Halloween Endurance Test: Underworld (2003)

Underworld‘s a bizarre cross between the Matrix, Aliens, and Romeo and Juliet.  Totally unwarranted and mind-numbingly stupid.  Aren’t these films supposed to be shown only during the summer months?  All those vampires and werewolves confused me!  An action flick in Dracula’s clothing!

First off, this movie contains one vampire bite!  One!  At the end!  All other combat, of which there’s plenty, involves firearms.  Firearms shooting special rounds: bullets with ultraviolet tips for vamps, and others containing silver nitrate for werewolves.  Hence the debt to the Matrix; lots of bullet time.  You’d think it was 2000 all over again with the way they flaunted these dated special effects!

And black leather, another Matrix holdover.  Why the vampires wear skin-tight leather instead of kevlar we’ll never know.  Especially after the werewolves start shooting sunlight rounds.  I guess kevlar’s just not as glamorous.

Speaking of questionable dress, the head werewolf looks like Rob Zombie circa Educated Horses.  Another look not worth bringing back, even if you are, technically, dead.

Aliens because once the werewolves drop their guns and transform, suspension of disbelief becoming tough to maintain.  The werewolves appear out of nowhere, often in places where it’d be physically impossible not to notice them.  If your shock value relies this heavily on jump-cuts, you lose.  Jump-cuts, after all, do not connote ninja mastery.

Just laziness.

There’s also a Romeo and Juliet plot line, but the less said about this, the better.  (Not so good, it’s also the main plot line, ouch!)  Apparently Kate Beckinsale and the uber human-vampire-future werewolve hybrid are lovers.  Though you’d never get that from the acting.  It wasn’t until I read the back of the box on an ice cream break that their alleged attraction was explained.  I picked up on the one blind vampire Beckinsale hated liked the human, but no detection on Kate’s part.

Needless to say, the man does eventually become a werewolve, then a vampire.  At which point he inexplicably transforms into Mystique from the X-men.  Minus Rebecca Romijn’s chest, but still naked and blue. 

The final fight shows why everyone up to that point fought with guns.  The combat on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more convincing.  Given that all were-Mystique (with fangs!) and the head vampire do is throw telegraphed punches and hiss at each other, the finale doesn’t impress much.

Kevin Smith might be able to choreograph a better climax.


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