Scott Speedman in Underworld: Evolution

Scott Speedman in Underworld: Evolution

Katie and I were both felled by a terrible bout of sickness as we started to discuss this film. Imagine the two of us curled up on the couch with hot tea, Kleenex, and a cozy blanket while trying to think of witty (and sometimes scathing) things to say to one another over the course of our virtual conversation.

DEANNA
Good morning. Hope you’re feeling better. Let’s get right down to it — I’ve seen Underworld: Evolution probably a dozen times. And I can’t explain my truly odd fascination with these films. What did you think?

KATIE
This was only my second viewing of Underworld: Evolution. Admittedly, my first impression was kind of meh. On second viewing my opinion improved somewhat. Overall, I tend to find sequels not as great as the original with trilogies sometimes making up for the middle film (as is the case here). I think it was the realization of the hybrid on-screen that didn’t appeal to me. I found that Michael’s altered state didn’t come off nearly as cool as a vampire or a lycan. In fact, there were points in the film where I felt he was kind of like a greyish Incredible Hulk (a la Lou Ferrigno). Plus, let’s face it, there really wasn’t enough lycan action throughout this movie.

DEANNA
Really? You think that this film was the bridge between 1 and 3? Because I really hated the third film — thought it was terrible.

But, dude, Michael’s half-vampire and half-lycan, and while he might look like a strange kind of yellow-eyed leech, he’s so powerful! And when he changes back, he’s lovely and all Scott Speedman again. But you’re right about there not being enough lycan throughout the film. I also think that they spent way too much time on the revenge aspect. Actually, the whole film was essentially one long revenge sequence for Marcus to get his own back about his brother being locked up forever.

However, what I like about these movies is the whole Selene-kicking-ass, Michael-following-her-around, them being on the run bits. If they had done more with that — more with the idea that what they’ve known up until now had all been a lie — I would have been more interested. Also, the ending, meh.

KATIE
Yeah, what was up with that ending? It seemed like it was just added there as an afterthought, like, “oh, right we forgot that Selene is supposed to do that whole profound voice over thing at the end, isn’t she?” and then cobbled together something vague and ominous about the future.

The first movie, undoubtedly, was the best of the lot. But I really thought the third one made up for a lame sequel. Maybe I’m biased because it gave me all the werewolf action I was looking for in the second movie. Plus, and I don’t know if this is the right forum for this, but I kind of like the romantic element of the story. I do love Selene kicking serious ass throughout and that she’s not the eye candy female follower like in so many of these genre films.

Aside from all that, another thing I didn’t care for was Alexander Corvinus. Come on, dude. How many hundred years does it take to grow a pair?

I don’t have kids and I’m not undead, so maybe I just don’t have the perspective on this, but I do have a dog who may or may not be like a fur-kid. If he went out on a rabid rampage (as much as a 15 pound dachshund can) and wound up killing a whole bunch of innocent…I dunno…squirrels would I be more than just a little concerned about the welfare of others? Cleaning up the messes and hoping the neighbours don’t notice the lack of wildlife in the area? Would I not, in good conscience, have to consider the option to at least call The Dog Whisperer if not, you know, put him down?

Apparently, if you’re Alexander Corvinus, you just spend your funds covering it all up. You ground one kid for 500 years and let the other grow up to be one really mean SOB.

DEANNA
Heh. Apparently if you’re Alexander Corvinus, you are a really, really bad parent indeed.

Michael Sheen, who I think is one of my favourite actors because he’s just good in everything (even New Moon), was the only good part about the third movie. I appreciate your werewolf action but the love story and the backstory felt so leaden and forced that picture (Underworld 3). That’s what I liked about the first movie so much, the rivalry between the lycans and the vampires was based on so much history that there was a meaty weightiness to this conflict. Yet, when they explained it to death, and then bashed it on the head with giant battles involving fallen helicopters and giant slashing blades, the history was far less interesting to me.

I think the movie would have been far better if it were interspersed with how the three of the leaders came together. Marcus could not have been that bat-shit crazy for all of the hundreds of years. I mean, his brother had been locked up since lord knows how long — what did they do, just decide then to put Marcus to rest and think the whole thing would blow over? That’s what confused me. I had hoped that the second movie would have been more about the ramifications of two of their elders being dead — one being sliced through the head and one murdered by the lycans. All that seemed to be sort of glossed over to get to the giant father-son conflict.

That said, when Selene and Michael are still trying to figure things out and they go see Tanis — that section of the film was most excellent. Although “the using my super-long hybrid nails to open up the magical black paint cans that just happen to be lying around some old warehouse” just to save Selene from the sunlight from blasting through the windows was perhaps just a little on the cheeseball side of it all.

So, what would you give this movie out of 10?

KATIE
I think I actually tried to mentally blocked that whole scene where Michael clawed through the paint cans. I mean, quel fromage!

Like you, the father-son conflict was really secondary to what I wanted out of the movie. The first movie really set up the vampire vs. lycan conflict very well and I expected the second to deliver on that. Instead, we get this long drawn-out vengeance story without any real context and at the expense of addressing the deaths in the first movie. If we were at least given a bit more back story about what the brothers were like before the transformation we’d at least have some kind of emotional connection or sense of investment in the outcome of the fate of the brothers.

Even though I agree on your rating of the first movie, this one just didn’t do it for me. To me, Underworld: Evolution was a 6/10. And I think that’s being generous.

DEANNA
Seriously. Although I really enjoyed their love story, especially in the first movie. And damn if I don’t have a Totally Inappropriate Crush on Scott Speedman. Whew.

You know, I really don’t think vengeance stories work in films unless they are really, really good — like There Will Be Blood. You can’t just be in it because it’ll hit the action beats needed for a big budget film, there needs to be the emotional resonance underneath it. That kind of revenge for revenge’s sake feels way too spaghetti western for me; not that that’s bad, but, just like you, it’s not what I’m looking for.

Just because it’s Underworld, and my “go-to” kind of comfort flick, I’d go one point higher 7/10.

So…what’s next, New Moon? I’m guessing you already know how I feel. Heh.

KATIE
[sarcasm]Can’t wait for this next review[/sarcasm].

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