|Actors:||Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly, Michael Sheen|
For centuries, two races have evolved. Hidden deeply within human culture – the aristocratic, sophisticated Vampires and the brutal, feral Lycans (werewolves). To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth. But to each other, they are the lifelong mortal rivals, sworn to wage a secret war until only one race is left standing. In the midst of this ongoing struggle, a Vampire warrior, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), discovers a Lycan plot, a secret that has terrifying repercussions for both tribes – a plot to awaken a new invincible species of predator that combines the strengths of both creatures and the weaknesses of neither.
Underworld is a hybrid thriller that rewrites the rulebook on werewolves and vampires–imagine Blade meets The Crow and The Matrix. It’s a “cuisinart” movie (blend a lot of familiar ideas and hope something interesting happens) in which immortal vampire “death dealers” wage an ancient war against “Lycans” (werewolves), who’ve got centuries of revenge–and some rather ambitious genetic experiments–on their lycanthropic agenda. Given his preoccupation with gloomy architecture (mostly filmed in Budapest, Hungary), frenetic mayhem and Gothic costuming, it’s no surprise that first-time director Len Wiseman gained experience in TV commercials and the art departments of Godzilla, Men in Black and Independence Day. His work is all surface, no substance, filled with derivative, grand-scale action as conflicted vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale, who later became engaged to Wiseman) struggles to rescue an ill-fated human (Scott Speedman) from Lycan transformation. It’s great looking all the way, and a guaranteed treat for horror buffs, who will eagerly dissect its many strengths and weaknesses.