Stagnant series evolves

Chris Kallio

‘Underworld’ has moments, ultimately lacks creativity

Courtesy of Screen Gems

Credit: DKS Editors


“Underworld” is presented with a peculiar problem: How can a fantasy film of this nature differentiate itself from others? In this case, not much, for its visual elements presented on screen are not unique, but ultimately (and fortunately for the film) fun enough.

The film takes place as an apparent war between vampires and lycans (or werewolves), as Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is caught in a struggle between her love for a human (Scott Speedman), her suspicion of a turncoat fellow vampire (Shane Brolly), and her feud with a powerful lycan (Michael Sheen).

One enjoyable aspect is that the actors seem to be having fun delivering their lines, particularly Sheen and Bill Nighy, as the elder vampire Viktor. Sheen, who has since become noteworthy for playing articulate and influential Brits, seems to relish every syllable and is practically unrecognizable as Lucien, the lycan leader.

The cinematography is fine, but juxtaposed with the fast-paced editing, the film tries too hard to be “The Matrix.” But the movie utilizes commendable visual effects in an age of gratuitously overexposure of CGI effects. “Underworld” is a horror film that is not horrifying but instead intended to be fun, resembling sort of the pre-“Night of the Living Dead” aspects of the horror genre.

This film is a combination of gothic and action; it’s fun, yet silly. It progressively becomes more enjoyable, and therefore, recommendable.

Stater rating: ☆☆☆

“Underworld: Evolution”

The worldwide consensus appears to be that sequels are unable to achieve the effectiveness of the films they are succeeding, and “Underworld: Evolution” is no exception. Granted, “Underworld” did not exactly set the standards too high, but such excuses should not be permitted.

Taking place immediately after the previous film, “Evolution” features Beckinsale returning to her role as Selene, who joins her human/lycan hybrid lover Michael (Scott Speedman) as they unlock the secrets of the unending war between the vampires and lycans. This task is only complicated as the duo is chased by a powerful vampire elder, Markus, played by Tony Curran.

Unlike “Underworld,” this film’s flaws outnumber its positive attributes. While the effects of the first film were tolerable and perhaps even enjoyable, the effects of “Evolution” are overdone and repetitive. With regards to the acting, Beckinsale and Speedman have nothing to expand their roles upon. Among the more enjoyable actors to watch, Bill Nighy is still a delight but perhaps too over-the-top.

If the problem with “Underworld” is that it does not differentiate itself from other vampire films, then the problem with “Underworld: Evolution” is that it does not differentiate itself from its predecessor. If vampire films are unrespected films in an unrespected genre, then “Underworld: Evolution” is not providing any salvation for this type of movie.

Creating practically nothing new and suffering from its own lack of uniqueness, “Underworld: Evolution” is not fun and yet still silly, progressively and stagnantly staying the same from start to finish.

Stater rating: ☆☆

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].