UNDERWORLD (overworld, wombling free)

I was a huge fan of the original Underworld. It played with the myths of the undead to create a highly visual, enjoyable film, regarding the unseen world of vampires, and Werewolves. It managed to be compelling despite its obvious weaknesses and it made up for its inherent stupidity with terrific action pierces, heavily influenced by the Wachowski brothers. Excellent casting was a factor and the original put a nice twist to a usually abused genre.

So the sequel?

Vampires and werewolves are now officially at war, but we learn that all immortals stem from two brothers infected some millennia ago. (one by a bat and well …one by a wolf). The love story subplot from the first film now comes to light; our heroes have no safe place. Seline the Vampire heroine and her half breed lover are now the hunted, chased by the vampires, the Russian police (when did the hero’s get to Russia?), and a special opps team calmly headed by the seemingly knowing Derek Jacobi.

Then simplicity of the first film, (basic plot- wonderful effects – excellent cinematography) made it a sleeper hit, in a crowded release schedule. The reason the first film is so much better than this lackluster sequel, is the convoluted plot that requires the first film to be required viewing before you see this. There is a poor attempt at a one minute description, which tries to bring the viewer up to speed(man) but generally fails.

The stars are deliberately attractive, and the visuals are nice, but the words are delivered with the tenacity of a BBC newscaster from the 1950’s. If I had to pick a standout performance (regular readers know I do) I would say that Tony Curran manages to pull through the film with some respect intact, further enhancing his reputation as a steadfast British actor, plying his trade abroad.

True fans of the genre and the first in this series will love the superbly shot violence, enhanced by the gut wrenching amount of blood and entrails. (Whatever happened to the good old days of stakes, and melting bodies?) If the director had looked at the original material once more, he would have concentrated on the dialogue and we would have a sequel worthy of the name. It doesn’t deserve to do well, yet it probably will, which I'm sorry to say is a shame.

We asked the lord of the undead to comment......

His reply?

“Underworld Evolution you say – I got something to say about that. I've been plying my trade as the king of the undead, with the aid of wealth which was pillaged from the most noble blood lines of Eastern Europe. I first appeared in 1922 and I have a proud heritage to betroth to the right filmmaker

No lupine neck chewer sgonna’ steal my thunder. I’m the top of the food chain! No one, do you hear me (edited for offensive language) is going to stop the ultimate goal of me being leader of my own F””%in$ Darwinian designed, acceptable Autocracy.”


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