Underworld (2003) – Len Wiseman

Kate Beckinsale kicks ass and looks stunning doing it as she plays Selene, a death dealer, or vampire, in Underworld, the next recommendation from DK Canada’s highly enjoyable Monsters in the Movies by legendary director, John Landis.

There has been a war raging around humanity for centuries as vampires and werewolves, or death dealers and lycans, fight with one another. Things get complicated for the young warrior when a young doctor, Micheal (Scott Speedman) – a man the lycans are hunting for some strange reason, and someone Selene, against her better judgment finds herself falling in love with.

The film tries to add some layers to the reality it creates, suggesting that there is a dark secret in her past that the head vampire, Viktor (Bill Nighy) is keeping from her.

The action sequences are slick, the costumes are suitably vamp sexy, and the cast includes some very recognizable names – Micheal Sheen as the leader of the Lycans, Lucien, Sophia Myles, and Wentworth Miller.

The film has gone onto inspire a number of sequels, and it tries to add layers to the history, mythology and relationships that comprise the film, some of it comes off as cheese, some of it as cheap exposition, but it still plays fairly enjoyably.


Some of the computer generated imagery doesn’t hold up so great, but a lot of the action sequences are well orchestrated, and Beckinsale looks amazing kicking ass. In terms of the visual look of the film, Wiseman uses washed out colors, giving the picture grey tones, just enough to make it look a little off from the real world.

With such a strong English cast, there is a weight of gravitas to the proceedings of the film, and it actually works nicely in helping to create the world that Selene and Micheal inhabit, and the practical effects from the contact lenses to the fangs to the aged makeup used for Viktor all make for a fairly compelling realization of this fantastical world.

Selene is a strong character and will happily turn against those that betray her. She stays focused on task, even when romance begins to bloom between her and Micheal.

The series starts off solidly, and begins to falter pretty quickly into the sequel, but for this original film, the cast is solid, the action beats on point, and did I mention Beckinsale looking fantastic and kicking ass?

There was nothing not to like about this movie went it first debuted, and I remember seeing it in the theater, and talking it up when it came to home video. This one proved pretty popular with the home entertainment crowd.

The Monsters in the Movies book from DK Books continues to entertain, and bring me some fun, classic and not so classic films to check out. Pick one up for yourself, and watch something macabre tonight!



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