Written: Danny McBride
Directed: Len Wiseman
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen,
Bill Nighy, Shane Brolly
Opens September 19th
Which Side Are You On? Who Really Cares?
to let you know the state I was in while watching Underworld,
I'm sitting there getting ready for the movie to start when
my friend Jon leans over and whispers to me. "So I've
decided. When I die, I want to be buried two feet down rather
than six. I think its better that way. Closer to the action,
To start with, what's going on with this whole Vs. thing?
It all started with Godzilla Vs. that host of gigantic prehistoric
/ robotic monsters. Furthermore we've been hearing for years
and years about the impending cinematic monolith of Alien
Vs. Predator that never seems to happen. And just recently
we had Freddy Vs. Jason. And now it's Vampires Vs. Werewolves?
What gives? I think we need to have one epic free-for-all
that will finally quench our thirst for these 'evil vs.
evil' movies. Jason vs. Werewolves vs. Predator vs. Vampires
vs. Freddy vs. Alien.... vs. Mothra. And it can be like
one giant tag-team cage match. My main issue with these
kinds of flicks is that the ego of the two combatants is
far too great for one of them to actually win, so you always
get some kind of kindergarten teacher style cop out: "Come
on you two! Stop fighting. You're both Winners in my book!!!!!"
Which is so wholly unsatisfying that you find yourself throwing
boots and things at the screen and the projectionist and
the ushers (those poor, underpaid, acne riddled, friend-less
heroes of our modern age).
While being a Vs. flick, Underworld isn't as maddening
as you'd expect. Not by a long shot. Actually I quite liked
it, a lot. Jon, however, hated it. Normally with stupid
movies those roles are reversed. Armageddon, for example,
is one of Jon's favorites, it's what he watches when he's
sick or depressed -- it's a cure-all for Jon. Usually I'm
all uppity and analytical and shit. But for Christ's sake,
it's Vampires Vs. Werewolves -- what is there to be uppity
But, just so everything's fair, here are some of Jon's gripes:
1) The Acting and the Characters. There really aren't any.
Between the cast of a dozen or so there is maybe one or
two actually expressed emotions. The rest of the time it's
a party of stoics and their boring even-keeled friends.
The Acting is therefore equally as bland and absent. But
it's not supposed to be about the acting, is it? It's supposed
to be about how sexy Kate Beckinsale looks in a tight leather
suit, and dreamily how hot Scott Speedman is naked and covered
in blue paint.
2) The Action. Apparently while they have lived for centuries
and centuries, no one bothered to figure out how to aim
their guns. Especially Selene (Beckinsale); when she fires
the pair of guns she's always wandering around with it looks
more like she's shaking maraca's than trying to kill anything.
3) The Story. Not sure why Jon hated this so much, I thought
it was pretty cool. I think the way he put it was "Well,
that's certainly not the movie that I would have made."
Kind of like, this isn't the review that he would have written,
and he doesn't really think Andy Roddick is as good as all
that. "He just doesn't have that
thing, you know?
I bet if I were his age I could kick his ass in tennis."
Now here are some of the things that I found redeeming.
1) It's Not Romeo and Juliet. Thankfully, despite the billing,
Underworld has almost nothing in common with the most famous
(and boring) love story ever told. I mean for god's sake
who wants something like werewolves vs. vampires tainted
with smooching and nose nuzzling and the making of whoopee.
2) It's Not Ann Rice. Seriously guys, someone needs to kill
her. Or at least stop her from writing any more books.
3) It's Not Freddy Vs. Jason. It's deeper, darker and way
better. Although it's no masterpiece, Underworld is for
the most part entertaining, and generally cool.
Three tomes of back-story
They really put a lot of made up history in this thing.
There's dozens of flashbacks and expository explanation
of who did what to whom back in the day. I don't know if
you like a lot of explanation to temper the action but personally
I'm just impressed they came up with so much stuff.
One really bad death scene
This thing started in Japanese anime and it was pretty sweet
back then. But now they're using it in live action movies
and it's possibly the worst thing to happen to action since
Steven Segal. It's those scenes where someone takes a sword
and slices their valiant foe in half so quickly that no
one realizes they've been cut until their torso or head
slowly slides apart at a sharp angle. It is so tacky and
simply unforgivable. I'm officially instigating a ban on
any movie using such a death scene from here on out.
Two and a half hipsters
Given the drivel that has been pouring into theatres this
summer, this is a welcome change. It's not trying to impress
you, just entertain you. So don't expect too much, but think
of it this way: when's the next time you're gonna be able
to see Vampires fighting werewolves