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Overall Rating
2.75

Awesome: 11.8%
Worth A Look: 19.88%
Average22.98%
Pretty Bad: 22.36%
Total Crap22.98%

8 reviews, 113 user ratings


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Underworld
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by Scott Weinberg

"Werewolves and Vampires and Katie...oh my!"
3 stars

There's a distressing little "click" that one feels as a movie they've long been anticipating manages to disappoint throughout its running time. As each successive 'cool action scene from the trailer' clicks by, we start to wonder if the movie has anything else to offer besides that handful of trailer shots. Sadly, "Underworld" pretty much doesn't.

So simple a concept that it makes one wonder why it hasn't been a movie before today: a centuries-old battle between secret societies of vampires and werewolves that takes place in the dank alleys and clammy sewers of EveryGotham, U.S.A. Pair this conceit with a knowing nod to Romeo and Juliet and you're looking at an atmosphere-heavy genre concept that feels like a can't-miss proposition.

Pre-release hype and an ultra-cool trailer had me fairly excited for Underworld, which makes it all the more disheartening to announce that the flick's only marginally successful; the worthwhile spots are absolutely cool, the gothy production design makes a lasting impression, the slick and fluid cinematography adds a glossy sheen to the proceedings, and the Battle of Immortals concept is periodically plumbed for some truly enjoyable cinematic mayhem.

But...

Great gosh amighty does Underworld pack an unending amount of lengthy and confusing exposition scenes, plot threads and supporting characters that repeatedly double-back on one another, an editing style that borders on the aggressively choppy, and wristwatch-worthy dry stretches into its 121 (!) minutes.

And if a movie about werewolves battling vampires seems boring at any point...well that's just unacceptable.

The plot is both a predictable "Warring Factions" chestnut and a somewhat sly social analogy on the haves vs. the have-nots. Basically the Lycans (see: werewolves) are the lower-class; they congregate in leaky underground lairs, they're sweaty and their clothes are inevitably all torn up. The sexy vampires are clothed in sleek leather, are housed in palatial mansions and look like nothing more than a room full of pale Italian fashion models.

For a host of reasons that will be presented in a continuous loop of sketchy flashback sequences, the vampires and the werewolves really hate one another. A whole lot. Both clans have a looming deadline that incite some sort of plot device: the vampires have some vague-sounding Undead Summit scheduled...on the same night of a full moon. Bad scheduling there. Scattered amidst the ongoing battle is vampiric "Death Dealer" Selene, a lithe and lovely bloodsucker who survives a Lycan attack before embarking on a quest to discover the truth about the wolfpeople's latest quarry: a buff doctor fella named Michael.

If all this sounds a bit plot-heavy for a B-movie about wolf-men and vampires, imagine your weariness when you learn that there's about 55 minutes more of this arid "plot stuff" to contend with just to get a look at two or three pretty solid action scenes. Underworld's astonishingly sober tone doesn't do the film any real favors either; a handful of dialogue exchanges skirt dangerously close to unintentional comedy.

Yet despite a host of shortcomings, Underworld earns a mild recommendation on merits almost exclusively visual in nature...including but not limited to the ethereally sexy presence of Kate Beckinsale as Selene. She's not required to do much here (Kate's all leather-clad legs and dagger-eyed glances) but the actress brings a steely sense of command to her curiously underwritten role. The supporting players are as lifeless as their undead status would suggest, though Bill Nighy cracks through with an effectively oily performance as he plays a newly-awakened great-grandpappy of the vampires.

On a purely visceral scale, Underworld scores a lot of points. Picture Blade meets The Crow or something that could be called An English Werewolf in Dark City and you're getting a good idea of how cool Underworld looks...but you're also getting a clear indication of how derivative Underworld truly is.

All in all, "Underworld" is a criminally sleek (though narratively stunted) tale of class struggle between immortal enemies - bookended by a pair of ultra-slick action sequences. Had the movie delivered a bit more bang for the buck, had it been trimmed down just a bit, had it been a bit less languid and a bit more cohesive...it would have lived up to the promise of the trailers.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8166&reviewer=128
originally posted: 09/19/03 13:59:00
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell boring & overrated 1 stars
4/01/12 Cr a cool action/horror movie with vampires vs werewolves, good effects and leads are good. 3 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess You'll enjoy it while watching it, but you'll forget about it afterword 3 stars
7/04/10 art THIS MAKES you FORGET about TWILIGHT! 4 stars
5/07/09 true Really liked it, a good vampire movie. Lots of action, lead actress very hot. 4 stars
3/22/09 james obrien beutiful kate 5 stars
3/08/09 Linda Diaz Guilty Pleasures sexy vamps and hunky wolves! 5 stars
3/02/09 Ira Awesome backstory. OK character design. The acting killed it. 2 stars
2/06/09 Alejandro Sosa The action is what made the movie some what enjoyable! 3 stars
2/01/09 MIng I love all the underworld movie, however this one is a little below the others 3 stars
1/24/09 David Tried to be badass but failed. 2 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
8/07/07 ravenmad I like the dark stuff, Kate made it great! Without her: awful. I like women that kick ass! 4 stars
7/17/07 MaDmAN Kate is beautiful!! But this has got to be one of the most boring, depressing movies ever! 3 stars
12/26/06 RoBeRt rObErTsOn I USUALLY WOULDN'T JACK OFF TO THIS... OK, OKAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY ONLY ONCE 2 stars
12/03/06 RazorFang I had no problem following this movie and I missed part of it.Unrated version is better. 4 stars
10/30/06 AJ Muller Kate rocked it and the action/FX were solid but it should have been WAY better. 3 stars
9/20/06 Pritchett All in all I thought it was pretty lame. 2 stars
8/19/06 Beau i agree, repetitive fight scenes, a bit boring, but good storyline plot 3 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist 3 words, DISSAPIONTING, NERDY,CRAPFEST.Too futuristic, really boring time waster!! 1 stars
5/17/06 Taylor I think this movie is the best ever! 5 stars
4/24/06 Annie The Matrix meets Van Helsing is the best description yet! 3 stars
3/09/06 Dk Matrix meets Van Helsing and thats a cool combination 4 stars
2/24/06 ES Liked it, necessary to enjoy the UW evolutions 4 stars
2/17/06 Galliwertz A one-way ticket to DULLSVILLE! ALMOST as bad as QUEEN OF THEM DUMB. 1 stars
2/10/06 Carolyn Rathburn love it, dark, vampires, werewolves, bloodlust, great movie 5 stars
2/08/06 FritztheCat Easily one of the dullest, most pretentious "action" films I've ever sat through. 1 stars
1/29/06 CthulhuFhtagn This is one super-lame film for super-lame people. 1 stars
1/26/06 jeff repetitive fight scenes, bad acting, boring. 1 stars
1/25/06 Runaway Stiff, boring, redundant, incoherent, silly, dull, uninteresting, bland, dumb, pandering... 1 stars
1/23/06 Noodle I agree, for the very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY easily entertained. 1 stars
1/22/06 Simon For the easily entertained. It's really just cool/good (kate)-looking stuff and "nonsense". 3 stars
1/21/06 SoHo I never thought a movie about vampire vs. werewolves could be so BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/19/06 Sumixam Better than most make it out to be 4 stars
11/14/05 Indrid Cold Average at best; even Blade did this type of thing much better. 3 stars
10/23/05 Raul Valdez Great movie you people need to stop bugging. 5 stars
10/22/05 Jack I've seen Total Crap and this is not Total Crap . . . but almost. 3 stars
8/18/05 ES A good lead in whenever they start to produce world of darkness movies, but yikes bad actin 4 stars
7/22/05 Jordan Okay This Movie rocks I love camps n lycans DEC 2 05 Underworld Evolution!!!!!!!!!!!!yay!! 5 stars
7/14/05 Sully Kate can suck my blood anytime.... 4 stars
3/11/05 Gray all my friends agreed this movie was shit 1 stars
1/30/05 enzeru interesting how it shows both perspectives (vamp/lycan), just don't expect another Matrix 4 stars
1/27/05 JesseL One of the better vampire flicks ever. Love Beckinsale. 5 stars
1/13/05 Tom Benton Dark, stylish, underrated movie in the tradition of "Blade". Very cool. 4 stars
12/10/04 Gray sucked ass 1 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams after that GORGEOUS opening shot, it all goes to hell 1 stars
9/03/04 Steve Newman Dissapointed with general acting - special effects are good 4 stars
8/02/04 Raf Milis The beginning is pretty good, but the end?? come on..i've seen this a thousand times.... 2 stars
7/12/04 Dave C Short and sweet: I enjoyed it. Sure it's flawed as many movies are, but I enjoyed it still. 4 stars
6/05/04 Carmen THIS MOVIE WAS THE BOMB AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH 5 stars
5/05/04 gray me and my friends laughed outloud towards the end really vamp/werewolf? :) 1 stars
4/11/04 stryper rocks Selene's a cool chick....smart, relentless, dark, and deadly with those silver bullets 5 stars
3/25/04 Erica Thornton well-paced, interesting premise 4 stars
3/18/04 rachel burke lots of action worth a look 4 stars
3/18/04 Maria I liked the show..but it defitanly was missing something! 3 stars
3/17/04 Alfred Guy It was ok, mostly tepid. Been there, saw that. 3 stars
3/16/04 alex considering it was stolen from some unknown book series... it wasn't that bad 3 stars
3/12/04 Jack Bourbon It really wasn't that bad, which was nothing short of miraculous considering the trailer 3 stars
3/12/04 jdogg "visually stunning"="worth a look"?? No thinking here, thank you...we prefer to just stare. 1 stars
2/09/04 Whatevr Worth watching at least once 4 stars
2/05/04 Ingo Mediocre mixture of 'hip' ingredients. 3 stars
2/04/04 Dave Nice 4 stars
2/04/04 Joy Visually stunning. . 4 stars
2/04/04 Sammy This movie was the best I've seen in a while. The special effects were awesome!! 5 stars
1/27/04 jasarco wanna c it again 4 stars
1/27/04 Chloe Brody Here's a nice piece of shit 1 stars
1/27/04 Samuel if you've never saw either of the "Blade" movies watch one of them instead they are better 3 stars
1/26/04 u sexay thing f...u. 5 stars
1/23/04 Betty White Considering the great visual effects, you'd expect much better. 2 stars
1/22/04 Tom Cruise At least this is a lead character I'm taller than... pity I can't outact her. 1 stars
1/18/04 Cheerleader who ran out of TP&has to wipe her ass with her pompoms Firmly in a tradition of making bad vampire flicks seem "a dime a dozen". 1 stars
1/13/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Can't be taken seriously, but doesn't make it as a spoof either. 1 stars
1/12/04 George Hill A movie that has everything I expected 5 stars
1/08/04 JJ Not as bad as it is amateurish and cliche ridden... 2 stars
1/08/04 KICK ASS OR DONT COME HOME! this movie is for only ppl in the goth and D&D scene 4 stars
1/06/04 tricky dick The title of this lame assed shit should be THE BLATRIX!!! 1 stars
1/03/04 A F Pretty Crappy. 2 stars
11/27/03 John noisy confused shallow and childish...sorry this one is only for die hard fans of the genre 2 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee A fast-paced masterpiece that should never be forgotten! 5 stars
10/15/03 Jeff Marc A rip off of the DARK HORSE comic OUT FOR BLOOD only WORSE! 1 stars
10/10/03 Gary AWESOME 5 stars
10/06/03 Kitty Confusing, Boring, Weird looking chick in leather - 'nuff said. 1 stars
10/04/03 Worthy Slacker Poorly shot shootouts/action scenes cut to rapidly. Variation of Rome & Juliet story. 3 stars
10/04/03 Randy J Redmond It sucked ass! I walked out after the quick silver bullets! 1 stars
10/02/03 Peace Frog Eeon's a piece of shit at best...may he get AIDS from his own father....tool 1 stars
9/30/03 Eeon Not bad. 4 stars
9/30/03 great pumpkin i liked when the guy was all green and those blood tubes coming out 3 stars
9/28/03 Renegade Bushido Give the guy who played Kraven an Academy Award! (sarcasm) 3 stars
9/27/03 NoRefill Could have been so much more. Boring at times, interesting at others. 3 stars
9/25/03 Billy Bob Fun movie, lots of action. Could use a bit more explanation of plot, but overall a good fl 4 stars
9/24/03 malcolm waaaay better than T3 and Matrix: Reloaded 4 stars
9/23/03 Obi Wan Good fun and no A-List actors to ruin the flick. 4 stars
9/23/03 KingNeutron VAMPIRES DONT REFLECT - but otherwise 2 GREAT plot twists 3 stars
9/23/03 Eric S. Is it OK if I enjoyed this movie, even while recognizing its flaws? 4 stars
9/23/03 Chrys Is anyone ever gonna wise up to how very vapid and talentless kate beckinsale is? 1 stars
9/23/03 krystin it was actually pretty good...I was surprised 4 stars
9/23/03 Gray 1000 bullet guns+lame "guy who's a vampire/werewolf " =laughably bad movie 1 stars
9/23/03 LoudChris Fun creature flick with great sets. Kate performs well and looks great. 4 stars
9/22/03 Timmy Better than Blade 5 stars
9/22/03 The F-Bomb too fucking loud with no fucking story.kate's hot, though 3 stars
9/21/03 Randy Muselman Could have cut about 20 minutes from the film. Seem more of a cross between Blade & Matrix 3 stars
9/21/03 David How can you reduce Vampires and Lycans to cardboard hollywood guntoters? 2 stars
9/21/03 syrius What's up with the bad acting and infinite ammo?! 2 stars
9/21/03 Oksana Good characters, lots of promise, need stronger storyline. Like Michael and Selene, 4 stars
9/21/03 wesley cox complaint- like matrix 1 person shoots and hit 20 people who are shooting at the 1 person 4 stars
9/20/03 Vicious When will anyone ever do werewolves right? And i hate vampires. 2 stars
9/20/03 Lord Chu There could be more heads being chopped off, but overall? Pretty good. 4 stars
9/20/03 michaelb14 Could have been much better, still enjoyable though 3 stars
9/20/03 Damon A decent flick for average joe, a good flick for people who like gothic movies 4 stars
9/20/03 Timmy GREAT 5 stars
9/20/03 ludvig the movie was awesome except for all the guns why couldn't they just fight without guns 5 stars
9/19/03 Mr Chan me lika this movie, it real good! 4 stars
9/19/03 Gary best movie ever 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Sep-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Jan-2004


Directed by
  Len Wiseman

Written by
  Danny McBride

Cast
  Kate Beckinsale
  Scott Speedman
  Shane Brolly
  Robby Gee
  Erwin Leder
  Sophia Myles



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