Tuesday, June 13, 2006

UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION

I vaguely recall kinda liking the first UNDERWORLD flick a couple years ago (although that was probably just because I liked looking at the fetching Kate Beckinsale in that skintight black rubber suit), so I was pleased when Sony's UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION (2005) showed up in my mailbox. (More Kate!) As it turned out, while no classic, I found director Len Wiseman's sequel to be a fairly entertaining flick.

The protagonists of the first film, sexy Deathdealer (vampire) Selene (Kate Beckinsale, VAN HELSING) and Lycan (werewolf) hybrid Michael (Scott Speedman, FELICITY) are embroiled in a quest by the world's first vampire, a bat-winged badass named Marcus (Tony Curran, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX) to revive and release his twin brother William, the world's first werewolf.

Beautifully shot and designed, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION drops much of the pseudo-political, pseudo-religious underpinnings of the original film in favor of a straightforward monster mash. Personally, I approve. Beckinsale looks great in black latex and the monsters are extremely well designed. In fact, werewolf William is by far the coolest looking CGI werewolf I've seen in a film.

Sony's DVD is a nice package, with a sterling 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a window-rattling Dolby 5.1 surround mix. They've also included a slew of informative featurettes, covering everything from the film's stunt work and visual effects to sound design. Director Len Wiseman contributes a lively commentary, and there's a music video by the band Atreyu (wasn't that the kid in THE NEVER-ENDING STORY?).

For fans of the original film, Kate Beckinsale's ass, or monster movies, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION is a good bet for a weekend rental. I liked it.

BUY: Underworld - Evolution (Widescreen Special Edition)