Does the sight of Kate Beckinsale in a tight PVC costume killing werewolves have you craving more? Then rejoice: she’s back. And for everyone who wished that the first Underworld had been less cheesy and Matrix-alike, Evolution proves to be a step ahead.
This time around, co-writer/director Len Wiseman has chosen to make his heroine a little more emotional, while at the same time ramping up the action – and the violence, which means an 18 rating – thanks to the introduction of Marcus (Tony Curran), the original vampire. As he hunts down Selene and her vamp/wolf hybrid lover Michael (Scott Speedman), Marcus’s Terminator-like ferocity turns the Underworld follow-up into a much more satisfying experience.
The effects have improved across the board, including a much niftier use of CG for flashbacks and the ‘blood memories’ that Marcus views by putting the bite on his victims. Even the wolves have been given a polish, with better compu-creatures and tweaked animatronics for close-ups.
The extras spill all the usual detail about how the film was brought to life – from Wiseman talking up the script (still, sadly, the franchise’s weakest aspect) while creature design expert Patrick Tatopoulos is on hand to enthuse about how they crafted Marcus as a blend of practical suit and CGI. Stunts and production design get their moment in the sun, and there’s a chatty commentary featuring Wiseman, Tatopoulos and some of their fellow filmmakers honestly discussing the day-to-day challenges of making the movie.