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Underworld (Unrated) [Blu-ray]
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140 of 172 people found the following review helpful
Boiled down to the fine little dish of steak tar-tar that it is, "Underworld" is the answer to the two horror flick questions you had as a kid:

1) If Dracula and the Wolfman went mano a mano and fang-to-claw, which one would do the thrashing?

2) If Dracula and the Wolfman checked into a cheap motel, got roaring drunk on a case of Night Train, and had a baby, what would it look like?

You get the answer to #1 early and often, which is pretty much what this Transylvania Station is all about. And by the end of "Underworld" you get #2 as well---and trust me, when it's hopping about like an ugly green Mini-Hulk (right down to its one-size-fits-all-monster trunks) you'll wish you hadn't.

You want to know what you're getting when you lace up your thigh-high attitude boots and strap on that trenchcoat for a little midnight fun in Len Wiseman's uber-stylish little monster mash "Underworld"?

Think West Side Story: only here, instead of the Jets and the Sharks angling for a rumble on the other side of the tracks, we have Vampires and Werewolves. Oh, and in "Underworld" nobody breaks into song. Both sides just want to rumble, and the girls just wanna have fun. In the meantime, while not the sharpest stake in the vamp-hunter kitbag, "Underworld" finds its groove, and serves up a bloody two hours of unabashed techno-cool that drinks you dry, trashes the apartment and howls at the moon.

We get dropped into the middle of a war that Celine (the impossibly tasty Kate Beckinsdale)---our supple full-body-suit clad vampiric Death Dealer and narrator---tells us has been "raging for centuries."

On one side of the tracks: the sneering, brutally hip Euro-trashy leather-trenchcoat & hip-sunglasses wearing uber-high-maintenance Vampires. They have posh high-rent neo-Victorian digs, drive around the streets in Jaguars and Maseratis, and have managed to switch up the silver bullets in their glocks and MP-5 submachine guns for something more lethal: liquid silver nitrate, which makes it tougher for their hairy buddies to pull the bullets out. Advantage: Vampires.

On the other side of the tracks: the Salvation Army surplus-wearing tear-your-scalp-off-and-wear-it Werewolves---erm, I mean Lycans, short for Lycanthropes. The Lycans are strictly low-rent, hang out together in what looks like an abandoned public lavatory, and take a bath once every full moon whether they need it or not. Whereas their blood-sucking cousins from the East Side look like they'd be hanging at crazy underground raves when they're not boring each other to tears talking like the Merovingian, the Lycans are strictly the mosh-pit set. Oh, and from what I could tell, there's not a single werewolf girl. C'mon guys---haven't ya heard of "Ginger Snaps"? Bummer. Advantage: Vampires.

That said, the boys have been pumping the rent money they've saved up into super-science research, giving them bullets that encase super-photoelectric magnesium charges (perfect for giving that oncoming vamp a little taste of Club Med sunlight). They also have the upper hand in figuring out how they can mix the bloodlines, bringing the war between Vamp and Lycan to an end. Advantage: Lycans.

And finally, mixing it up with our fanged-kissin' cousins, we have perplexed med student Michael Corvin (played by the annoying Scott Speedman who cashes a check) stalked by Lycan heavies and tagged by Selene, who wants to know why the werewolf army is so eager to get their hands on him.

And that, pretty much, is "Underworld": two hours of movie built around jaw-droppingly gorgeous set-pieces and bouts of total war between locked-and-loaded squads of Things that go Bump in the Night.

Just a note: you'll want to get the Unrated Extended DVD: it fleshes things out, beefs up some supporting characters, and ends with an extended battle sequence---and it's loaded down with plenty of extras you can sink your fangs into.

Plus, the sleeker transfer shows off Wiseman's technical mastery in spades. Wiseman uses sound-stages and CGI to anchor the film's look, and tethers all of it to the fog-shrouded cobbled streets and ancient alleys of Prague: the City itself takes on a bleak and brooding character. The movie looks gorgeous: whether it's the gloomy red-velvet and dark mahogany halls of the mansion, the sleek, sterile Underground, or the industrial ruins of the Lycans, Wiseman and cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts make every scene tell. The sequence where a locomotive full of vampire diplomats chugs into a deserted rail-station---with the baying of werewolves in the distance---is jaw dropping.

"Underworld" also gets the most out of its talented stable of actors. There are three centers of gravity in the film: Beckinsdale, who doesn't need her bodysuit to command her lines (though I'm glad she wore it). The Lycan overlord Lucien (the gifted Welsh actor Michael Sheen) steals every scene he's in, and brings complexity and command to a role that could have been a throwaway in lesser hands. Finally, there's the Vampire King Viktor, played by the great Bill Nighy (who also played Shaun's Jag-loving stepdad in "Shaun of the Dead"). Nighy is a kind of demonic embodiment of immortal Puritan rage, and acts like a champ through all that make-up.

Even the supporting actors turn in strong roles: Shane Brolly (Kraven) whines and pouts and lisps and turns in a convincing performance as a spineless worm; Sophia Myles (Erika) comes off as a naughty little vampire cat-girl; Kevin Grevioux owns this film and puts the smack down as Uber-Werewolf Raze; and Hungarian actress Zita Gorog rocked my world---without uttering a single line.

In the end, this batwinged black-lipstick wearing looker of a flick charged into the goth club of my choice, served me an extra-bloody steak tartar , smacked me around, bought me drinks, and talked Shakespeare after. Would a Lycan by any other name be just as hairy?
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49 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Blade was interesting, but to me it failed emotionally. You just do not connect with the film on the personal level. The effects were super, but that was the main impact..."wow what amazing effects". You feel like breaking out in a chorus of Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is. Special effects alone cannot make a movie great.

Underworld makes that jump, great FX work, but also gives you characters you really care about, ones that you really love to hate. A strong plot line designed to hook you and keep you, just does that. With the emotional involvement, there is a greater impact, a movie that will demand repeat viewing. Instant Cult Status.

The movie grabs you from the opening and never lets up with the pace. Firm direction and with a driving score, the movie reaches for perfection. You have a 1000-year-old war between Lycons and Vampires, and it's all coming to a head. It's a well thought out and executed premise and Kate Beckinsale shines! She is an amazing talent. I first adored her work in Cold Comfort Farm as Robert Post's child Flora. When you compare that gentle, deft bit of humour with this kick a*** vampire hunter, it proves what an overlooked talent she is. With Van Helsing out now (and I am sure this movie led to her landing the role), she is finally getting a spotlight she so well deserves.

A gloomy, atmospheric ambiance to the whole movie is maintained all the way through, adding a strong foundation for the otherworld premise. I am sure some will nitpick things, as all vampire film faces, but kudos for the vibrant energy and sheer edgy feel to the film.

It leaves you hanging, clearly open for a sequel...one can but hope it maintains this high quality.

Kate rocks...you don't need to know anymore! It has about 13 minutes of footage not in the original. A great battle scene and some backstory on Michael. Rounds out the film nicely without dragging it down. A great pounding soundtrack, too!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2003
I wanted to see 'Underworld' since I heard that Kate Beckinsale was attached to it. I admire her as an actress and its premise of a Romeo-and-Juliet-meets-vampire-vs.-werewolf movie intrigued me. As a fan of genre films like 'The Matrix,' 'The Crow,' 'Blade' and 'Equilibrium', I was keen on watching this film. My expectations were high and I'm glad to report that I came out of the theater wanting to see the movie again. From the first few seconds when Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is introduced, I was hooked. This was one heck of an exciting and immersive ride indeed!
Highlights for me include:
- Main characters (with a couple of exceptions) did a great job - particularly Selene (Kate Beckinsale), Michael (Scott Speedman), Erika (Sophia Myles), Raze (Kevin Grevioux) and Lucian (Michael Sheen) ' and were well cast. The vampires are elegant and sophisticated while the lycans are husky, rough and brooding.
- Scott Speedman ' I never watched 'Felicity' but I didn't realize he could be such a hunk!
?? Very cool costumes ' I just love those vampires in their sleek black skintight leather outfits, which bring to mind Trinity from 'The Matrix.'
- The storyline ' this is really much more than a vampire vs. lycan, Romeo and Juliet type film. It goes deeper than just the themes of love and hate. Themes of oppression, tolerance, deception, revenge and survival are also explored. And there is even a history which goes back to the Dark Ages (which we will see more of in the sequels) and is briefly explored in this film.
- The action sequences truly rock. I hate to sound like an MTV commercial but this really is the best way to describe it. Every time the lycans and vampire clash is just sooo cool. 'Equilibrium,' 'Blade' and 'The Matrix' come to mind but it is particularly awesome to watch Raze, Lucian and Selene fight. The last 20 minutes alone are worth the price of the movie ticket. It is one heck of ride!
- Contrary to other reviews, the special effects are quite good. CGI/stop motion effects has come a long way with portraying werewolf transformations since 'American Werewolf in London,' "The Howling" and 'Silver Bullet.'
- The brooding, dark backgrounds remind me of 'The Crow.' Very atmospheric and works well with the somewhat gothic mood.
- The ending is satisfying but also leaves room for a sequel. And for those who wonder why there are a couple of loose ends; well, the filmmakers intended this to be a trilogy. It still doesn't do away with the fact that it has a very exciting and satisfactory conclusion. I'm looking forward to revisiting this story again and again on DVD.
Low points:
- I wasn't crazy about Shane Brolly (Kraven) and Bill Nighy (Viktor) - they looked the part but played off too much to the camera. They could use acting lessons on subtlety. Michael Sheen, who gave a poignant performance as Lucian, could give them a few pointers.
- There was a small bit towards the end was a bit 'cringe-inducing.' It reminded me too much of the end of 'Equilibrium.' This particular one involved Viktor and Selene.
A couple of things to remember before going to see 'Underworld': 1) This is not a scare-fest. Just because it features vampires and werewolves does not mean that this is your typical jump-off-your-seat thriller. Go watch or rent '28 Days Later' or 'The Howling' if you want a scary film. 2) This is not a 'The Matrix'-type film. Even though some of the action sequences and costume design are borrowed from 'The Matrix,' this is not a sci-fi film. There are very strong comic book / graphic novel influences but this is probably closer to 'Blade' and 'The Crow' than it is 'The Matrix.' If you can get over these 2 main preconceptions, then you are set to have a good time. And if you enjoyed any of the films that I have compared it to in this review, then don't waste any more time and go see it for yourself!!
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55 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2003
I had been looking forward to the release of this movie all summer long, and it was a great movie! It was just a little different from what I had thought it would be.
The movie, as most of you probably know, is about a war that has been going on between werewolves and vampires. And it is THIS that is the primary focus of the plot (as opposed to the vampires and werewolves themselves). The werewolves have been researching their bloodlines and discovered a human who shares a common ancestor with both the werewolves and the vampires. The werewolves seek out this human, and this is noted by Selene (Kate Beckinsale), who decides to make it her mission to discover the importance of this particular human.
Unfortunately, the writers decided not to delve too deeply into vampire and werewolf lore. I was pretty disappointed by the fact that the supernatural abilities of these supernatural beings were not really emphasized. Instead, the writers chose to merely stick guns in the hands of the vampires and werewolves. In addition, the mythology was slightly different from what I've read and seen before in previous vampire and werewolf books and movies. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but if you are going to change things from what people are used to, then it should be explained in slightly more detail.
Another thing that was a little disappointing were the effects. The previews led me to believe that the movie would be comparable to the "Matrix" in that department. Unfortunately, the best effects (with the one exception of the werewolf transformations) were all shown in the previews.
All of this aside, the movie was still pretty incredible. The plot was exceptional, which is not necessarily always the case with most action movies, and the action kept me entertained throughout the movie's entirety. The make-up and costumes were also outstanding, as was the acting. I actually saw this movie twice, and the second time around (once I got over the intial let-down of it being slightly different from what I expected) it was MUCH better. I anxiously await the sequel (and based on how the movie ended, there WILL be a sequel) as well as the DVD release!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2006
I'm so glad I got this extended unrated version. I have the original widescreen DVD that came out first, but with this copy there were so many extras that I decided to grab it also. After watching both of the versions I've decided I'm going to keep both as they have different commentary tracks. The commentary on the extended version with Len, Kate and 'Speedman' was quite funny.

I usually would be very annoyed with having to own more than one copy of something to get all of the extras, but in this case I wasn't too urked, considering the great deals I got on both DVDs.

I picked my extended one from best buy for only $15, and it came with a movie ticket valid for up to $10 off of one ticket for Evolution (only at best buy). I believe the other one was around that cost also.

If you're a big fan who owns the original DVD of the movie I would definetly recommend getting this version too.

I already know what will happen once Evolution comes to DVD: I will run out and buy it immediately, only to buy the new extended, unrated version a year later. ;-)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 9, 2006
Why can't they all just get along? The Vampires and Werewolves "at each others necks" for so many generations instead of letting bygones be bygones, teaming up and feeding on us mere mortals...I mean...how silly.

Well I guess it's a good thing for us though, no? And without the war there would have been no action-packed thriller about this war called Underworld.

The effects are great in this flick. There's suspense. The DVD comes in a brilliant HD transfer with terrific 5.1 sound. What more could one ask for? How about a sequel/prequel?...Due out about a week from this writing....Hence, my decision to do this belated review.

This DVD documents a war that has been raging between the Vampires and Lycans for years all because one of the Vampire leaders didn't want his Vampire daughter marrying a Wolfman several centuries back. Flash back to the present and Kate Beckinsale is a death dealer/Vampire that hunts the last of the Lycan. Scott Speedman is a mortal (for now) that holds the key to end the war, and he takes some licks (and a couple bites...key words: a couple) protecting that key.

All in all a very well done story that will likely spawn many more modern day Vampire versus Werewolf movies to come...like Van Helsing, and, oh, the sequel!...Underworld: Evolution!

The sequel holds much promise actually. All of the key characters are back played by the same actors...with the same director. That's the first ingredient to a successful sequel (looks like kind of a prequel too).

Underworld: Evolution apparently continues the story of the war between the Death Dealing Vampires and The Howling, and also traces the beginnings of the fight between the two mythical, legendary monsters. But that'll have to be another review entirely.

So if you've not already, get Underworld into your collection, or at least view it before seeing the next installment. It's definitely a keeper for those into the genre.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2004
I have been a big vampire mythology fan for as long as I can remember. I love a good vampire movie. I'm not expecting Masterpiece Theater, I just want to be entertained, and entertained I was with "Underworld". I missed out seeing the movie when it was in the theaters but I'm glad that I did now that I have seen the extended cut. I'm not really a fan of Kate Beckinsdale film work but she does a great job as death dealer (i.e vampire) Selene. Selene is trying to figure out why the Lycans (i.e werewolves), the vampires' enemies, what they want in Michael Corvin (played by Scott Speedman of "Felicity" fame). The Lycans and death dealers are at war and have been for centuries. I loved the dark, moody atmosphere of the entire film. I thought it was amazing how the werewolves were actually costumes as opposed to resorting to the cheesy CGI most movies relies on nowadays (which I think is way too much). Kate Beckinsdale looked great in that skintight leather outfight and short dark hair. She reminded me a lot of Toni Halliday, the singer from the modern rock band Curve. The film is very sleek and stylish. I can definitely see where the comparisons of the movie to other films like "The Matrix" and "Blade" comes in (like on the fight sequences) but "Underworld" still holds its own. There really wasn't much of a plot the one big flaw I found with the film but I didn't care. It was a non-stop thrill ride for me. The acting was a bit on the overstated side but like I said, this ain't Masterpiece Theater. If you want Masterpiece Theater, then go watch some (awful) Merchant Ivory film. "Underworld" is a fun, non-stop rollercoaster ride (or at least I thought). The bonus features on the dvd is awesome. I especially dug the "Fangs Vs. Fiction" segment and watching the cast of the film talk about making the film. I loved the outtake reel. It is always interesting for me to see the actors goof up on their lines in movies. You don't see that very often except as bonus footage on dvds. I liked the 48 page comic book and the sketchings on the entire film. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel to "Underworld" where Selene becomes the hunted.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2005
I did not see Underworld in theatres. I was always both wary of it due to scathing reviews, and yet curious about it due to its subject matter. When I purchased the "Unrated Extended Cut" of this film, I was expecting to be disappointed. Instead, I was thoroughly delighted. Read other reviews for a synopsis. I simply want to state that this film is destined to become a cult classic. Some of its many strong points include virtually non-CGI Lycans (even a scene where Lycans are running toward the camera on the walls of a corridor was done with stunt men and digitally erased cables); desaturated color, using digital technology, that provides this film with an amazingly beautiful Gothic look; and some fantastic action sequences that, although occasionally derivative, fit the storyline very well and do not seem forced in the least.

It's a shame that this extended/recut version of Underworld was not shown in theatres, because the edited theatrical release that generated critical trashing almost assuredly hurt the studio financially. Although I cannot compare the two versions, I can tell you that if audiences had seen this "Unrated Extended Cut," Underworld would have been a critical and financial success, and deemed a major milestone in Gothic cinema.

I do not wish to hype this film, but I do believe you will find it to be a valuable addition to your film library.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2007
Being a fan of the Underworld series as well as the lovely Kate Beckensale, I had to purchase this movie on blu-ray. I have this movie on every format except vhs. All I have to say is that this movie looks and sound awesome on blu-ray. If you want good demo material get this movie, you will not be disappointed.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2007
This movie really looks great on Blu-Ray with an AVC encode and the PCM lossless audio is excellent. By the way this movie is also region free (Regions A, B & C) so people can import this if they want to.
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