True to its serial roots, this equally silly but undeniably entertaining sequel to UNDERWORLD (2003) picks up right where its high-grossing predecessor left off and offers more of the same: Buffy-style monster slaying crossed with MATRIX-inspired gun play, wire work and whooshing leather dusters. As the centuries-old war between the vampires and their former werewolf slaves, the Lycans, continues to rage, the blood-sucking death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), is now on the run from the vampires themselves. She is a marked immortal after uncovering the plot hatched by the vampire Kraven (Shane Brolly) to assume control of his coven through a secret alliance with the Lycans, and killing the powerful vampire elder, Viktor (Bill Nighy), when she discovered that it was he, not the Lycans who slaughtered her family 600 years ago. Selene's sole true ally is Michael (Scott Speedman), a powerful Lycan-vampire hybrid whose very existence is a threat to the future of both races. Selene's only hope is to awaken the hibernating vampire elder, Marcus (Tony Curran), the very first of his breed, and twin brother of the first Lycan, William (Brian Steele), an out-of-control beast who's been held prisoner in a secret location for centuries. Unbeknownst to Selene, however, Marcus is already awake, thanks to some blood that was carelessly spilled over his sarcophagus, and he's gone looking for Selene, not to help her but to drink her memory-enriched blood and thus discover a secret only she knows: the location of William's prison. Why? Probably for the same reason Marcus so desperately needs the amulet that Selene snatched from around Viktor's neck just after she sliced his head in two. For answers, Selene and Michael turn to the vampire Tanis (Steven Mackintosh), a disgraced historian who's been partying in exile in a moldy monastery for the past few hundred years with a pair of vampire lingerie models. Tanis, however, only knows so much: The rest can only be revealed by a certain Lorenz Marcaro (Sir Derek Jacobi), a recently arrived stranger who has a far deeper connection to both William and Marcus than Selene first realizes. The complicated backstory, episodic plotting and excessive action — no one simply enters a building when one can drive a truck through it — belie the series' debt to comic books. But the same ingredients that will make this sequel so much fun for fans of the first UNDERWORLD will also serve to shut out any newcomers: None of it will make a drop of sense to the uninitiated. Nevertheless, Selene makes a far more convincing action heroine than Lara Croft and Aeon Flux put together — there's something so liberating about this unruly daughter's rebellion against the corrupt vampire patriarchy — while that fairly explicit sex scene has no doubt planted the seeds for UNDERWORLD III.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: R
- Review: True to its serial roots, this equally silly but undeniably entertaining sequel to UNDERWORLD (2003) picks up right where its high-grossing predecessor left off and offers more of the same: Buffy-style monster slaying crossed with MATRIX-inspired gun play,… (more)