REVIEW SUMMARY: Marcus, the last Vampire elder, is awake and he’s looking for our beloved Selene for some dark purpose. That pretty much sums up the whole movie. I think the Sony Picture website gives away more of the storyline so you can check that out if you had to know. I wish I hadn’t.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Sequel to the 2003 film of the same title with a so-so storyline. Feels like the same movie with more fighting, less talking, about the same amount of gunplay.
PROS: Kate Beckinsale, in her latex (or is that polyurethane?) suit as well as her birthday suit. Need I say more? I would have given 5 stars just for Kate, but the rest of the movie averaged it down to 2 stars.
CONS: Plot and continuity, or lack thereof.
BOTTOM LINE: Unless you’re a huge Kate Beckinsale fan, this is best saved for a DVD-rental. Even for a fan like me, I wished I had waited for the DVD that I would have bought anyway. Since it’s a sequel, it’s hard not to compare the two movies. While it tied off some of the plotlines, the movie just didn’t seem that cohesive. Perhaps, in my old age, movies with a stronger plot seems to sate my appetite more than one with a lot of action. So, I’m disappointed.
Long time readers know that it’s not genetically possible, for me, to diss a Kate Beckinsale movie. (Remember that nauseatingly glowing review that I gave Van Helsing? I can’t even bring myself to link it now because I’m so ashamed of it; you’ll just have to search for it on this site. Be careful, it might make you retch.) So I have to say that I’m, *sigh*, disappointed. After the first movie which introduced a very promising premise, I had thought they would expand on it and drive it to a more satisfying conclusion. But I was utterly rebuffed.
**My extended comments contains spoilers** Read it only if you’ve seen the movie or have no interest in seeing it.
Is it possible to have too much plot in a movie? Well, possibly (read: Syriana, the last movie that I saw). But this movie was in no danger of that. Characteristic of the movies today, Underworld: Evolution, is two non-stop hours of cinematic violence — I just wished that they had stopped to take a breath long enough to tell me what’s going on — something that would lead me to think it was the same story.
The movie started out nice enough some scrolling text to catch us up followed by a short introductory flashback with some dialogue between Viktor and Marcus. But it quickly devolved into a dizzing blur of bloody (and furry) hack-and-slash.
As I was thinking of how to write this review, it occurred to me that the writers just stopped trying. The first movie had nice weaponry such as UV and silver nitrate rounds for guns and those cool silver-laced shurikens. Those are gone in this movie. I guess they want us to assume that the people are firing the appropriate rounds for the appropriate targets?? In fact, the term “UV round” just appeared once. The silver rounds were never even mentioned and the whole movie is about hunting werewolves! They just stopped caring; or they spend their entire special effects budget on animating the seemingly unlimited number of scenes where Marcus just swoops in the room! In some flashbacks, they seemed to have reshot the scenes; but then, they reused an old sequence in a different context in the new movie as eagle-eyed moviegoers will notice the sequence where Viktor’s cobweb-laced innards are revived by Selene’s blood in the first movie was used in the resurrection of Michael in this movie. How lame!
In the first movie, they talked about a time when the werewolved served as the vampires’ daytime protectors until the war broke out after Viktord forced Lucian to watch his bride (Viktor’s vampiric offspring) burnt to death by the sun. But in this movie, they seemed to talk about how the war had always raged on between the vampires and the werewolves. Come on people, is a little continuity too much to ask for? Perhaps, it’s unfair to say that the writers weren’t trying anymore; maybe, they were try too hard. They tried too hard to retrofit a lot history of into the lore when the first movie provided a contradictory framework. As a result, everything came off not very well thought-out.
All in all, the basic premise had a lot of promise that they fail to deliver on in this outing. Of course, they left room for yet another movie — more hybrid fun, I supposed; but how will that play out now that Selene is not vampire anymore or is she just a new breed that can withstand the sun?? I told you there’s a spoiler!