Underworld (2003) Review: Badass Beckinsale
“An immortal battle for supremacy.”
Synopsis: Selene, a vampire warrior, is entrenched in a conflict between vampires and werewolves, while falling in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.
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Underworld is pure popcorn action, with a little horror/fantasy sprinkled in for effect. Kate Beckinsale steals the show (and indeed, provides the main reason for watching the movie) as werewolf-hunting vampire Selene. Her kickass action sequences are sure to please anyone who loves a good Milla Jovovich movie – and her leather outfits do nothing to harm the movie either.
Though the story is fairly basic and rather silly at times, Underworld doesn’t really need substance. Its marriage of futuristic technology and ancient monster races is captivating enough on its own. Unlike Daybreakers, which tried something similar years later (and mostly failed), the tech in Underworld is fairly unobtrusive. It augments the death count and informs the story while still seeming a normal part of the world, which is what sci-fi should be like.
Selene’s fascination with a hunted human (Scott Speedman) isn’t the best plot point in the world, as it lends itself a little too much to a banal romance. But his purpose in the movie is mostly that of a prop or triggering event – Selene’s pursuit of the truth about the werewolves’ interest in him is what leads her to truly understand the conflict between vampires (led by Bill Nighy) and werewolves (“lycans,” led by Michael Sheen).
If you’re looking for awesome action with a badass leading lady, Underworld is a good option, even with its added fluff. Its effects have held up surprisingly well over the years (especially considering the difficulties movies usually have with werewolf transformations) and the gritty feelings imparted by the lighting and cinematography are a good backdrop for the war with the lycans.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B+
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