Movie Review : Underworld

Last year, I saw previews for a movie called Underworld that looked interesting. It looked like a mish-mash of The Matrix, any vampire film, and any werewolf film. I liked the style of the matrix, and I like sci-fi films, so I thought this would be right up my alley. I knew Jenn would have no interest in it, so I waited until she went to bed. My buddy Anthony came by, and we popped it in the DVD player. I knew it wasn't going to be great going in. After all, it had been pretty much panned by every major movie critic. Unphased by this warning, we pressed on.

Essentially, the film is a Romeo and Juliet remake, but this time we have vampires and werewolves where we had Montigues and Capulets before. Oh, and a few trillion bullets thrown in for sport. The first thirty minutes of the film are really confusing. We have a chase scene, guns, bullets, and one guy caught in the middle. All of the characters dress essentially the same, and it was really easy to become confused as to who was on whose side. The movie is full of over-the-top gun fights. The funny thing is, even with the thousands of rounds spent, these folks can't hit anything. Did the directors have any concept of a clip size? I'm willing to forgive a bit of artistic license with regard to that detail, but when our protagonist fires off several hundred rounds from an automatic pistol without changing magazines...well, you're stretching it. The movie is so full of gun battles that they get to be very monotonous by the end. The film is patterned after the matrix mold, but at least the directors of that film broke out into other battle types: martial arts, knives, guns, escapes. The directors of Underworld picked gun battles and made it a motif.

Another element that is a bit confusing is to the powers of the creatures. Based on the teller of the tale, vampires and werewolves (lycanthropes or lycans) are attributed with different super-natural abilities. For instance, Anne Rice has a very different type of vampire than Bram Stoker. Can the vampires move at heightened speeds? Not in this film, as the characters prefer to use a car. We do see that the werewolves have gained the ability to walk on walls and ceilings. The vampires can cling to a ceiling, but don't think to use that mobility in a fight.

The atmosphere of the film is very dark, and very wet. Every scene is filled with black skies, drab buildings, and dark costumes on every character. The only hint of color in the film is the red velvet found in the mansion of the vampire coven. There is a splash of occassional blue in the eyes of the creatures, but beyond those elements, the movie might as well have been in black and white.

I think the critics were right on this one. This movie was not good. We've all heard the Romeo & Juliet tale before, and adding vampires and werewolves to the mix did spice it up a bit. The movie just needed more variety in every aspect. My advice is to not bother with this one unless you are truly desperate for a sci-fi flick.


Karla said...

Hi Adam... I had to write a comment since my husband saw this movie with you. Jenn told me that you posted a review for the movie that you two saw... so I thought I had to check it out to see what you thought of it. Anthony is in total agreement. I am glad that I was not dragged into watching it with him. Maybe you two should rent the Arnold(I am not even going to try to spell his last name) movie next. :)

Adam said...

There are quite a few (probably bad) sci-fi flicks that I'd like to see: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Butterfly Effect, Van Helsing, Hellboy, Chronicles of Riddick, Blade 2, Reign of Fire, I-Robot. Add to that the list of action flicks: Kill Bill, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spider-Man 2, and The Day After Tomorrow. I have no doubt that I will be able to fill my late nights with plenty of crappy TV :-) Anyone willing to join me is welcome to.

Jade Mason