BluRay/DVD Reviews

UNDERWORLD

By • Jan 6th, 2004 •

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This movie has had some bad press, so, as you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying it and actually wondering what was going to happen next.

Underworld, as a little too lengthy a prologue tells us, is set in a world where humans unknowingly share the planet with two other warring species – the Vampires and the Lycans (Werewolves). The war has lasted for centuries and the Vampires are winning – or so they think. The Lycans have got a few little genetically modified tricks up their furry sleeves and some moles in the Vampire camp (now it’s not often you can string that kind of a sentence), and when a romance starts to develop between a Vampire and a prospective Lycan, all the old wounds are opened – and eagerly chewed at. Sorry.

The plot is reasonably, but not too, complicated and has a few nice twists. The imagery is suitably dark and Crow-like (Brandon, not Russell) and being mostly filmed in Budapest the architecture is decidedly Anton Furst/Gotham City Gothic.

The action too is derivative of many other films: there’s plenty of John Woo double-fisted gunfire; Lots of Matrix leaping around in long coats and tight leather; American Werewolf transformation scenes (sometimes a little jerky), and a fair share of Blade-style bloodletting.

And this is why I think it got the negative reviews it did. It is shamelessly derivative. Fortunately though the story and some good performances make up for this, and it’s hard to see how else they could have told such a story without these style graphics, and after all, if something is proven to work well, then use it, and I think audiences have now come to expect it.

Also enjoyable to watch is the usually light comedy actor Bill Nighy (Love Actually) who obviously felt it was time to (literally) get his teeth into something a bit meatier, as he revels in the role of the Vampire Lord Viktor.

The 2-disc set provides enough special features to satisfy even the hungriest of technophobes, plus a music video by the band Finch which features scenes from the film.
Target audiences and horror fans will love it, though there will be uproar when they see Vampires casting reflections in mirrors. But Kate does look good in that leather. Move over Trinity…


Special Features:
Director And Writer Commentary
Technical Commentary
The Making Of Underworld
Creature Effects
Stunts
Sights And Sounds
Storyboard Comparison
Music Video: Finch’s Worms Of The Earth
Trailers
TV Spots
(Details apply to the Region 2, 2 disc DVD set)


Cast:
SELENE – Kate Beckinsale
MICHAEL – Scott Speedman
VIKTOR – Bill Nighy
LUCIAN – Michael Sheen
KRAVEN – Shane Brolly
SINGE – Erwin Leder
KAHN – Robbie Gee
ERIKA – Sophia Myles
Story By: Kevin Grevioux, Danny McBride and Len Wiseman

Credits:
Screenplay: Danny McBride
Producers: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi and Richard S. Wright
Director: Len Wiseman

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