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Underworld

USA/Germany/Hungary/UK 2003
produced by
Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S.Wright, Robert Bernacchi (executive), Terry McKay (executive), James McQuaide (executive), Skip Williamson (executive), Henry Winterstern (executive) for Lakeshore Entertainment, Laurinfilm, Subterranean Productions
directed by Len Wiseman
starring Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Scott Speedman, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Robbie Gee, Wentworth Miller, Kevin Grevioux, Zita Görög, Dennis J.Kozeluh, Scott McElroy, Todd Schneider, Sándor Bolla, Hank Amos, Zsuzsa Barsi, Richard Cetrone, Mike Mukatis, Sándor Boros, János Oláh, Andreas Patton, Danny McBride, Jazmín Damak, Atilla Pinke, Judit Kuchta, Vanessa Nagy, Ildikó Kovács
screenplay by Danny McBride, based on a story by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride, music by Paul Haslinger, Billy Howerdel, special effects by Gentle Giant Studios, creature and animatronic effects by Patrick Tatopoulos Design, miniature effects by Fantasy II Film Effects, visual effects by Framestore CFC

Underworld

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A secret war wages between werewolves & vampires in modern day Budapest, with modern weapons like semi automatic guns & a bit of martial arts, & with the vampires being the good guys. One of their supreme fighters is Selene (Kate Beckinsale), who, after her whole family was slaughtered by evil werewolf leader Lucian, was taken up by vampire leader Viktor (Bill Nighy) - & one day she finds out that the werewolves are at present actually hunting down a human being, but when she tells interim vampire leader Kraven (Shane Brolly) about this, he shows only little interest, making her undertake some investigations of her own & even hunt down the human in question, a certain Corwin (Scott Speedman). The werewolves though, are also on Corwin's tail & in the ensuing fight about him & Selene's rescue he gets bitten by a werewolf. Back at the vampire's mansion, Kraven is less than pleased that a human is inside the building - but Corwin soon escapes anyway -, while Selene does some research finding out that - contrary to legend - Kraven has never killed evil Lucian (Michael Sheen) but is in cahhots with him to gain control over all vampires, & in her desperation she prematurely awakes Viktor from his hibernation. He seems interested in what she has to say but has her incarcerated nevertheless. Of course she manages to escape & soon comes back with proof for both Kraven's treachery and the role of Corwin in all this - unbeknowest to him his genetic code holds the key to the cross-breeding of vampires & werewolves, an idea Viktor, a vampire of old beliefs, strongly rejects. He now sends Selene out to save the vampire race - by killing Corwin, who she has since fallen in love with. But Corwin has since become a prisoner of Lucian & Kraven is also mighty interested in him ...

In the final shoot-out everything is turned upside down: Lucian is not the villain everyone thought him to be, but was once madly in love with Viktor's daughter - but Viktor detested cross-species breeding, thus killed his daughter, & he himself started the Werewolf-Vampire war, blaming it on Viktor. Kraven kept Lucian alive to serve his own ends, but now shoots him in cold blood as his plans didn't work out the way he wanted. And Selene's parents were not killed by Lucian after all but by Viktor himself, who only let Selene live because she reminded him of his daughter. In the end, Corwin in werewolf form is killed by Kraven, but gets a new lease of life when bitten to a vampire by Selene, thus beconming the first of a new werewolf-vampire-breed, & together they finish off both Kraven & Viktor.

 

Very stylishly made Neo Gothic vampire action movie, but this quality does turn out to be the movie's major flaw, as the director did put way more attention into the fall of the folds of his actors' coats & the right reflection of the light on Kate Beckinsale's spandex costume than he did in infusing the plot with much needed blood - in both the metaphorical & the literal sense -, thus making this a bit of a stale actioner. Can anyone by the way remember when vampire-movies used to be horror-movies ?

However, I have seen way worse, at least Budapest works pretty nicely as the film's backdrop & Beckinsale looks incredibly cute throughout the movie - even though her role is anything but cute & her performance does work. But compared to somewhat similar urban Gothic vampire fare like Razor Blade Smile this movie definitely falls flat on its nose.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD