By Shawn McKenzie 09/21/2003
When was the last time vampires and werewolves were in a movie together? I think it was in 1987’s The Monster Squad. It was cool to see them back together again in Underworld.
For centuries, vampires and Lycans, a.k.a. werewolves, have been fighting each other, and it looks like the vampires have gained the upper hand. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a vampire known as a death dealer. Her job is to find Lycans and kill them. Both the vampires and the Lycans seem to defy the usual rules for these monsters. Garlic, holy water, and crosses don’t hurt the vampires. The Lycans aren’t ruled by the moonlight anymore and can change at will, a skill they have apparently developed lately. Both have developed special bullets to defeat the other. The vampires have developed a bullet that contains liquid silver, which seeps into a Lycan’s body to kill him. The Lycans have developed a bullet containing concentrated sunlight. Selene wonders why the Lycans have an interest in a human medical intern named Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman.) She believes that the great Lycan leader, Lucian (Michael Sheen), is still alive, and that the current vampire leader, Kraven (Shane Brolly), hadn’t actually killed him, as the legends attest. She thinks Lucian is behind the attempts to capture Michael, but no one believes her. Selene and Kraven don’t really get along, although Kraven wants Selene to be his vampire queen, which makes another vampire named Erika (Sophia Myles) jealous. Selene actually doesn’t seem to get along with any of the other vampires, except the vampire technical advisor Kahn (Robby Gee) and the former vampire leader Viktor (Bill Nighy.) Viktor had gone into a planned 200-year hibernation to regain his strength, but Selene has resurrected him a century too early in order to seek his guidance. He had been the one to sire her after he had saved her centuries ago from a Lycan attack that killed the rest of her family. Lucian is indeed alive, and he is interested in Michael because he contains the blood of a “carrier,” someone who can carry both vampire and Lycan blood. Lucian wants to create a crossbreed blood and inject it into himself, making himself the most powerful monster around. Selene goes to Michael’s apartment to find out why they want him, but Lucian comes in and bites Michael. Selene saves him, and he in turn saves her after she passes out and almost drowns. They start to fall in love, despite being from opposite monster worlds. Michael also starts having Lucian’s memories, which reveal the truth behind the vampire/Lycan war and the conspiracy to cover the truth up.
I know most people are saying that this movie looks too much like The Matrix meets Blade. Okay…it does, but I didn’t care. It was pretty freakin’ sweet! At least it didn’t do that bullet-cam thing. Anyway…for a movie that was two hours long, there was no filler. It had lots of action, a decent story, and some cool effects (can you believe that this movie only cost $22 million to make?)
The one downside is that I didn’t think Beckinsale and Speedman had any romantic chemistry. They have already announced a sequel, so I hope there is a little more development in their relationship.
Maybe Underworld will inspire the meeting of more legendary monsters. Zombies and mummies maybe? I’ll be looking forward to seeing the sequel. By the way, this movie is not a horror movie. It is driving me nuts that everyone is calling it a horror flick just because it has vampires and werewolves. It is an action film with lots of bloody violence. I didn’t think the Blade movies were horror movies either. Just be prepared to see a cool monster Romeo and Juliet action flick. Can’t ask for much more, huh?
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