A war has raged for thousands of years in the dark. It has existed among the human race yet we have been blind to it. It is the war of the underworld. The battle is for survival between the creatures of the night, the vampires and the lycanthropes (werewolves to you and me). At the time of the story the vampires hold sway. Vampire assassins dressed in predictably fascist jackboots and black leather overcoats, patrol the streets at night with guns loaded with silver bullets. The lycanthropes appear to be on the verge of extinction and a certain degree of casual disregard has affected the behaviour of the vampires' coven. They swagger round their mansion - Gothic naturally - holding parties and generally having fun. All that is except Selene (Kate Beckinsale), one of the aforementioned assassins who has an inkling that Lucian (Michael Sheen), the leader of the lycanthropes is not as dead as Kraven (Michael Corvin) the leader of the vampire coven has led them all to believe.Directed by first timer Len Wiseman, Underworld eschews a credible plot and character development in favour of action. A gothic realisation of the vampire myth is hardly original and neither is the modern setting with the Blade series treading similar ground. Dialogue is instantly forgettable, but the production and costume design is excellent. Action sequences are plentiful and satisfying but Kate Beckinsale, while undoubtedly trouser trembling in black leather, seems totally out of her depth in the fight sequences. The fight choreography has gone for brute strength when it would have been wiser to show Kate as a vampire assassin with grace and speed. As it is it appears her frail body would snap like a twig if she had to actually land any of the punches she throws. Still the pacey nature of the film means it rattles past all these faults without attracting too much attention to them, and can therefore be enjoyed for what it is, a stylish action thriller to watch with a cold beer and a bag of popcorn, but leave your brain at the door, 'cos you won't be needing that. If your are a fan of Underworld you will be pleased to know that, due to excellent world wide box office that saw a three-fold return on the $23M budget, a sequel is currently in pre-production.
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