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2003 action/horror film about a secret war between vampires and werewolves.

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Surprisingly dull and unoriginal

  • Dec 3, 2009
  • by
Underworld is a film that continues to water down vampires as most of us know them. This process began with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, but these stories still retained the horrific true nature of vampires even with a more relatable, human face. Now we come to this day where between Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I did enjoy) and Twilight (hate with burning passion) we have films in the middle of this watered down vampire genre that many have grown used to. There's the good humanized vampires (Anne Rice), the bad (Twilight), and then there's the ones that just fall right dab in the middle and that would be where I'd place Underworld.

The movie itself starts off with our heroine Selene doing her best to try and look like The Crow or an extra from The Matrix while she gives us a monologue on how the vampires and werewolves (which for some reason this movie has titled "Lycans"). She explains that she's a "Death Dealer" meaning that she hunts down the remaining Lycans. Instantly we have her and another guy (we'll guess that in their exchange of head nodding he's also a Death Dealer) jumping down from the top of buildings and landing without harm on the concrete below...how convenient it is that no one saw them.

We then somehow get this character of Michael Corvin involved as some...truly boring individual. So when the vampires discover the Lycans have been following him so they soon send Selene to investigate it. Selene and Corvin of course end up being together and escape the Lycans. Does this mean we finally get a Vampire+Human buddy action film? Of course not! As awesome as that could have been Corvin has been bitten by a Lycan and monster 101 dictates he shall soon become one. Now we realize the true plot intent of this movie is to be some strange, leather clad Romeo & Juliet.

The rest of the plot...quite frankly bored me to tears. Nothing in this movie ever paused itself to try and make sense! They kept twisting subjects around and around, showed weird aspects of vampire society that may seem cool to eyes but they never really got any elaboration other than "here's this cool thing, now let's try for something completely different." It just wasn't a coherent storyline.

Vampirism just isn't shown well in this movie. Remember the days of Dracula, or even the adaptation of Interview with the Vampire some years back? That should remind you vampires, and their bite are more sexual than anything else. In Underworld there is zero sensuality in this act and it pretty much is only shown for the blood.

Kate Beckinsale is really attractive, but looks just can't save this film. There is no chemistry between the leads and most of the cast seems bored. No one really gets my attention in this film because they are all so very bland. When the plot gets chugging along it has far too many characters to keep track of and when we finally discover the true villain of the film we are greeted to the most anti-climactic final confrontation I have seen in recent cinema.

Now I will grant it the film does have some really good sets that obviously had quality work put into them, but that can't save the fact that the plot is a mess and the characters are unremarkable. The director is essentially trying to knock-off Blade, The Matrix, and The Crow off all while in the same movie and it clearly shows in his awkward style as he tries desperately to replicate techniques that worked well in previous films of the genre. So if you want a somewhat fun action movie this show is for you, but don't be expecting anything new, or for that matter even anything all that entertaining.

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More Underworld reviews
review by . November 26, 2008
I knew before even going into this movie that it would not be "pure" vampire type film. Still, to be disappointed on top of that was a big letdown. I love monsters. I love vampires. I love werewolves. I would have accepted this movie a bit more if they had left out the references to these classic fiends and created a whole different type of demonic bad guy that *should* use guns. Insistance on using these two familiar and well loved creatures of the night was nothing more than a hook to draw in …
review by . January 30, 2007
Werewolves and vampires, two staples of the horror genre, are mixed together in this action - drama set in some European country where it is always night and raining. The protagonist is Selene, a gorgeous and very athletic female vampire who is a Death Dealer; someone who kills Lycans. Lycans are werewolves, and the two races are immortal enemies. The story centers around her relationship with a man who happens to be an original descendant of the man who gave rise to both vampires and werewolves. …
review by . October 21, 2004
Wiseman very capably directed this film, based on a good script with some intriguing twists on the legends of vampires and werewolves. First of all, this is a great DVD from a picture and surround sound viewpoint, allowing you to enjoy the great special effects, stunts, and delightfully gloom sets. Seeing the Widescreen really made it more impressive than a first viewing on satellite TV. Some of the stunts (and costumes) will remind you of the Matrix.  The plot moves quickly and tells …
review by . September 01, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"Underworld" is fun to watch, but it's really nothing more than an average sci-fi/action flick. One thing is for sure, this movie is in no way a horror film. Take any standard action yarn, replace the good guys with vampires and the bad guys with werewolves. Next, throw in a twist that bonds one of the goodies and baddies together. Finally, blend in a betrayal and a cover-up and you basically have the storyline. There's nothing new here.    The two supernatural enemies really …
review by . April 24, 2004
There's barely an original moment in Underworld, and sadly those parts that are derived from elsewhere in motion picture history (that is, all of it), are derived without wit or feeling for their antecedents or the genre. I have a feeling this film would never have been made were it not for the Matrix. It basically is the Matrix, only with werewolves and vamps, and a blue wash over all the cinematography rather than a green one. So we have a hard-arsed chick in a tight patent-leather cat suit toting …
review by . April 20, 2004
This is a film that certainly should stand as an example of "style over substance." All the actors (except Scott Speedman)run around obviously feeling very cool and stylish in their dark costumes, but they forget to invest any real feeling into their performances.But that isn't entirely their fault. The idea of a whole separate "underworld" co-existing with ours, wherein vampires and lycans battle each other is pretty neat, but it's hard to imagine a movie doing LESS with the concept. And Kate Beckinsale …
review by . January 19, 2004
UNDERWORLD is being horridly underrated. Those who were looking for "Romeo and Juliet" are furious. I myself found the film to be better than I expected. UNDERWORLD is an extraodinary BLADE-esque horror/thriller with similarities to both BLADE and THE MATRIX. Kate Beckinsale plays Selene, a vampire "Death Dealer". Her job is to eleminate any and all Lycans (werewolves), who have been at war with the vampires for a millenia. But her determination wavers when she meets a newly-made Lycan (Scott Speedman) …
review by . September 18, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Some nice Effects a fresh Idea.     Cons: Action is ho-hum and you never do care for the characters.     The Bottom Line: For Diehards only otherwise catch a cheap show or wait for the video.        Perched on a ledge high above a dark, rain soaked city, a woman and her companion watch and wait. For Selene (Kate Beckinsale), this is a night like many others where she will seek out Lycans (werewolves), and eliminate them …
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About this movie


Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly
Directed by Len Wiseman
Writers:  Len Wiseman, Kevin Grevioux

Product Description
Underneath the city streets, amid the labyrinth of subway tunnels and gothic ruins, the two most notorious creatures of the night are embroiled in an all-out war that has been going on for centuries. It is the culmination of a blood-thirsty battle between the vampires and their mortal enemies, the werewolves. Stars: Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor, My Life Without Me), Scott Speedman (My Life Without Me, TV's "Felicity").
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Director: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: September 19, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Danny R. McBride
Runtime: 121 minutes
Studio: Lakeshore Entertainment, Subterranean Productions LLC, Sony Pictures
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