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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 Brian McKay

"Overwrought, Overexpository, and Overlong - but I like Kate in leathers"
3 stars

Yes, Kate Beckinsale looks nice in black leather, and those full-auto pistols with bottomless magazines are nifty too. But the problem with UNDERWORLD is the same one that seems to be popping up in other action flicks of late - Too much yappin', not enough strappin'

Why are action flicks so God damn plot heavy these days? This wouldn't be such a bad thing if the plots were exceedingly well-written, but more often than not they are merely recycled templates of other movies that did it first and better. The main focus of an action film should never be plot. Plot is just there to provide a segue between action sequences (much as it does in porno flicks - and therefore the same rule applies).

Take, for example, the recently released Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which nearly choked to death on its own muddled and plot-heavy machinations, only to be saved by a combination of humor and Depp (the two often being inextricably linked). However, did we really need such an elaborate layering of characters and subplots for such a basic "anti-hero seeks revenge on drug lord" scenario?

If you're going to have a lot of exposition and character arcs in an action flick, then you'd better have enough of a sense of style and sense of humor to keep things lively in-betweeen the tinkle of shell casings. Unfortunately, Underworld has little of the former that it hasn't liberated from other movies, and none of the latter. As long as bullets are flying and Werewolves are growling, it's a pretty decent and enjoyable little action flick. But when the shooting stops and the talking starts, it turns into a buffet of bad acting, trite dialogue, and a relentlessly mirthless approach to storytelling. Blade was all about black leather and vampire ass-kicking too, but at least it gave us some laughs to even things out. Underworld merely drones along, nedlessly using at least thirty minutes more of it's bloated two hour running time than it needed to. And while I can appreciate the effort to craft a somewhat interesting universe, the bottom line is that nobody gives a shit. We've all seen vampires and werewolves a thousand times, so get to what we really came for.

As it stands, Underworld doesn't even make any significant or interesting alterations to the usual vampire and werewolf lore. The characters are all the same old cliches, lifted directly from the Ann Rice playbook. Most of the vampires look like anorexic Eurotrash heroin addicts, living in palatial decadence. Meanwhile, the werewolves are being hunted by the vampire "death dealers", the mopping-up of their species after they lost a thousand year old war.

Selene (Beckinsale) is one of these death dealers, who is forced to contend with both the werewolves and her own kind. When she discovers that the werewolves (I refuse to call them "Lycans") are after a human named Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) for something besides a snack, she begins to suspect that nefarious purposes are afoot. Sure enough, it turns out that Corvin's blood is somehow instrumental in creating a kind of "super immortal" - half vampire, half werewolf.

Really, that's all you need to know, because the rest of it is just so much useless blather. None of the characters prove to be remotely interesting, and the simple premise is convoluted into a muddle of tedious fact-finding. And while the action is good, it seems that a lot of things are done simply because they look cool. For example, why would Selene throw disc-shaped throwing knives at an approaching werewolf, when she has two pistols loaded with silver bullets? Or why would she shoot out a hole in the floor to get away from a gang of approaching werewolves, when with all the ammunition she'd just expended on the floor, she could have just shot the werewolves three times over?

Because it looks cool. And cool is good. We like cool. But it also helps when it's a somewhat believable cool in order for it to be a great action sequence. Underworld is plenty flashy, but none of the action scenes ever really grab you by the cajones (ladies, please just pretend you have a pair to be grabbed, for the sake of argument).

I will say one thing for Miss Beckinsale - she wears the action hero look pretty well. Oh sure, her character is as two-dimensional as everyone else in this movie, but at least she looks good doing it.

While its slick action scenes make it worth seeing once, UNDERWORLD is unlikely to bring many joyful repeat viewings, unless the thumb makes extensive use of the fast-forward button. Once the bodies stop hitting the floor, there's just not much reason to care.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8166&reviewer=258
originally posted: 09/21/03 19:14:03
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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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