Underworld: Evolution (2006)

*. I think the assumption must have been that, as a direct sequel to Underworld, most of the audience for Underworld: Evolution would have seen that film. Nevertheless, we begin with a lot of the mythology being gone over, along with “blood memory” flashbacks to Underworld to let anyone not up to speed in on what’s going on.
*. All of which is pretty useless. I watched this one only a couple of weeks after watching Underworld and I was still lost right from the start. I guess there are fans of the franchise out there who have all the genealogies down straight, but after a while I just stopped trying.
*. The first movie made a whole lot of money, which let them double the budget on this one. It still looks like a videogame/comic book, and they even stole a page from the MarvelCrap universe by casting a respected older actor (Derek Jacobi) in one of the lead roles.
*. There’s more violence than in the first movie but the characters are less interesting (which is quite an accomplishment, actually) and the story is harder to follow. There’s the same grim colour scheme, which gets boring after a while. Things start off with a bang but then really drag in the third act, when we end up on a set that looks identical to the one the first movie ended in. The use of the helicopter was sort of neat though. I was wondering what they were keeping it hanging around for.
*. The only point to it all is watching the monsters go at it. Real human beings are again thin on the ground, and I think the only ones we see are the Hungarian mooks who get kicked around. As a pure fantasy, then, it doesn’t even have any political resonance. The Godzilla movies had more substance.
*. There’s a nice little love scene when Kate strips out of her latex and gets it on with Scott. They seem made for each other. It might as well have been CGI. They’re both easy to look at, but Speedman in particular is a total plank of wood in the acting department.
*. The fate of Tanis struck me as symbolic of the whole Underworld mindset. He’s apparently an intellectual scholar-vampire, and yet when he’s locked away in his monastery all he does is indulge in the porno-gangster lifestyle: fucking vampire babes and listening to Puscifer. For 300 years. Hasn’t it ever gotten old, Tanis?
*. I’ve remarked before (see my notes for The Expendables 3) on franchise inertia: the way you just keep watching all the films in a series because once you get started you feel you have to stick it through to the bitter end. Well, to hell with that. After seeing two of these movies I’ve had enough. I’m not 14 any more.

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