Director: Len Wiseman | 121 minutes | action, romance, fantasy, horror, thriller | Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Robbie Gee, Wentworth Miller, Kevin Grevioux, Zita Görög, Dennis J. Kozeluh, Scott McElroy, Todd Schneider, Sándor Bolla, Hank Amos, Zsuzsa Barsi, Richard Cetrone, Mike Mukatis, Sándor Boros, János Oláh, Andreas Patton, Danny McBride, Jazmín Damak, Attila Pinke, Judit Kuchta, Vanessa Nagy, Ildikó Kovács, Brian Steele, Kurt Carley
“What if we let vampires fight against werewolves with a lot of weapons and bullets, dressed in tight leather suits like in ‘The Matrix’ (1999), and also throw in a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ storyline? Then we have four birds with one stone! ”. At first glance, this sounds like a hopeless piece of thinking by uninspired Hollywood producers and maybe the idea for ‘Underworld’ really originated that way. It doesn’t matter anymore, however, as the final result is so charming that it becomes almost irresistible: ‘Underworld’ is a colorful mix of traditional vampires and werewolves horror with the leather and weapon fetish of ‘The Matrix’ and a wafer-thin love story. That at first suggests the worst, but the film is countless times more entertaining and entertaining than, for example, the two hopeless real ‘Matrix’ sequels (2003). The fast, hip mix of suspense, action and style is also brought with the rare speed of an intercity running on time, making ‘Underworld’ so good in atmosphere and packaging that the film is often more reminiscent of, for example, the well-received ‘ X-Men’-Films (2000) and (2003) than to the genre films to which it is actually indebted. From the start, the momentum is good and debuting director Len Wiseman knows how to hold on to it throughout the film. The film starts with a shooting in a metro station, quoted literally from the first Matrix film. So far nothing new, until suddenly one of the shooting parties turns into vampires and the other into werewolves.
After this first battle, vampire Selene is convinced that the werewolves were not extinct, as the vampires have believed for centuries. She wants to investigate, but since she is considered crazy by her fellow vampires, she is on her own. Then her paths cross with those of Michael, a young man chased by the werewolves, and an inevitable romance seems to develop between the vampire and the boy. This, of course, to the horror of Selene’s fellow vampires who already ignored her. However, this love affair between the two main characters is sloppily worked out – one moment they hardly seem to have anything to do with each other, then insinuations about falling in love are already being made by the vampires before the time comes.
But this shouldn’t spoil the fun, just as any other possible drawbacks; when holes threaten to appear in the script, they are immediately overwhelmed by another beautiful action scene or another exciting plot twist, which remain exactly within the limits of what is credible. So ‘Underworld’ is by no means the steal work it seems on paper, but rather a film that is full of admiration and enthusiasm for the genres on which it elaborates. The unknown cast is also no obstacle to viewing pleasure; at most it sometimes deduces that you recognize some faces but cannot place them for the simple reason that you have not seen this actor in such a big role before. For example, lead actress Kate Beckinsale is actually best known for her role as a nurse in Michael Bay’s cringe-worthy ‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001), and Bill Nighy, who here plays the vampire king Viktor, was seen in the Christmas 2003 comedy ‘Love Actually. ‘(2003) where he hilariously portrayed a Rod Stewart-esque rock singer who has had his day. Beckinsale is a convincing heroine who transcends herself in the heat of battle, and the rest of the cast means well too, even though there is little room for subtle acting performances in this swirling action film. at Christmas 2003 he can be seen in the comedy ‘Love Actually’ (2003) where he hilariously portrayed a Rod Stewart-like rock singer who has had his day. Beckinsale is a convincing heroine who transcends herself in the heat of battle, and the rest of the cast means well too, even though there is little room for subtle acting performances in this swirling action film. at Christmas 2003 he can be seen in the comedy ‘Love Actually’ (2003) where he hilariously portrayed a Rod Stewart-like rock singer who has had his day. Beckinsale is a convincing heroine who transcends herself in the heat of battle, and the rest of the cast means well too, even though there is little room for subtle acting performances in this swirling action film.
‘Underworld’ is not a masterpiece, but due to its stylish design it rises high above the middle bracket. The end result may look even better than what producers and director had in mind beforehand, and even though it was probably a budgetary choice to film on location in Eastern Europe, it definitely enhances the atmosphere of the film.
‘Underworld’ has everything it takes to lead a life of its own as a cult classic and the end of the film is crying out for a sequel, or maybe even a prequel. And that is exactly the same thing that many spectators will shout for after this film. Let’s hope it will.