Mini-Movie Review: Underworld

Hey, you put together a movie about vampires and werewolves fighting against each other in an all out war and I’m there! But unfortunately, the movie never really lives up to the promise of the concept.

To begin with, we have all these vampires and werewolves going toe to toe and for the most part, they’re fighting each other with guns. Guns? Yes, I know it’s logical that they’d be using the best technology available, but that doesn’t mean that’s what would be the most entertaining. It’s no coincidence that the promos for the movie feature a vampire using whips to fight a werewolf, Kate Beckinsale tossing those giant blades, a werewolf slamming a short sword through the top of a car, etc. That looks much cooler than simply watching vampires and werewolves get into a rolling gun battle — especially since they couldn’t shoot. The first big gun battle of the movie reminded me of those old firefights on the “A Team” where both sides are firing off hundreds of rounds without much effect. Given that the movie says Werewolves and Vampires are both immortals, you’d think that they would have had practically an unlimited amount of time to take a few shooting classes, but apparently not.

Then there’s the characters. To be blunt, none of them were particularly likable. The werewolves were basically generic thugs and the vampires reminded me of decadent, aristocratic, goths. Even Kate Beckinsale, the heroine of the story has little going for her other than being a 9.9 on a 10 scale. Basically, her character was nothing more than a glum killbot who was sexy in leather and showed less emotional range than Steven Seagal on valium. Maybe that’s the fault of the “plain Jane” dialogue of the movie, but hey, there’s no “I” in “how can Kate’s character be so dull”?

All of that leads to the biggest problem with the movie. No, it’s not the action that doesn’t measure up to most of the other “Matrix style” action flicks we’ve seen in the last few years. It’s also not the weird little things that seem out of place, like werewolves climbing across walls like lizards and vampires who can get pregnant. It’s the fact that neither the vampires, nor the werewolves, are particularly likable, so who cares who wins? It would be like watching North Korean and Syrian special forces slug it out in a high stakes game of paint ball. Sure, it might be sort of interesting to watch, but who cares who emerges victorious and who ends up in a dungeon somewhere for embarassing the “great leader”?

Now I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the movie stunk, because it didn’t. The action wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either and there were some intriguing plot twists. However, that was not enough to save the movie. Save your six bucks and watch it on video. Thumbs down.

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