Underworld, directed by Len Wiseman, is a fantasy/sci-fi film set in our modern world but as the name suggests, details the activities of beings that thrive below the main populations awareness. At just over 2 hours the film moves fairly quickly, never leaving the focus on one aspect too long. The cast include Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly and Bill Nighy.
Vampires are alive and well in the world and they are in an ongoing war with their arch – enemies, the Lycans, or werewolves. The Lycans have been following a human by the name of Michael Corvin. Selene, a death dealer for the vampires, finds out about the human and begins to investigate why the Lycans are after him. Kraven, the current leader of the vampire coven, would rather Selene give up her foolishness and be his mate. Selene is neither interested or inclined to do as Kraven says. As Selene is investigating Michael’s apartment, lycans attack and Michael comes face to face with the leader of the lycans, Lucian, whom was thought dead long ago. Lucian bites Michael but Selene helps Michael escape. While Selene continues her investigation she finds out that the lycans believe Michael to be the only human that could provide the ability to combine both vampire and lycan blood to make a most powerful creature. Since Michael has been bitten by Lucian, he is infected with the lupine disease and will eventually turn into a werewolf. Not sure what to do, Selene awakens Viktor, an elder of the vampires, who took Selene in and raised her as one of his daughters. Selene explains to Viktor what she has found and seeks his advice.
Though the story of the vampire has been told to ad nauseum, I find this story line to be much more compelling. Len Wiseman took the old and has revamped it into a modern classic. With Kate Beckinsale as the female lead, the film has a definante edge to it. The two characters of the movie, vampires and werewolves, have seemed to revolve in loose circles around each other over the years, however, this storyline brings them smashing together with explosive emotion. To say that I am a fan would be an understatement. This is as good as good gets in the goth-fantasy world.
Kate Beckinsale does a great job playing Selene. She is a strong and lethal killing a machine but we do get to see a soft side to her. Michael Corvin, played by Scott Speedman, plays a believable human caught in the middle of this turf war. As the elder Viktor, Bill Nighy provides a regal air at the same time giving him an decidedly evil bent. He is one of the eldest vampires after all. The cast is very good all around.
Putting my obvious bias aside and giving this film a fair rating was difficult but I gave this film a 3.5 stars. There are a couple places that could have been tightened up, for example, I think the dealings between Kraven and Lucian could have been fleshed out more. That aside, I really enjoyed this film and was fully entertained.