Cinema Savvy

Underworld Movie

Underworld Poster

Oblivious to the human eye, two races have lived and struggled for centuries. These are the Vampires, portrayed as aristocratic and sophisticated, contrasted to the brutal, feral Lycans (werewolves). To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth. But to each other, they are lifelong mortal rivals, sworn to wage a secret war until only one race is left standing. A Vampire warrior, Selene, during the ongoing struggle, discovers a Lycan plot to kidnap a young human doctor. After shadowing Michael through the city, she forms an unprecedented bond with him. When the Lycans make their next move, Selene is there to defend him from vicious assault. As she races to save Michael and unravel the Lycan intrigue surrounding him, Selene discovers a secret that has terrifying repercussions for both tribes. A plan is in the making to awaken a new invincible species of predator that combines the strengths of both creatures and the weaknesses of neither. This threatens to tip the balance of power in favor of the werewolves, who have been on the losing end of the struggle for since the beginning.


This movie had great potential. The premise of vampire versus werewolf war was greatly intriguing, with a captivating cool factor, and the lovely Kate Beckinsale as the lead was enticing. However, somewhere in the execution, it all fell through.

The movie began in shades of blue (and continued throughout), to provide that eternal darkness feel, which was appropriate for this kind of movie. But right from the beginning, the action scenes proved unsatisfying. A large part of this had to due with the fact that these two legendary myths were using guns to fight (each modified to kill the other, silver bullets for the werewolves, and UV filled bullets - sunlight - for the vampires). This reduced the fight scenes to any ordinary shoot 'em out action flick, unbefitting the possible uniqueness of the film. As a filmgoeer, what I really wanted to see was these two powerful, immortal creatures having at it with inhumanly strong hits and reactions. And even when this finally did occur, as in the final scene, it felt underplayed and weak, even comical.

'The Matrix' influence agains rears it's head in this movie, with leather clad protagonists and high flying feats. Fortunately, 'bullet-time' was not used, which has become overused as of late. However, the movie used a recoginzable piece of music score from the Matrix, over and over again. This odd choice unavoidably brought up comparisons to the movie, which perhaps was the intention, to create a subliminal cool factor? Also worth mentioning is the created social casts of the movie, placing vampires as the wealthy aristocrats, and the werewolves as the downtrodden poor "working classs'. This humanized construct couldn't help but make me feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. Seeming to take away  somehow the dignity of the myths of each.

The special effects for the movie were adequate; they were not the limiting factor in this movie. That being said, the movie would've benfited greatly from better cg models of the werewolves.  The biggest problem was that these were suppose to be werewolves, yet they were almost completely hairless, which just felt wrong. I know that the budget was limited and creating realistic animated hair is a more complicated process, but it did detract some.

The limited special effects were forgivable, but what wasn't was the apparent miscast of several important characters and feeble acting which gave the whole movie a b-movie feel.  Several times the movie's awkard dialogue created unintentional laughter for the audience. The plot itself was thought out and fairly compelling, it was just in the execution of the movie that it fell apart; Most responsible was the awkard dialogue and uncompelling action scenes.  If you are a big fan of vampire or werewolf movies, i would still give it a watch, just keep you're expectations low.

See this movie if you're a fan of:

Vampire Movies (Blade Series, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, Lost Boys)

Werewolf Movies (An American Werewolf in Londan/Paris, Howling Series, Wolf)

The Matrix (1999)

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Box Office Info:

Kate Beckinsale (as Selene)
Scott Speedman (as Michael)
Shane Brolly (as Kraven)
Michael Sheen (as Lucian)
Bill Nighy (as Viktor)
Erwin Leder (as Singe)
Sophia Myles (as Erika)

Directed By: Len Wiseman
Written By: Kevin Grevioux & Len Wiseman
Produced By: Sony

Release Date (US): September 19, 2003

Length of Movie: 2h 01min

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence/gore and some language.

Budget: $23,000,000

Opening Weekend: $21,753,759

Underworld Soundtrack

Underworld Soundtrack

1. Awakening - The Damning Well featuring Wes Borland, Richard Patrick, Josh Freese, and Danny Lohner.
2. REV 22:20 - Puscifer featuring Maynard James Keenan, Danny Lohner
3. Throwing Punches - Page Hamilton
4. Rocket Collecting - Milla
5. Now I Know - Renholder
6. Bring Me The Disco King (Loner Mix) - David Bowie featuring Maynard James Keenan & John Frusciante
7. Optimissed - Skinny Puppy
8. Down In the Lab - Renholder
9. Judith (Renholder Mix) - A Perfect Circle
10. Suicide Note - Johnette Napolitano
11. Baby's First Coffin - Dillinger Escape Plan
12. Hover (Quiet Mix) - Trust Company
13. Falling Through The Sky - Renholder
14. Weak and Powerless (Tilling My Grave Mix) - A Perfect Circle
15. Worms of the Earth - Finch
16. From A Shell - Lisa Germano
17. Death Dealer's Descent - Renholder
18. On The Lash - The Icarus Line
19. All Of This Past - Sarah Bettens

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