This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
Fabulous. The sequel to a film I loathed so much I asked Craig to review it, despite the fact he slept through the “thrilling” conclusion. The truly impressive thing about Underworld: Evolution is not the fact that some idiot exec green-lighted the thing in the first place, but rather that it manages to take all of the foul, loathsome things from the first film and make them exponentially worse. I say again, fabulous.
Once small matter of the opening 11th century prolog is dealt with, setting up the parachuting of two new villains into the piece that ought to have been so inextricably linked with the first film that they should at least have been mentioned in it, and also to revisit Bill Nighy’s frankly astonishing accent (best described as a hybrid of Star Wars‘ Admiral Akbar and a 1920’s BBC Continuity announcer talking while his dentist is drilling a pre-molar), what we’ll loosely refer to as the action picks up where the first film left off. Fabulous.
Which means that the big, stupid looking ol’ head honcho vampire Marcus (Tony Curran) is flying around chasing after leatherclad vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her werewolf/vampire/fucknut hybrid mate Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), which is all somehow necessary to free Marcus’ brother William (Brian Steele), who’s the big, stupid looking ol’ head honcho werewolf. Also chasing everyone else around, largely for plot exposition purposes is Corvinus (a slightly perplexed looking Derek Jacobi, presumably wondering along with the audience how he ended up in this disaster area) and his team of S.W.A.T. vampires. Don’t ask. Please, just don’t ask.
I’d try and explain what the muddled mess of the convoluted, Heath Robinsonesque plot setup means in clearer detail, but I’m not altogether sure it knows what it means itself. Granted, it’s not as horrendously overcooked as the similarly atrocious Night Watch, but that’s not a reason for celebration. Naturally, you’re not really watching this for the plot, are you? Well, I hope you’re not at any rate. The action scenes! That’s the card this film has up its sleeve!
The card, unfortunately, happens to be a two of clubs. It’s pretty much the same mix of bad CG werewolves, pony animatronic werewolves, uninspired wire-fu and rotten, Matrix Reloaded-on-a-shoestring CG stuntmen that featured in its miserable predecessor. Quite frankly, it’s really rather boring. For an action film, and for any other film for that matter, this is A Bad Thing.
It is, however, nice to know that weapons technology has advanced to the point that even the immortal undead rely on it. Sam Colt would be proud. Rather puts the identity issue on the sidelines, as it’s very easy to forget that Selene is supposed to be a vamp rather than a chick with a gun poured into a leather catsuit. I guess that’s sort of the point, as the only selling points this miserable franchise ever banked on are inside Beckinsale’s bodice. While we’re on the subject, Beckinsale is every bit as convincing and engaging as in the first film. Yes, it’s that bad.
So then, Underworld: Evolution provides the unique absence of quality and god-awful nu-metal soundtrack that made the first film so attractive to gullible goths who are still delusional enough to think of themselves as individual. A word of advice should you recognise anything of yourself in that statement – you do not look like you belong in the world of this film no matter how much you wish it. Relatedly, when people point and laugh at you in the street it’s not because of any cultural intolerance or fear, but because you look like a total Norbert. Now, go away and re-evaluate your lifestyle choices while the rest of us laugh at that ludicrous chain you keep your wallet on.
It’s normally the case that we’d claim that if you liked the first film, you’ll like this. I’m not going to say this, because if you liked the first film you are a strange creature whose thought patterns are alien to me. For everyone who hasn’t suffered the colossal taste failure that results in liking Underworld, and I appreciate that this warning is redundant and something of an insult to your intelligence, give this film as wide a berth as it is possible to give.
I cannot think of a single thing in this I came close to liking. In short, Underworld Evolution can do one.