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2004 Mini Reviews

Underworld (2003)

Directed by Len Wiseman
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy
Running Time: 121 minutes

You really can't tell from the rating, but this was actually much better than I was expecting. I obviously wasn't expecting too much, and this film didn't always deliver, but it had some potential at times.

The entire first thirty minutes of the film were disgustingly horrible. The film begins with a footchase and gunfight scene between werewolves and vampires. You could tell they were trying to reel in the Matrix audience, but it didn't work. It continues on to the vampire lair and we are introduced to the horrible (but pretty) actress extraordinaire: Kate Beckinsale, who has dropped her romantic comedy smile in favor of short, stringy hair and catwomanish leather. I wondered whether this film was representative of her true actress talent, then I remember how drab she was in Laurel Canyon and I think that might have been her high point.

So the movie is atrocious a good third of the way through, but it isn't without merit. For one, I was impressed by some of the art direction. There was also some exemplary CGI. This carried me through the movie and luckily the plot became a little more interesting as they revealed the backstory. Conceptually, this was a strong film, and it could have been much more interesting had it been written differently.

Bill Nighy plays the granddaddy of vampires. His was a much better character than the rest, and the film as a whole noticably improves upon his introduction. The second half is thus much more watchable than the first, although still far from a "good movie", by any stretch.

This film might actually be worth seeing for anyone who is a fan of dark, escapist cinema. The movie also seems to have been successful, so there will likely be a sequel in the future. I may cut off my lips later for saying these words, but I actually think a sequel of this film could improve on the first, if done correctly with less gunfire and more character development. Will that happen? Probably not, but an optimist can still hope.

Score: 5/10