Underworld was a pure action movie. With the rules set up by the first film, including a brief history and the changes to typical vampire/werewolf lore, Underworld Evolution can settle into summer-movie mode. Never does the film find itself in a dull moment.
That’s a definite problem for those looking for some more history to expand this franchise. Compared to the first film, Evolution focuses on a more personal battle. Armies of night creatures battling it out were exactly the aim for the first film. This sequel hits hard with tighter, easier-to-choreograph action, and with fewer people involved.
A big change is the lack of gunfire. Fight sequences are handled mostly in hand-to-hand combat. This adds an extra layer of brutality, especially since the director pushes the MPAA’s R-rating as far as it can go. This is a superbly violent movie from the opening credits. The film’s key villain suffers a death unlike any other we’ve seen, and the over-the-top action that precedes it only makes it more satisfying.
All of the fighting is visually striking in some way. Whether it’s a camera move, gore focus, or a brutal blow to the face of the werewolves, Underworld is pure style. There’s such a plethora of fighting, it’s a wonder why they even bothered to explain a story.
That’s Evolution’s biggest issue. For as fun and engaging as the action is, the reasons behind it are only briefly explained, and not in any real detail. This is an active Hollywood action movie, and to expect anything else is to set yourself up for disappointment.
Like its predecessor, Evolution is a showcase for Blu-ray. Black levels are incredible, though some will find some noticeable crush. The contrast created by the richness of the blacks is spectacular though. The disc is also notable for phenomenal sharpness. A faint layer of grain is visible and intact with no alteration.
With less gunfire than the previous film, the disc makes the most out of its audio. There is still active surround use, and the finale makes for one of the best demonstration pieces you can find. Other scenes offer decent if unspectacular surround use, such as those in which the rain is front loaded rather than immersive. Bass is still heavy, whether from the soundtrack or action.
Extras are minimal and lifted directly from the SD DVD. A commentary track is informative and fun, discussing most of the special-effects scenes and details. Six featurettes, sitting in the 13-minute range on average, discuss various portions of the production. Two of them discuss the special effects and their focus on traditional effects like men in suits. The latter is especially informative and detailed. Things round off with a music video.