Reviewed by: Lori Souder
|Featuring||Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy, Derek Jacobi, Shane Brolly, Michael Sheen, Tony Curran|
|Producer||Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg|
This movie is meant to stand alone without the viewer needing to see the original film “Underworld” that was released in 2003. In the first scenes of the sequel, we are shown a horrific aftermath of a country village mangled by werewolves. While the medieval vampire knights are discussing the problems they face, the victims are “turning.” Turning, that is, into huge, monstrous human-wolf creatures that love to tear every living thing they see into bite-size pieces. The slaughter of vampire and werewolf begins in all its glory… or should I say gory.
Although the first movie and this one have the same director, Len Wiseman, they are very unalike, as if they were directed by two completely different people. The sequel picks up right were the first movie left off, but then turns into a different film genre.
Selene, a Death Dealer vampire, played by Kate Beckensale, is still the hero, and Michael is her trusty, hybrid werewolf-vampire sidekick. But other than that, the two movies bear little likeness.
In the first movie, when honorable Selene finally sees the truth, she kills Victor, that wicked and manipulating vampire leader and her ex-father figure. The curtain goes down, and we have to wait for the next movie to see how it all will come out when the next vampire Overlord, Marcus, wakes up and smells the coffee—or in his case, fresh blood.
When the curtain goes up, many may hope that the sequel will answer questions from the first movie, give us some back story, and stay true to the style and elegance of the original. But such hopes are dashed from the first scenes of the film.
The new story-line differs greatly from the first film. It seems at times that the first movie did not happen the way we remember it. The main theme of the sequel is that the twin brothers that were originally taken ill by a strange virus and then each bitten by a different animal (Marcus a bat and William a wolf) now want to help and support each other in a new scheme to rule the word. Then their dad is throw into the mix (who knew he was still alive after 800 years?), and that complicates matters. William was never the “good boy” that Marcus was, so he was locked away in a vault so secret that only one “living-dead” soul knows where he can be found.
But if the two brothers ever get together, the world (existing in the film as a gothic and depressed Eastern European country) will cease to exist. So the movie turns into a “Let’s Get Um” chase film. Selene, with the help of Michael and the twins’ father, must stop Marcus from reaching the super werewolf’s underground vault. Or else.
I enjoyed the original movie. It was well plotted; all the violence made sense. The concept was unique—vampires who rise beyond lusting for human blood to become their protectors in a world where werewolves run wild after human victims. The musical soundtrack was modern and thrilling, and it never interfered with the movie. The first movie was an elegant morality tale about those who set themselves up as masters and slaves. Over and over again, it led audiences to think they knew who the real bad guys were, and each time they were wrong. In the first movie, there WAS lots and lots of violence, but the blood was spare except for sensational special effects. There was no sex, no nudity and the cleavage was very modest in the gorgeous Goth gowns and costumes. The bad language was also spare, and each bad word was used only once or so. But you want to hear about the sequel!
The R-rating for the sequel is very warranted; it went way beyond the normal amount of gore, blood, violence and nudity. The nudity of the dead was especially disgusting. Instead of amazing, artistic, special effects in the gore department, and some discretion, as in the first movie, they just keep throwing buckets and buckets of blood.
The sex scenes and nudity are especially distasteful. Even Selene gets in on the foul language, sex and nudity. In one scene, a woman (that I assume is dead) is topless and covered with blood. Of course, she is not human. No one that matters in the film is human. However, they are all corrupted by human emotions to destroy, kill, and try to be God—attempting to recreate the world in their own image.
A musical soundtrack does not exist, which I found strange after the first movie. The theater was packed when I saw the film, and I thought that almost everyone was disappointed in the heavy-handedness and lack of class and elegance. During one long, endlessly violent scene, a man loudly yawned! Almost no one laughed, gasped, cheered, or in any way seemed to be getting into the movie. I found nothing to like. And the plot was totally unsurprising; it was always easy to see exactly where it was headed.
In my opinion, the movie is not suitable for anyone in the teenage years or younger, and has no merit for anyone older. It is a cheap, degrading, tacky, predictable, and poorly-made sequel to a much better movie. Do yourself a favor and skip “Underworld: Evolution”. I still can’t believe that the same director made both movies. Some in Hollywood seem to think that we want more garbage in our movies and are not sophisticated enough to enjoy anything well-crafted. Send them a message by avoiding this pathetic piece of junk.
[ Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” ]
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
The story progresses quickly, and the main characters are thrust back into scenes of violence that characterize their nature. The main character, Selena, is a vampire who was deceived by the “king” of the vampires (who she killed in the first movie). She has partnered up with a hybrid Vampire-Lycan in the character of Michael. The two work together to try and find the truth and save themselves (but we never really see who they are running from as the main threat comes from a released from exile, Marcus (father of the Underworld).
“Evolution” strikes me more as a fantasy film with quick action and a lot of violence thrown in with regards to the nature of the two feuding groups. The storyline is fairly simple, but characters come in and out with little explanation. One main character has a role throughout the film, but his true identity is not revealed until later (and by that time it’s extremely anti-climatic).
There are two scenes of sexuality, which were totally unnecessary in the way they were filmed. The offensive language was limited to five or six words (f-word, s-word, and one inappropriate use of Jesus Christ). The main reason for the rating is the violence and gore. This is not a movie for children, in fact the one sitting in front of me at the screening was horrified.
Since this film deals with fictional characters of vampires and werewolves, Christians may find this offensive. There are interesting portrayals of what could be viewed as humanism/secularism as people strive to set themselves up as gods. Interesting parallels on whether we should intervene when we see things as wrong or if we should allow them to play out over the course of history (but not really worth viewing the film to see this). You can read about Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael to see this conflict.
The movie shows the miserable existence of a self-centered people, where they are controlled by a behavior to sin causing internal conflict. Deception and trust issues are played out in a manner that shows the results when virtue is not practiced.
I think the movie was interesting, but would not recommend it. For those that like the “horror” genre, there are other fantasy films available that are more intense and less offensive.
Average / 2½
About the movie, let me first say that I loved “Underworld”. That movie had action and a good plot in a very classy way. Unfortunately, that tradition was not continued it its sequel. “Underworld: Evolution” was grossly overdone. There were two very gratuitous sex scenes. And I’m talking gratuitous. For those of you who have seen “Matrix: Reloaded”—one of the scenes was much like that except that the camera wasn’t zoomed out. The other scene in Underworld: Evolution had pretty much full nudity and was just kinda sickening.
But wait it doesn’t stop there. The gore in this movie was just excessive. Up until last night I could say with pretty solid confidence that “Passion of the Christ” was the goriest movie I had seen. I can still say that, but not with as much confidence. I think that the thing that bugged me the most about all the sex and gore was that it was completely unnecessary. There are movies that I have seen that need gore and sex to get the story across—“Passion” needs gore to get its point across; and “Troy” kinda needs one sex scene (only one mind) to create the problems with Helen of Troy. “Underworld: Evolution”, however, did not need them. It could have been extremely well done like its predecessor, and done just as well without the gore and sex.
In case you didn’t quite get an idea yet, one of my best friends who I went with gets kinda sick when he sees too much blood, he was gone for like 20 minutes in the middle of the movie to compose himself, and when he came back he was looking at the floor for a while, and about 20-30 minutes before the end he just had to leave because he couldn’t take the gore. And the really sad part is that “Underworld” (the first one) is like his favorite movie of all time. I, myself, almost had to walk out, and I am not skittish around blood. I think the only reason I stayed was so that I could with certainty say that I had watched the whole movie, and there wasn’t much at the end that redeemed the gore and sex. I had high expectations of this movie, and I am sorry to say none of them were met. Avoid this one and go rent “Underworld”.
Very Offensive / 2
I should point out that this movie was never intended for anyone under the age of 17. So parents who are foolish enough to take anyone younger, or allow their younger children to view it have no one to blame but themselves. I also feel, after reading your comments, that you did not understand the back story. By back story, I am referring to what was alluded to in the first film. One other comment, it is my feeling based on my education and experience that the characters of Michael and Selene are good guys. She does not feed on humans, and she does not want Michael to. The characters of Marcus and William, are more brutal and a little more ruthless, just as Viktor was.
The action was well done, and to say that if the vampires and werewolves killed cleanly and not messily would be unrealistic. I am sorry if you felt that there was too much violence, I do not feel that was the case. I leave you with this final note, Selene did not kill the Police, only disarmed them and rendered them unconscious. I have been a Christian for more than 20 years, and I have seen films that I would consider a lot more offensive, those who use sex for the sake of sex, and not in furtherance of the relationship of the main characters. Now as a Christian, I do not believe in sex for the sake of sex, especially between persons who are not married or contemplating marriage. In this day and age in our present climate it is not uncommon to see this in a movie, so as I said before the love scene between Michael and Selene was done very tastefully. …
Better than Average / 4
Comments from young people