Evolution is Kate Beckinsale’s second outing in the Underworld vampires vs werewolves franchise. This film picks up immediately following the events of the first movie and carries on in very much the same vein. Confusingly however, the first 10 minutes or so is backstory from hundreds of years ago which slightly ruins the flow from one film to the next. We find out a lot more history to the characters and their individual vendettas but this is somewhat laboured and often feels like back story for its own sake rather than because it adds to the story.
Aside from the obvious efforts to build a mythos to set it apart from all the other vampire and werewolf stories and to build in additional franchise options for future movies, the rest of the film carries on much like the first. There is an evil vampire who needs to be stopped before he unleashes ruin on the world. Kate’s Selene and her now boyfriend Michael are the only hope to stop the evil ancient vampire before all is lost.
Cue lots of matrix style fight scenes with supernatural speed and strength, lots of guns and blood and too tight outfits. The fighting is well choreographed and action scenes are well filmed and it sounds dramatic and exciting too. Nothing much really happens though. Our main characters go on a trek across Europe, looking for clues, fighting enemies, finding and losing allies and eventually end up in the obligatory boss fight.
Having Derek Jacobi as the father of all immortals is, like having Bill Nighy as an ancient vampire in the first film, an inspired casting decision. But he gets far too little screen time in my opinion. At least he doesn’t spend most of the time in prosthetics like Bill does. Bill is also back in this outing in the flashbacks where he gets to be evil to his hearts content.
Like many films of this type it is fun and diverting for a couple of hours. If you like big explosions and gun wielding vampire women turning somersaults while shooting at werewolves then this will keep you engrossed or at least amusingly diverted. Essentially the same film as the first one but more polished and professional. You can tell that the main actors and crew are more at home in this genre now and everything feels smoother. A good choice to waste a rainy Sunday afternoon.