Friday night I went immediately after work to see
Underworld, the new
hyper-stylized Matrix-wannabe film.
Don’t worry, I knew exactly what I was going into.
See, I liked The
liked Bram Stoker’s
I liked that both had their own interesting visual styles and artistic
approaches. So when I saw the previews for Underworld, I was all over
it. I mean, how can you pass up something like that? Two great tastes
that go great together.
The story is about Selene (played by the almost ridiculously hot Kate
Beckinsale), a vampire “death
dealer.” She and a group of other gun-toting vampires spearhead the
vampire side of the vampire/werewolf battle. (See, they have silver
nitrate-filled bullets that they shoot the werewolves with, right? And
the werewolves have UV irradiated liquid filled bullets that they shoot
the vampires with. That’s how they rationalize the guns. Just accept it
and move on.) While Selene is out hunting one day, she sees that the
werewolves (or “lycans,” as they are called in the film) are taking a
special interest in this particular human. Turns out the human has a
special quality to his blood that lets him become both a vampire and a
werewolf, and stronger than both. The werewolves think this is great;
the vampires, not so much. Battle ensues. Asses get kicked. Much
shooting. All becomes well with the world.
In all honesty, I wasn’t disappointed. They did a great job of bringing
the whole vampire/werewolf mythos into a contemporary Matrix-esque
setting. The visual style was keen, the guns were cool, the chicks were
hot. What more could you ask?
Well, there were a few issues I had that would have made the movie just
a little better.
First, the visual style, while keen, was a little overdone. Ever notice
how everything in The Matrix has a sort of greenish tinge to it?
Everything in Underworld was done in twilight blue. There really
wasn’t much in the way of color or light, which made it hard to see
what was going on at times. Cool? Yes. Hard to see? Also, yes. I mean,
blood runs black in twilight. That’s great and all, but it sort of lacks
some of the power of seeing the red of blood in battle. Maybe laying off
the camera filters just a little would have been helpful.
Second, the guns. I thought it was a really, really cool idea to have
fully automatic pistols. Portable death in quantities. I like that.
But, you know, pistol clips only hold like 9 or 14 rounds in them. And
with these huge .50 caliber bullets (or what looked like something that
large, since you have to have a huge bullet to hold all the liquid
you’re shooting), you’re only going to get 9 in there. Which means if
you hold down the trigger on your fully automatic pistol, you’ve got
about a second worth of shooting in it, then you’ve got to reload. Where
was the reloading? You can’t take out an army on two clips. They
reloaded sometimes, but not nearly enough.
Third, the love interest. Selene gets this vampire/werewolf/human guy
and runs him all over town trying to save him (over the course of a
couple of days) and somehow, without really having any conversation with
the guy, falls in love with him. No, no, no. If Kate Beckinsale drug my
ass around town for two days and all I ever did was cause her trouble,
she’d only end up hating me. Not so in this movie. I didn’t buy that
Finally, the chicks. I won’t see eye-to-eye with some of you on this
one, but the folks in my camp will know what I’m saying here. If you’re
going to stick Kate Beckinsale in latex (or leather or whatever), and
you’re going to parade around a bunch of vampire women in ultra-tight
corset-style tops and so on and so forth, and you’re going to the
trouble of putting in the obligatory love interest, and you’re going to
get your movie rated R for violence and language, then you’d best go all
the way and show me some tits. Seriously. Where were the boobs in this
film? This is worse than a Washington strip club. Don’t start the launch
sequence if you’re not going to fire the missile. Here’s hoping that
stuff shows up in the deleted scenes or the director’s cut or something
Long story short, I liked this and I’d say it’d be good for a matinee
or a rental, but don’t pay full price unless you’re really into the