Underworld (2003) – Originally written September 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I confess that so far this year, few films have really kept me interested from start to finish. “Terminator 3” was acceptable but it’s best bit was it’s end, “Matrix Reloaded” was a poor sequel obviously building up towards an ending (which will probably turn out to be disappointing as well) and “The Hulk” had a nice twist on the Superhero Genre, but ultimately was a bit slow at times. “Underworld” however, reminds us that perhaps there is life in this new stylish approach of Holywood’s. The leather is there, continuing on from so many other films, and by no means is anything to do with Vampires or Werewolves a new angle, however this film combines the two in a stunning visual experience, which, unlike other leather clad films of the year (no names mentioned) has at least some understandable well constructed plot.
In “Underworld” we’re introduced to Selene (Beckinsale in a new lease of life having shifted, at times ineffectively from the innocent British Rose) a hunter of Werewolves who spends all of her time attempting to wipe out this mongrel race for past crimes against her. Eventually we encounter different Werewolves and Vampires (incl the marvellous Sheen as Lucian and Nighy as Viktor) on our way to a typically brutal ending and an even more blatant ending. Truth be told, whilst parts of this film were obvious at times, the almost cliffhanger conclusion was a bit of a surprise to me (weird since Holywood seems obsessed with series of films nowadays), but looking back, no real alternative ending could be considered.
This film is a mindblowing piece of cinema with clever Matrix like styling, but with an element of Blade like vampires. Whilst I confess I do prefer the Vampires in “Blade” to the ones here, the Werewolves are powerful sturdy, graphically beautiful creatures with whom you can almost consider our animal instincts coming to life.
If your more of a fan of the more thought provoking, more realistic films based around the 60s or 70s, then why are you reading this review? If you are however an enourmous fan of watching vampires and werewolves cutting shreads out of each other in a modern day, leather clad, pool of violence and intrigue, watch this. Maybe not the best film of the year in Holywood’s mind come the next Oscars, but a cult movie (on the scale of Bladerunner) in the making, and definately the pick of the last few months. This is how the Holywood Blockbusters should have been made. Enjoy.