I have *no* credibility as a film critic…

Last Sunday I went and saw Underworld with Ryan and Fabian. I’d actually been wanting to go and see it because… well frankly because Kate Beckinsale looked so great in the adds. I mean let’s face it, we’re talking about a gothic themed movie where the lead is a short haired brunette who (because it is a vampire movie after all) is doing the whole pale skinned, dress in black thing and goes running and jumping around shooting at things – is this a film I’m not going to go see? Yeah, right 🙂

So we headed over to Morley on Sunday afternoon to see it. We got there a little bit late, but we only missed a few adds, so that worked out OK. We managed to catch all three previews which was fortunate because they all looked pretty good. The first was for One Perfect Day which looks like an Australian production about a guy trying to find and record some kind of universal music and turn it into a dance track. Or something. I thought it looked OK, Ryan and Fabian apparently thought it looked awesome *g*.

The next was for Once Upon a Time in Mexico which is apparently Desperado II. They didn’t say this in the preview, but we figured it had to be just from the look of it. As action films go it looked not bad, plenty of blowing things up and machine guns, and guitar cases that turn into flame throwers – the usual mindlessly entertaining violence you expect from that kind of thing 🙂

The third was for Hellboy. Frankly it looks a little derivative (X-Men, Men in Black anyone) but I reckon I’ll still go and see it. There’s this one character who looks like some kind of alien and I’ve got the weirdest feeling that it’s played (or at least voiced) by the guy who plays Niles in Frasier. I suppose I’ll have to check over at IMDB or something.

Anyway, Underworld. Well it looks spectacular. Everything is appropriately dark and gloomy and gothic, it’s always raining (if not actually water, then shell casings), the sets are magnificent, the costuming is spot on (the vampires of course all wear trenchcoats – but what else can we expect after The Matrix? Although to be fair Dark City did the trenchcoast thing long before Neo even thought of it) and the entire production oozes so much style that it’s just plain awesome. So awesome in fact that you can completely ignore the fact that the plot has more holes than a swiss cheese factory after a drive-by.

How can a vampire pass out from excessive bleeding? How can a vampire almost drown? How can a vampire get pregnant? And even if a vampire can get pregnant, how could she get pregnant to a ‘lycan’ (that’s werewolf to you and me) if vampire and lycan cells attack each other even on a cellular level? Do the lycans actually control the police? Why are there no female lycans? Or are female lycans so butch that no one can tell the difference? Isn’t Selene pronounced ‘Seleenee’ not ‘Seleen’? Doesn’t silver nitrate turn black on exposure to light? If one bite from either a vampire or lycan turns you into one, then why isn’t the world completely overrun by them? If the vampire elders are immortal, then why are they “leapfrogging through time”? Do all the vampires have blue eyes (or was I just imagining that)? And why do they all seem to have British accents? Has Craven been working with Lucian for all the hundred of years since they faked his death? Why does Craven look so much like Ron Moss when he’s played by Shane Brolly? And why does he do a Scottish accent for just one scene (a nod to Deathstalker perhaps)? Who are the two houses of vampires and why are they separated? How come the vampires can use mirrors? In all his years of unlife has Marcus seriously never tasted lycan blood, even by accident? The list just goes on and on and on.

You can put up with all this because the film just looks so damn good, but it really does start to go all pear shaped towards the end. Most of the plot revolves around the lycans trying to combine lycan and vampire blood to create a sort of super being greater than both of them. They eventually manage this and Michael (Selene’s love interest, although it should be noted that there’s absolutely zilch chemistry between them) turns into the much vaunted hybrid. So, is it cool? Is it powerful? Well frankly it’s pathetic.

Your basic complete
lack of chemistry…

Remember the old Incredible Hulk TV show? The one where when Bruce Banner gets mad he turns into body builder Lou Ferrigno in green body-paint? Well imagine Lou Ferrigno, but painted dark grey instead of green. Oh, and give him black contact lenses and sharp teeth. that’s it. No pointy ears, no wolf like muzzle, nothing to suggest that this creature has anything in common with either vampire or lycan. And how does this superbeing fight? By snarling a lot and slashing with his fingernails (you can just imagine the Scout Master standing to the side shouting “Don’t be afraid to use your nails boys!”). And how strong and superior is it? So strong and superior that the vampire Elder Viktor can completely beat the crap out of Michael without raising a sweat, and Selene has to come to the rescue by somehow slicing Viktor’s head in half with his own sword. I mean if it’s that easy to kill a vampire Elder why didn’t Selene do it earlier? And how come Michael couldn’t do it at all? Sheeze!

And on that point Viktor’s sword is a big heavy broadsword (or at least a longsword – hey do I look like an SCA member? OK, maybe I do but that’s beyond the point). Selene somehow manages to use this to cut through Viktor’s head so finely that he stands there for a few seconds gaping like a fish before the top half slides off. I could maybe believe that if she was weilding a Japanese katana, but that sword was about a centimetre thick in the middle. Unless of course it’s some kind of magic sword, which hasn’t been established in the plot up to this point.

Oh, and while on the subject of Viktor, they so should have reshot his line “I loved my daughter!!”. Performed as I’m sure it was intended this would have given us a real insight into Viktor as a character and how he fell when torn between his personal feelings and his self appointed “duty” to the vampire race. As it was performed it just made everyone in the cinema crack up. Did they honestly not pick that up in post-production? Could they honestly not get the actor back to reshoot or at least loop it? For crying out loud!

Gorgeous blue eyes and snub little
nose. Trust me, they are actually
blue. It’s just not a great shot
that’s all 🙂

With all that said though I thought it was a highly, highly enjoyable film. Stylish as all get out and well worth a couple of hours of Sunday afternoon. Of course I’m unable to actually be objective on that score – if the entire film had just been Kate Beckinsale done up all gothic and running around in subway tunnels I still would have though it was fantastic *g*. Watching her running around subway tunnels shooting at werewolves and speaking with an upperclass British accent (along with plenty of close-ups on those gorgeous blue eyes and snub little nose) is well worth any number of ridiculous plot holes as far as I’m concerned ;D

Roll on Underworld II! 🙂

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