In my attempt to watch mostly good movies as this project winds down I chose Underworld on Blu-ray tonight. Why? Because A. It is a pretty good movie and B. The Blu-ray only cost 10 bucks, meaning it met my strict rule of only buying Blu-rays that are 10 bucks or cheaper. So, I plopped down in front of my projector with some popcorn and my dog and we watched the great vampire werewolf war rage on in 1080P on a 5 foot screen.
First, the director’s cut of this movie is 133 minutes long (which is the version I watched). That’s a lot of time to spend on a movie that mostly features Matrix-like action scenes involving vampires and werewolves running around with guns. And missing nearly every shot of their seemingly never-ending supply of clips. There is also a literal mountain of dialogue discussing vampire politics and the mythology of the world the film takes place in. And you thought Middle Earth was complicated. While the gun battles do get played out quickly there is still plenty of good to go around. And the mythology is actually pretty entertaining.
Kate Beckinsale is a Death Dealer. Her job is to wipe the Lycan scum off of the earth. She falls for a human that she comes across while hunting the werewolves. This particular human is special. The wolves want him and end up biting him, thus cursing him to be a wolfman. Beckinsale discovers some fishy business going on between the current leader of the vamps and the head of the lycans. She breaks protocol and decides to wake up Bill Nighy – the most bad ass and eldest of the vampires. Elder vampires tend to hibernate like bears for hundreds of years in-between taking turn running the business that is being a vampire. A huge ass battle ensures and all sorts of deception and power plays are made. There is literally like 4 sub-plots going on at any one time. Not the action movie one should watch while high or drunk.
Underworld has a dark gothic atmosphere throughout, almost to a fault. It’s cool, no doubt, but the whole movie has been apparently run through a blue filter. This is the bluest damn flick I’ve ever seen. Really, it’s laughable at times. This is a film that relies more on gun fights and mythology than character development. And to me, gun battles don’t do it. I want more sword, which is why I love Bill Nighy as Victor in this movie. He just rips throats out and finishes wolves off with a mighty blow from his sword. Basically, he’s awesome. Everyone else is wimpy.
Still, at the end of the day I applaud this movie for being original and creative within a tired genre. The incredible depth of the mythology behind the film provides an excellent setting for the events that occur. Instead of simply another remake of the writers took the time to develop something that goes far beyond your standard popcorn action horror flick.
Also, Kate Beckinsale in tight leather.
Snore Factor: ZZ