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UNDERWORLD

In a dreary gothic alterno-world where the streets are rain-slicked and everything is dark and backlit in blue, a war rages between vampires and werewolves. At the onset, the vamps hold the lycans on the brink of extinction. Then fanged wolf hunter Selene (Kate Beckinsale) stumbles upon a duplicitous plot that could capsize the bloodsuckers’ coddled existence.

Class struggle, ancient lore, DNA, and a scraggly mortal (Scott Speedman) factor into the vaporous swirl of incoherent twists that yield too many unsettling questions in this film from Len Wiseman (he’s engaged to Beckinsale). Why are the humans so unaware of the bloody carnage that’s going on in their rush-hour midst? And why do vampires need flashlights and automatic weapons? The squalid, burnt-out tunnels of the subway (where the lycanthropes nest) and the vampires’ stately manse are gorgeous to behold, but much of the nonsense that goes on in them is woefully derivative of The Matrix, Blade, and The Crow, and Underworld is not as pleasing as any of those films. Bill Nighy does score as the desiccated vampire elder. Unfortunately, Beckinsale, a wonderful actress who looks game in her painted-on leather garb, is too soft and demure to convince as the vengeful vixen. (121 minutes)


Issue Date: September 19 - 25, 2003
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