Underworld: Evolution

2006

Underworld: Evolution

Critics Consensus

A visual and aural assault on the senses, this vampire-werewolf sequel makes a lot of noise and features a heavy-handed, overly convoluted story.

17%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 103

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 567,145
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Underworld: Evolution Photos

Movie Info

Tribes of vampires and werewolves battle for supremacy among the undead in this follow-up to the horror hit Underworld. Tracing the bloody history of the ongoing war between the Death Dealers, a gang of upper-crust vampires, and the Lycans, a pack of scruffy werewolves, Underworld: Evolution finds beautiful Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and hunky Lycan Michael (Scott Speedman) exploring their own pasts as well as those of their comrades in hope of uncovering the secrets of this centuries-old conflict. As Selene and Michael deal with their bloody legacy as well as their forbidden romance, the violence between the Death Dealers and the Lycans escalates in what may be the final face-off between them. Directed by Len Wiseman, who also helmed the first film, Underworld: Evolution also stars Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Tony Curran, and Derek Jacobi. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Derek Jacobi
as Corvinus
Bill Nighy
as Viktor
Brian Steele
as William
John Mann
as Samuel
Christine Danielle
as Tanis Vamp No. 1
Kaja Gjesdal
as Tanis Vamp No. 2
Attila Lovaghy
as Tavern Cop No. 1
Alexander Grant
as Tavern Cop No. 2
Monica Hamburg
as Newscaster
Lily Mo Sheen
as Young Selene
Andrew Kavadas
as Selene's Father
Kayla Levins
as Selene's Sister
Raoul Ganeev
as Truck Driver
Dany Papineau
as Death Dealer No. 1
Sean Rogerson
as Death Dealer No. 2
Julius Chapple
as French Cleaner Aide
Kurt Carley
as Hero Black Wolf No. 1
Christopher R. Sumpton
as Hero Black Wolf No. 2
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Critic Reviews for Underworld: Evolution

All Critics (103) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (85)

  • Underworld films are a highly specialized taste, and those who've acquired it know who they are. Everyone else should give this one a wide berth.

    Nov 27, 2006 | Rating: C-

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The plot is so convoluted that missing even five minutes at a stretch won't make any difference in your comprehension of the story.

    Oct 7, 2006
  • The digital critters look much better than in the first film, it's fun seeing Derek Jacobi and Bill Nighy vamp it up, and the sight of Kate in that suit makes it worth squinting through all the murk.

    Jul 1, 2006 | Full Review…
  • I can't even begin to divulge the storyline because it's mostly unfathomable.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The murkily atmospheric sets resemble the ruins and prisons of Piranesi.

    Feb 11, 2006 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • So dedicated to its ludicrously convoluted plot that it takes half an hour to explain what the hell is going on.

    Feb 11, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Paul Arendt

    BBC.com
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Underworld: Evolution

  • Jan 04, 2017
    Looking at Underworld Evolution as a mindless action adventure, it's not all that bad. It doesn't take itself too seriously, there are some well-directed action sequences, and the characters are far more realized than they were the first time around. Let's just be honest, the first Underworld is garbage. There's no two ways about it. The dialogue is horrible, the performances are over the top, and the visual effects are dated. But with the three years in between the first and the second, something must have clicked within the writer's room. Evolution is about 30 minutes shorter and much less convoluted than the first entry. When there are exposition-heavy scenes, they add to the story, instead of making things more confusing. I've already spent a couple hours with Selene & company, so I was prepared with the lore and character history. Plus, wasn't it nice getting Kraven out of the way early on in the film? Horrible character. Len Wiseman isn't the most talented director in Hollywood, or the smartest (considering he wants to make a Die Hard prequel), but I think he knows what people want out of these movies. Kate Beckinsale and some cool vampire-werewolf action are the primary reason these movies make money. While the main villains are set up nicely through flashbacks in the opening scene, they end up having little differences to Bill Nighy's first film villain. Part of the appeal of this particular Underworld entry is that it's in many ways, a fantasy-horror-western. Sure, it doesn't take place in the wild west, but the way the story is set up is very much similar to that of typical westerns. Selene and Michael spend the entire film on the run and in search of a mystical artifact linked to the past of their species. At the same time, this film suffers from the same problems as most vampire flicks do, the untouchable nature of vampires contributes to a less visceral experience if you know they will ultimately survive whenever they die. In all, it's hard to think I would ever watch this film again, but it's entertaining enough for me to give it a positive review. +Solid action +Characters are more realized +Western -Villains are weak -So.. are they untouchable? 6.0/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jan 08, 2013
    Lycanthropic vampires, now that's... different, and that is more than you can say about the predecessor's plot, so I guess this film improves upon its mediocre predecessor at least in one way, or at least that's what others are saying, because, as messy as this film is, at least it's better than its predecessor. Seriously though, this godless hybrid in question sounds like it could pack a punch and stand it's ground, so I guess Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory applies to mythological monsters, as well. Granted, this new breed of mythologcial monster is now vulnerable to everything that can do damage to its parent species, such as garlic, wolfsbane, holy water, silver, a stake, sunlight and, of course, rolled up newspaper, so it's not like it's chances for survival have necessarily skyrocketed. Man, now that I think about it, there are a lot of ways to kill so-called "immortal" monsters, though it would appear as though there's no killing this franchise, because this thing got even worse reviews than its predecessor, and we're on, like, the eighth installment after this film by now. Shoot, I say that like critical reception matters, because when you get down to it, as upsetting as it is to hear, it's about money, something that these films get plenty of, seeing as how dumb people are. Hey, the people like pretty stuff, and these films have about as much of that as they do money, yet, in the immortal words of Phil Collins, "it's just a shame that's all". Well, at least this film embraces that fact, which is why it's actually pretty decent, though only as entertaining fluff, because as far as substance is concerned, things aren't exactly too well-cleaned up. The film doesn't necessarily open strong, yet it does open reasonably well, with tighness and intrigue that I wasn't exactly expecting to be followed by a rewardingly compelling piece, but still raised some degree of hope that certainly doesn't go as unfulfilled as the moderate degree of hope I held for the original "Underworld", but still goes undercut, partially by the very thing that strangely helps this film in acceling past its predecessor: story thinness. At just over 100 minutes, this film is certainly tighter than its borderline bore of a predecessor, with a less overblown plot, and is all the better for its having less potential to betray, and yet, the fact of the matter is that this story is with only so much in the way of meat, thinned out further by the story concept's being bloated with, if nothing else, conventionalism, which is broken up by slightly unique spots, but generally prevalent enough to present much potential for trope that is, of course, explored thoroughly by writer Danny McBride, who establishes many a borderline trite set piece, as well as even the occasional cheesy spell to make things even more awkward. Of course, if McBride delivers on nothing else that stresses this film's substance thinness, then it is an unevenly paced story structure, which will often heavy-handedly thrust plotting along with little exposition, only to make sudden shifts into, not necessarily balancing looseness, but blandly bloated spots. Of course, it's not like this film's story is overblown soley as far as structural execution is concerned, because even in layout, with all of its rather needed thinness, McBride's and Len Wiseman's story concept gets to be a bit convoluted in its perhaps too complex plot intricacies, which aren't rich, but just rather awkwardly prominent enough to present potential for depth that doesn't do too much more than serve as an emphasis on how director Len Wiseman doesn't entirely have the storytelling skill to handle depth. Wiseman is definately a stylish director, and his placing lively style more over sloppy substance with this film proves to be a - in advanced, pardon the pun - "wise" decision, yet Wisman still gets to be too big for his britches, occasionally overambitiously breaking up style with blandly flawed attempts at substance that don't quite make Wiseman's performance an, on the whole, bad one, but gives us a glimpse at what drove "Underworld" into mediocrity. Sure, this film doesn't have quite as much potential to squander, or at least not as much pretense to betray, as its predecessor, yet there are overblown occasions to break up quite a few of the other storytelling faults that went into dropping the original into mediocrity. Of course, for every one of the fatal faults found in the predecessor, this film delivers on compensation at a rate that may not exactly obscure the final product's being just so messy, but is high enough to make this film a surprisingly decent one, or at least a commendable stylistic piece. The original "Underworld" was all but saved a likable by the stylistic sharpness that goes into ultimately saving this film as likable, facing both less undercutting storytelling hiccups, as well as some improved areas, one of which is, well, not the cinematography department, as Simon Duggan does little to improve upon Tony Pierce-Roberts' photographic efforts, which is just fine with me, as it means that Duggan delivers on what Pierce-Robert delivered on: handsomely gritty visuals with a bleak darkness to lighting that both neatly accentuates certain attractive colors and compliments this film's Gothic atmosphere. Like it's predecessor, this film certainly looks good, though technical competence hardly ends there, as Nicolas De Toth delivers on clever editing that, alongside Scott Martin Gershin's and Peter Zinda's fine sound design, immerse you in the style of this world, which goes further sold by visual effects that have dated a touch, but are probably even sharper than those of this film's predecessor, being more dynamic, prominent and stylish. These stylistic and technical touches hit throughout this film, helping in providing the livliness that makes the final product consistently decent, yet are perhaps at their sharpest when accompanying action, whose being an improvement upon the predecessor's action is debatable, though not quite as much as the declaration that the action aspects of this film are even more prominent, and that they make their being called more to, well, "action" count with colorfully brutal concepts that go slickly staged, with dynamic choreography and sharp compliments, not just from the aforementioned technical sharpness, but even more intense gore, which sometimes gets to be a bit too disturbing, yet generally livens up a sense of tense consequence (Ha-ha, it's triple rhyme, or rather, trhyme) by delivering on much thrilling "Ouch" factor to go along with "Wow" factor. In more than a few areas, this film's steps up an already pretty high standard of style and technicality, and when it doesn't outdo the technical proficiency of this film's predecessor, it's just as proficienct, thus establishing components to the visceral livliness that was lacking in the predecessor, but saves this film as generally enjoyable by being even more prominent. As I said, this film's story is nothing short of a mess, even in concept, being thin and rich with genericism, with a script execution that is itself rich with tropes and structural unevenness, with sprinkles of corniness, so it's not like this film's plot is an improvement upon that of its predecessor, being actually less promising than the story concept of the predecessor, which is, of course, offputting, but actually reasonably good, because where the original "Underworld" has quite a bit too lose when it came to substance, this film's thinner plot is more manageable, being handled with just enough meatiness to provide the livliness that was fatally limited in the predecessor and is complimented in this film by a lead duo of Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman that may be lacking a bit in chemistry, but delivers quite a bit on charisma within each of our individual leads. Now, the original "Underworld" hardly held the potential for compellingness, yet it held pretense that is, in this film, generally replaced by livliness whose ultimately saving the film from mediocrity rides on the directorial performance of Len Wiseman, who is messy as a storyteller, though not really worse than he was when he ruined "Underworld", thus presenting him the opportunity to either make this film or leave it broken. Well, sure enough, while it has its bland spells, Wiseman's direction, on the whole, keeps lively enough to dismiss much of the distance found in the predecessor and emphasize this film's other strength enough to give this film a push into, if nothing else, consistent entertainment, even if it is almost just as consistent in messiness. Bottom line, the film faces a thin story concept, rich with genericisms that go emphasized by Danny McBride's often trope-heavy and sometimes cornball script, which also goes tainted by unevenly paced structuring and moments of overblown plotting that emphasizes the overambition within Len Wiseman's direction, whose blandness runs the risk of driving this film into the mediocrity that claimed its predecessor, but doesn't quite make the cut, going battled back just enough by the sharp visual style, fine technicality, thrilling action sequences and vivacious story concept - brought to life by charismatic leads and lively direction - that make "Underworld: Awakening" an entertaining popcorn piece that entertains more than its sloppy predecessor, even if it itself is also very messy. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2012
    "Underworld: Evolution" is just another generic sequel. It picks up right where "Underworld" ends, with Marcus(Tony Curran) awakening. Marcus then begins to hunt Selene(Kate Beckinsale) and her Lycon/Vampire hybrid lover Michael(Scott Speedman). There is some vampire vs werewolf action, but this is more of a vampire vs vampire movie. More action and gore(some actually very good gore scenes), and less story. There is some secrets revealed about their pasts, and the death of a couple key characters, but overall not an improvement over the first one. Sequels are rarely better, so it's not a big surprise that it comes up short. Still worth a watch if your a fan of the first one or horror movies, just keep expectations in check.
    Everett J Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2012
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img] Underworld: Evolution in my opinion is the best entry to the hugely succesful vampire vs lycan series. This first sequel has more of a plot than the original and the loud, fast paced, thrilling action sequences are still there to entertain. I was worried that Evolution was just going to be the first film done all over again but there's a good result of improvement in terms of plot, characterisation and even action sequences. Anyway, you still gotta love Kate Beckinsale in the most suited role she's ever played. This is a decent blockbuster that's faithful to the genre it's aiming to belong to.
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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