld. It had a well thought out back-story, a good plot, exciting action scenes and interesting characters. In Evolution, the character I disliked the most, Kraven, is killed off really early on. Just given this, Evolution seems like it'll be an improvement on its predecessor. It does not, however, live up to its name. Evolution is not an improvement over Underworld, nor does it really even come close. It still looks nice, and it is shot in a very similar style to the first, but it is missing a lot of what made the first movie fun to watch.

To begin with, the plot is almost non-existent when compared with the first one. It doesn't really play much of a role; in fact, it's almost there solely to give the characters something to do. Seeing as how Michael is now a hybrid, he's basically an unstoppable creature. In order to combat this, we need another hybrid. Enter Marcus, who got some Lycan blood right at the end of the last movie. For reasons that are never explained, Marcus actually looks somewhat like a bat. He has wings, and large ears. Why don't any other vampires transform like him? One could assume that this is because he is revealed to be the first vampire in existence, but then you remember that all the Lycans still transform. Why is there a difference? I would have thought that he would have looked more like a Lycan than anything else, given the fact that he was awakened with Lycan blood.

Speaking of blood, we are shown early on that Michael requires it in order to keep up his strength. Like the entire back-story of the first movie, this is forgotten about quite quickly. After the one instance where he is shown to need blood, he never does again. He keeps full strength for the rest of the movie, and never requires to feed again. This could have led to some dramatic events in the final act, but instead is left untouched for 3/4 of the film. Instead, we end up with a sloppy mess of an action scene for the film's climax.

As a matter of fact, almost all of the action scenes are a mess. They're still shot wonderfully, and they look good, but nothing never really comes out of them. People get shot, people lose limbs, and a lot of CGI blood flies out of them. That's really about it. There aren't really all that many action sequences either. The film mostly involves Selene and Michael running from place to place, trying to avoid being caught by Marcus.

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Why does he get to look like a real vampire?

In terms of characters, Evolution does at least make them interesting at face value. There actually seemed to be less dialogue and character building than in Underworld, so most of the characters need to be looked at just by their actions, and nothing more. Selene's character is only slightly less cold than before, and Michael still appears to be a fairly useless character. Despite being as strong as anyone else, Michael's most defining action in the film is throwing paint at a window, in order to block out the sun for Selene. I mean, sure he's physically strong, and he gets to be in a few monster fights, but his character is basically just a weakling. Selene always takes the lead, and Michael only does things when told to, or the situation calls for it. This does not mean that the actors are not doing their job.

Despite being given very little to work with, they actually don't do a bad job. The worst actor from the previous entry in the series was Shane Brolly, playing Kraven. Thankfully, he gets very little screen time, being killed off rather early on. Beckinsale and Speedman carry the majority of the film, and don't do a bad job. Speedman especially seemed to have improved since the last film, even though it seemed like he was on-screen far less.

Overall, Underworld: Evolution seems like a rushed project. Without giving anything away, the ending felt as if they were afraid of making a sequel, so instead decided to cram everything they could within the two hours they were given. The result is of far lower quality than its predecessor. The action scenes are fewer and are a bigger mess, while the story takes a back-seat to nothing really important. A lot of the plot points that do get brought up are full of holes, and ultimately don't make all that much sense. The acting is still fine, and the film still looks great, but there just isn't all that much there to be entertaining.

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Man you're fast these days, aren't ya?

Other than that, decent review, but the captions for the pictures could have been better.

However, I believe it was pre-planned that the next(and final) movie be a prequel rather than a sequel, hence the killing off of all major antagonists.

Sinclose:
Man you're fast these days, aren't ya?

I try. :)

Other than that, decent review, but the captions for the pictures could have been better.

I suppose if people are only complaining about the captions, then I should take it as a compliment.

Anyway, I view captions as 'bonus' things, and not a major part of the review. The pictures are mostly there just to make it not such a wall of text.

However, I believe it was pre-planned that the next(and final) movie be a prequel rather than a sequel, hence the killing off of all major antagonists.

Rise of the Lycans, (review of that coming tomorrow), is actually not the final Underworld movie. There will be a 4th, released in 2012. (Unless it gets cancelled).

Good review, I read the Underworld one earlier too, made me get a craving to watch them all, hoping for a good one from you tomrrow!

Marter:

Sinclose:
Man you're fast these days, aren't ya?

I try. :)

Other than that, decent review, but the captions for the pictures could have been better.

I suppose if people are only complaining about the captions, then I should take it as a compliment.

Anyway, I view captions as 'bonus' things, and not a major part of the review. The pictures are mostly there just to make it not such a wall of text.

However, I believe it was pre-planned that the next(and final) movie be a prequel rather than a sequel, hence the killing off of all major antagonists.

Rise of the Lycans, (review of that coming tomorrow), is actually not the final Underworld movie. There will be a 4th, released in 2012. (Unless it gets cancelled).

Yeah, I suppose you should take it as a compliment. The captions aren't bad by any means, they simply could do with a little tweaking to make them more interesting to read, if you catch my drift.

And I had totally forgotten about that 2012 installment. Oh well, guess that's what I get for being disconnected from cinema for so long :P

Also, I think you forgot to include trailers in your reviews :)

bobby1361:
Good review, I read the Underworld one earlier too, made me get a craving to watch them all, hoping for a good one from you tomrrow!

You reading that Marter? Expectations are soaring! DO NOT LET YOUR FANS DOWN!!!

Sinclose:
Also, I think you forgot to include trailers in your reviews :)

I didn't forget, I just didn't quite like how they looked in terms of the current format of the review. It just didn't 'click' with me.

You reading that Marter? Expectations are soaring! DO NOT LET YOUR FANS DOWN!!!

I'll try not to!

Marter:

Sinclose:
Also, I think you forgot to include trailers in your reviews :)

I didn't forget, I just didn't quite like how they looked in terms of the current format of the review. It just didn't 'click' with me.

Ah. Fair enough then.

bobby1361:
Good review, I read the Underworld one earlier too, made me get a craving to watch them all, hoping for a good one from you tomrrow!

I hope that reading this review didn't make you want to see it. O_O

Marter:
Underworld: Evolution is a 2006 action film, and is the sequel to the film 2003 film Underworld.

Minor, but I imagine any critique or corrections are helpful.

I enjoyed the review, especially the spoiler warning. I realize that user reviews are entirely of the creators will, but I sometimes feel it's best to try and ensure your work is accessible to everyone. Having such important spoilers from Underworld may not be necessary, and ultimately narrows your audience. Okay, I know it's nitpicking, and I realize pretty much everyone has seen Underwold, but if you aspire to get into the profession, it will be something you'll have to consider.

This film is probably my least favourite of the series. In fact, I hardly remember it. My favourite of all three is actually the third, but it's nearly tied with the original. Both lead female actors are so damn sexy!

Anyways, yet another solid review. I'm looking forward to the third review of the series tomorrow, what with being my favourite and all.

zombiesinc:
snip

Thanks for the correction. I fixed it.

I feel that when reviewing sequels, there is almost always going to be some sort of spoiler, as it's far too hard to describe the plot otherwise. I figured I'd give a warning, just in case.

Marter:

bobby1361:
Good review, I read the Underworld one earlier too, made me get a craving to watch them all, hoping for a good one from you tomrrow!

I hope that reading this review didn't make you want to see it. O_O

Made me want to see it to see if your points are ones I agree with.

bobby1361:
Made me want to see it to see if your points are ones I agree with.

Ah, I see. That's fair enough then. :)

While I agree that Evolution wasn't as good as the first Underworld film (for a variety of reasons), the appearance of Marcus was never really an issue for me once it was established he was essentially the primogenitor of all vampires. See, the original Underworld film caught some flack for its similarity to an existing work of vampire fiction, and the franchise clearly draws on similar lines of inspiration when it comes time to formulate "the rules" - things like older vampires being far far more powerful than newly created ones (Viktor killing a lycan with is bare hands), torpor, progressive loss of humanity and concepts of morality, etc.

Watching the films I never had to think to myself "Oh, so that's how vampires work in this setting eh?", as their concept of vampires and my own were in almost total alignment. Truly ancient vampires being capable of the sort of shapeshifting Marcus does therefore wasn't particularly surprising, particularly when he's the first vampire ever - each successive generation of vampires removed from the first being less powerful is another facet of "how vampires work" in my mind, coming from my background heavily steeped in the World of Darkness. The only real question is whether he could always do that and they simply didn't show it during the flashbacks (he is observed to be capable of shape-shifting back into a seemingly normal human form after all), or if that was something he gained as the centuries went by.

I'm not sure why you'd think being awakened via lycanthrope blood would result in him appearing more like a werewolf though, or suggest he's some form of hybrid - for one thing lycanism doesn't appear to be a blood-born disease. For another, the whole plot of the first film revolved around a vampire/werewolf hybrid being essentially impossible, as the two diseases cancel each other out when both are introduced into a host... unless you found a human descendant of Corvinus with the dormant form of the genetic trait that originally produced vampires and werewolves, which is where Michael comes in.

Edit: Ah, so apparently Wikipedia thinks that being awakened via werewolf blood turned Marcus into a "vampire-dominant hybrid". Personally I don't think that really makes sense, unless the werewolf in question had been injecting himself with Michael's blood (I know Lucian does at one point, but we never see the scientist do so in the film), and if that's not the mechanism behind the hybrid deal then it makes even less sense - surely a vampire would have drank blood from a werewolf at some point over the centuries. Now I'm curious if this is something the book spelled out or just idle speculation by the pedants writing these articles...

Gildan Bladeborn:
I'm not sure why you'd think being awakened via lycanthrope blood would result in him appearing more like a werewolf though, or suggest he's some form of hybrid - for one thing lycanism doesn't appear to be a blood-born disease. For another, the whole plot of the first film revolved around a vampire/werewolf hybrid being essentially impossible, as the two diseases cancel each other out when both are introduced into a host... unless you found a human descendant of Corvinus with the dormant form of the genetic trait that originally produced vampires and werewolves, which is where Michael comes in.

Marcus was definitely a hybrid: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401855/faq#.2.1.3

Considering he was one of the two sons Alexander Corvinus had, he was able to become a hybrid.

As for why I thought that becoming more Lycan than vampire made sense...I figured that he was already a vampire. We are never shown that he can transform into a bat-thing before becoming a hybrid. I wonder why becoming a hybrid, ie: introducing Lycan blood, would make this transformation possible.

Marter:

Gildan Bladeborn:
I'm not sure why you'd think being awakened via lycanthrope blood would result in him appearing more like a werewolf though, or suggest he's some form of hybrid - for one thing lycanism doesn't appear to be a blood-born disease. For another, the whole plot of the first film revolved around a vampire/werewolf hybrid being essentially impossible, as the two diseases cancel each other out when both are introduced into a host... unless you found a human descendant of Corvinus with the dormant form of the genetic trait that originally produced vampires and werewolves, which is where Michael comes in.

Marcus was definitely a hybrid: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401855/faq#.2.1.3

Considering he was one of the two sons Alexander Corvinus had, he was able to become a hybrid.

As for why I thought that becoming more Lycan than vampire made sense...I figured that he was already a vampire. We are never shown that he can transform into a bat-thing before becoming a hybrid. I wonder why becoming a hybrid, ie: introducing Lycan blood, would make this transformation possible.

Yeah, see, I'm not sure I accept that page as being authoritative on the topic, especially when it was emblazoned with this disclaimer along the top:

The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.

I get the definite vibe of fan speculation from that FAQ - maybe that's actually how things are supposed to work, but whenever I see treatises on elements of a plot that were never that deeply examined in the film they derive from, I tend to get suspicious about the validity of those conclusions.

it was a good movie, apperantly they are making a 4th movie

solid review, and @ vanthebaron:
ooo, when XD?

 

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