“Underworld: Evolution” is a true just-for-fans sequel. It has a simple plot, but it’s told so complicatedly that anyone without a working knowledge of the first film would be completely lost. And I can tell you with some authority that if you haven’t given the first film a moment’s thought since reviewing it 2 1/2 years ago, when you gave it a C- and dismissed it as dull and useless, the flashbacks and recaps in the sequel will provide little help.
We begin in 1202 A.D., where two brothers have met with equally unfortunate fates. Markus (Tony Curran) was bitten by a bat and is now a vampire; William (Brian Steele) was bitten by a wolf and is now a werewolf (or lycan, as they prefer to be called). Are the boys in this family just accident-prone, or are they reckless and stupid? Is this a bloodline that should probably be cut off now, before they breed?
Anyway, William the wolf is out of control, as indicated by this line of dialogue, spoken upon discovering a village that has been massacred by him: “Yet again we arrive to witness this monster’s aftermath,” with “aftermath” pronounced “offtermath.” Markus is a vampire, sure; yeah, he survives by drinking the blood of humans. But his brother is a total psycho about it. Just look at this offtermath!
William gets captured and locked away somewhere, and now it’s modern times again. Markus, 800 years older but still spry, is seeking certain keys and amulets and pendants that he believes will help him free William from his prison. Meanwhile, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a good vampire, is trying to protect her boyfriend Michael (Scott Speedman), a human who in the first film was established as a hybrid — part lycan, part vamp.
“Underworld” (2003) C-
“Underworld: Evolution” (2006) C-
“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” (2009) C-
“Underworld: Awakening” (2012)
“Underworld: Blood Wars” (2017) C
Through it all, the war between vampires and werewolves continues, fought in the countrysides and villages of, what, Romania? Someplace like that. Once again directed by Len Wiseman and written by him and Danny McBride, this “Underworld” film generally keeps the supernatural beings separate from the ordinary humans, making it less a horror film (where you’re supposed to be scared of monsters attacking people) than a fantasy film (where unreal creatures interact in a world all their own).
Some of the action is entertaining enough, I suppose, with numerous impalements, stabbings and beheadings splattering the screen with blood (which appears not red but black, as does almost everything in the film’s black-and-blue color palette). The movie isn’t funny or campy or terribly exciting or very interesting, but it’s not egregiously dimwitted or insulting, either. “Underworld” fans — and there are Internet message boards to prove such passionate individuals exist — will surely find it satisfying. The rest of us should look elsewhere for bloody tales of the supernatural.
C- (1 hr., 45 min.; )