ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Underworld 2 Evolution (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Len Wiseman

Starring:
Kate Beckinsale/Selene
Scott Speedman/Michael
Tony Curran/Marcus
PLOT-CRUNCH
Underworld Evolution continued where the original film left off with spandex madness Selena (Beckingsale) and beefcake hybrid Michael (Speedman) now on the lam from the vengeful vampire clan. Sooner then later a new blood thirsty bad ass nemesis rises from the grave with a quest of his own to fulfill. Lots ra-ta-tat and red splats follow.
THE LOWDOWN

Tanis: You don't scare me, Selene.
Selene: Well, we'll have to work on that, won't we?

Having boogied hard to the original Underworld, I was curious to see what Mr. Len “I snatched Kate Beckingsale away from one of my actors who happened to be her husband” Wiseman would do with this follow-up. It took me a while to get to it but now that Evolution and I have tangoed in a cage match with no slippers on (WTF am I talking about?), I got to say that I’m a content bastard.

Did Wiseman sit through a hefty serving of James Cameron flicks before tackling his sequel? Sure felt like he did and that’s a damn good thing! Where Underworld was yap-yap heavy (Although I dug the story...so it was "good" yap-yap) with casual action tossed in, Part Deux was in no mood to muck around and went its own way full steam ahead. It set up its basic narrative line and then basically sprung off it to become a chase driven, action filled and plasma soaked ride that reminded me of Terminator 2 in terms of nature and stamina. This sucka just wouldn’t stop bombarding me with every single “fun grenade” you can think of, eclipsing the original in terms of grin inducing bedlam in the process.

Rip roaring adventure with a potent mystery in its pocket and served up via a relentless pace? Got that Tonto! Amazing to decent visual effects and novel creature designs? In spades baby! The werewolf transformations owned in this one and the Marcus creature in particular was awe inspiring to gawk at, loved him! ! What about kool guns, well staged shootouts and kaboom/stunt heavy set pieces? We're treated with that stuff too Uncle Arrow? You bet your ass we are! Wiseman upped the ante on the gun fun in this follow-up and got much better at shooting action since the original! Wait till you see the "Truck VS Marcus" bit lads! WOW! What a scene! What about g-o-r-y? Could the film spell it like a big boy? Yessir-re-bob! The delicious high brutality quotient with no punches pulled and the grisly vamp bites (FINALLY! Didn't get those in the original!) were solid proof! Straight up, I felt like I was watching a bleakly shot and uber aggressive summer blockbuster that was released in the winter for some reason!

And it didn't end there, this sequel also bettered its humble forefather when it came to the execution of its love story. I finally believed the deep affection that Serene and Michael shared for each other and that often upped the stakes of the storyline. Shite, they even got to have a steamy Sara Connor/Kyle Reese (from The Terminator) like love scene on this run! Although somewhat left field, you still can’t go wrong with that shtuff! To make matters better, the love story’s “make” had Near Dark stamped all over it as well! Especially when it came to the symbiotic relationship Michael and Serena shared. All good, if you’re going to rip on films, rip on the best!  Tag to all that; a visually appealing snowy setting, a way gnarly showcase of Vamps & Werewolves in Medieval times, ample production values and a mano et mano finale that had me grinning like the Joker sucking on helium balloons in a marijuana field and you get a top notch horror/action injection that was worth the coin I put down.

On the “oops" side of the dog’s hairy ass, was it me or did the characters often get from Point A to B mucho fast! What a coincidence that everywhere our heroes had to go was in the same freaking neighborhood! The film’s worst sin though was actually pulling a pretty ballsy move in regards to one of the lead characters and then pussying out of it in a slap dash fashion later on. I didn’t mind so much that they retracted but was grated by the throwaway explanation they tossed out to justify the “come back”. Come on! Could’ve done better than that! Then there was the over abundance of flashbacks on display for such a thin storyline! If you don't have substance in your film, don't try to fake it out man ...it shows! And wasn't this storyline supposed to be about vampires vs. werewolves? I wouldn't know, since this continuation was mostly vamps vs. vamps...bugh! I wanted more werewolves! Lastly the hand to hand fights were shot/edited too tightly in places, resulting in me not seeing shite! When will they learn already?

All in all though, Underworld Evolution was a horror fanboy delicacy, double dipping on everything that makes a happy go groovy horror/action/adventure with talent and panache. Whatever flaws it had, they couldn't blemish the high entertainment factor of the film for me. I had a blast! Sign me up for Part 3! I’M THERE WITH GUNS LOADED!

GORE
Ahhh good old Rated R! We got all kinds of graphic goodies! I’m talking; beheadings, mucho nasty flesh wounds, grisly blood drinking, some varied impalings, a head wrecked into pieces, a head torn in two, some helicopter blades mess and much more! Harsh and red, just the way I like them!
ACTING
Kate Beckinsale (Selene) got to show off more range in this sequel and she nailed the bulk of her scenes with class and sexyness. Scott Speedman (Michael) did what he had to do just fine. With that said, he didn’t have much to do other than low-keying and taking off his shirt. GIVE THE GUY MORE TO TACKLE! Tony Curran (Marcus) was utterly convincing, intense and a hoot to watch as the new crazy driven foe.
T & A
We get a clean tit shot from some dame, Beckingsale’s spandex behind and a nude love scene that was staged to hide all the goodies. NOTE: Beckingsale’s flat belly (or her body double's) was a sight to behold. WOW! The ladies get shirtless dudes galore with Speedman showing off his pecs at every turn. Enjoy!
DIRECTING
Wiseman hit pay dirt again with this kinetic, bluish hued filled and slow motion abusing visual bonanza. Great eye candy (All about the man-wolves jumping through houses in slow motion to crash into horses...nice!) Now for the next one get an editor that goes beyond “close shots” for the more hand to hand fights sequences. I wanna see something!
SOUNDTRACK
Marco Beltrami (Who also did the score for T3) delivered a lean and mean sound that backed up the onscreen carnage adequately. We also get one industrial type ditty which I enjoyed.
BOTTOM LINE
Where the original Underworld had a strong story, moderately dosed action and a weak love angle, Underworld Evolution had a slimmer narrative, an endless array of groovy physical get-downs and an emotionally charged romance subplot. I dug both films at about the same level but for different reasons. Sure, Evolution’s script could’ve benefited from more meat, some polishing, less flashbacks and further emphasis on the werewolves while the action was occasionally to tightly edited. But with that foamed out, the "yeehaw" fix it gave me, fairly made up for those goofs by painting a blood red smile on my face. Underworld Evolution was a genre pizza with all of the requisite yummy toppings on top and for that alone, I relished chomping into it! Where's my third helping of Underworld? Bring it!
BULL'S EYE
The little girl that plays young Selene is in reality Kate Bekinsale's daughter; Lily Bo Sheen.

The film was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for 71-days for $50,000,000

VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNDERWORLD 2 SITE HERE

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