Available on DVD

Kate Beckinsale gets fangy

106 minutes approx
Certificate 18

Selene -
Kate Beckinsale

Michael -
Scott Speedman

Viktor -
Bill Nighy

Markus -
Tony Curran

Corvinus -
Derek Jacobi

Written by -
Danny McBride

Directed by -
Len Wiseman


UNDERWORLD had an absolutely killer set up - an age old war between the vampires and the werewolves is taking place beneath our noses, being fought with modern weapons and ancient bloodlusts.

Trouble is, it wasn't a great film.

We absolutely loved it here at the Sci-Fi Freak Site, but that was because its patina of cool, abundant blood and Kate Beckinsale in tight rubber blinded us to the fact that it was driven by a muddy plot and editing that was either cocking up great filming or hiding real problems.

Well, we couldn't have been alone in being hoodwinked because it made enough money to bring us the sequel UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION. Clearly the lessons of the first have been learned.

Sadly the answer is just as much no as it is yes.

The muddy plot this time around finds Selene (vampire killing machine) and Michael (vampire/werewolf hybrid killing machine) on the run from the vampires, most specifically Markus, whom they expect to be a bit annoyed that the other elders have been killed. It turns out that Markus is the orignal vampire and was being held in check by the other elders. Free of their influence, he is set on releasing his brother, the original werewolf, from an ages old incarceration. This will, of course, bring disaster to humankind.

The key to the prison in question is in Selene's possession and so is knowledge that will reveal why her family was slaughtered in the first place. What it won't explain is who the mystery man is in charge of a well-armed and even better informed team of human vigilantes who are busy killing anybody that gets in their way, vampire, werewolf or human.

Let's talk positives. Kate Beckinsale still looks great in tight rubber and even strips down in one scene. She may not be the most athletic heroine in the sci-fi universe, but she knows how to pose and how to hold a big gun. A film like this needs no more. Around her are a cast that don't put in too much time on the acting either, although Derek Jacobi shows them all how it's done without even trying, whilst looking slightly bemused at what the hell he is doing in this nonsense anyway.

There's also the action, which has been ramped up a bit, most especially at the end where the big finale involves caves, guns and helicopters that have been dragged down wells (or something like that).

The special effects are still a bit dodgy, especially the CGI werewolves, but then I haven't seen a decent CGI werewolf yet in any film. The CGI Markus is also not brilliantly rendered, mucking up sequences where he's beating the crap out of everyone whilst on the wing.

As for the plot, well that's just a matter of the hero and heroine looking for people who know more than they do whilst avoiding being killed by Markus until they are told what the story is and go off to try and kill Markus.

If you didn't like the original UNDERWORLD then you should steer as far clear of this as it is possible to manage on the open ocean. If, however, like us you were seduced by the coolness of the set up and the sheer amount of bullets fired in the first film, or just want to see Kate Beckinsale in (and out of) tight rubber, then there is enough here to enjoy.

It's a switch your brain off and go with it kind of movie and all the better for that. It sure as hell beats the crap out of DOOM.







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