The Underworld series is a set of horror-action movies revolving around the conflicts of Werewolves and Vampires, complete with an Ancient Conspiracy, an intricate Backstory, plenty of Dark World imagery, and lots of gratuitous gory action.The main plot revolves around the struggle between the Lycans, a former slave race to the vampires, rebelling and the latter vowing to exterminate them. All because Lucian, a Lycan, and vampire lord Viktor's daughter fell in love and conceived a child. Viktor ordered her killed to ensure the "Abomination" would not come to term. Lucian escaped and the rest, as they say, is history.In the modern day, Lycans have been "hunted to near extinction", or so the Vampire nobles think, but in reality they are gathering in numbers and planning on wiping out the vampire leadership with a plot to create their own hybrid on the eve of the vampire elders switching power. This is where Michael comes in. He is, among the descendants of the Corvinus clan, the only one with the genetic makeup capable of letting him be turned into a vampire and a werewolf. Normal humans can only be turned into one or the other; trying to "mix" causes death. Selene, a vampire Death Dealer with a personal vendetta against all werewolves, notices the Lycan's botched kidnapping of Michael, and helps him escape capture. Along the way, they begin to fall in love, an issue that gets all the more complicated when he gets bitten and starts turning into a werewolf. Can their love survive their species' natural hatred?The series consists of four movies at the moment:
Underworld (2003) introduces the basic setting, as well as the main characters: Selene and Michael, who are caught in the conflict between Viktor's vampire court and the rebellious Lycans led by Lucian.
Underworld: Evolution (2006) picks up immediately where the first movie ended, with Selene and Michael on the run from Marcus, the father of all vampires. Luckily, they are helped by Marcus' immortal father, who is just as interested in stopping him as they are.
Abnormal Ammo: Silver bullets are to be expected, but special liquid silver nitrate bullets are used to prevent the projectiles from being easily removed. The Lycans, for their part, have developed UV rounds for use against the vamps. In fact, the UV rounds came first.
Anachronism Stew: Rise of the Lycans, in which the vampire nobles (the women, at least) seem to be wearing modern evening wear, some even featuring bare midriffs. The date and setting of the film is inexact, but it is clearly supposed to be a medieval setting (the early 13th century according to the novelizations).
Based on the first two movies, this takes place roughly 600 years ago, as Selene's family was murdered "the winter of Lucian's escape."
This is even more jarring when the vampires are shown alongside their human serfs...who wear attire that's actually fitting for the era.
May be a case of Fridge Brilliance, vampires are immortal and by then at least a number of them have lived for centuries. Over that time they may have evolved their own internal cultural ideas of appropriate styles of clothing.
Anatomically Impossible Sex: Selene and Michael's infamously awkward sex scene in Underworld: Evolution. The way their bodies are positioned, Michael is basically making love to Selene's stomach, though they were sensible enough to photoshop out his penis. This scene is particularly awkward when you realize that Kate Beckinsale is married to the director, who obviously would have been watching the whole time.
To quote Mrs. Beckinsale during an interview about this very scene: "...if they move, then it’s terribly embarrassing, but if it doesn’t move it’s terribly insulting and you think they’re gay. So he lashed it to his leg, tied it in three knots and... I think was in physical torment as well as everything else"
To be fair, that was just for the first few shots of the scene, probably just 'foreplay'. In the last few shots Michael actually looks positioned right.
Ancient Conspiracy: Both the masquerade setting itself, and within the vampire clan under the noses of its members.
In the first movie, a Lycan starts to transform and it looks like it's going to have a knock-down drag-out fight with a vampire. The vampire is quickly knocked down and torn to pieces.
Also in the first movie, Raze and Viktor are about to get in a big fight. The strongest vampire and the strongest lycan, Except that when Raze jumps at Viktor, Viktor catches him in midair and breaks his neck.
Anti-Villain: By the end of the first movie, Lucian is a villain only by virtue of being on the opposite side.
Awesome, but Impractical: Selene's automatic pistols. Apart from the required Bottomless Magazines, pistols are too underpowered to reliably stop mere people, inherently inaccurate even when shot one at a time and in Selene's case, don't even produce particularly good results with the in-universe issue of Lycans extracting or pushing out silver bullets. Notable despite Rule of Cool because EVERYONE else uses at least a heavy magnum pistol or submachine gun.
Possibly a case of Fridge Brilliance. Vampires thought they had all but exterminated their old slaves, only to find a surprisingly significant Lycan population growing (literally) under their noses. Maybe the Lycans were purposely playing possum and the vamps didn't realize their weapons and tactics weren't so effective anymore.
A possible usage of the automatic pistols that Selene makes use of, is suppressive fire. It is very discouraging for Lycans to run headlong into a stream of silver bullets. Yes, there's a high probability that they won't hit but there's an equally high probability that they will hit, and that would suck. Also, getting hit by one or two big-bore silver bullets would suck like nobody's business, but at the same time, getting hit by many of those little bastards, with a higher percentage of organ penetration would suck even more. Knowing Selene, Theres No Kill Like Overkill would be her way of dealing with Lycans, considering the amount of hate she had for them up until she got with Michael.
the silver whips used in both the first and fourth movie. Stupid out-of-movie and even a failure in-movie, yet characters keep using the things.
Badass Baritone: There are no special effects involved in Kevin Grevioux's voice.
Badass Longcoat: Vampires and Lycans both wear them, and they have a noted tendency to catch the breeze.
Badass Normal: Raze when still human. First thing he does when confronted with one of the wild and feral Werewolves? Punches the damn thing down.
Detective Sebastian in Awakening. He may look as if he bought his detective outfit at a Halloween costume store, but when the chips are down he still shoots lycans with a double-barrel over and under grenade launcher and survives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Jacob Lane in lycan form.
While they get slaughtered by William, the Cleaners themselves are pretty damn badass, considering what they do for a living. They are handpicked by Alexander Corvinus himself, and are selected from the best and brightest in the Special Forces community from around the world, including those of the alphabet agencies that have paramilitary operations. That's nothing to sneeze at. And while we never to get see all of what they do, aside from kicking the crap out of Hungarian Police officers out in the woods; We are given the impression that they've seen action in regards to the Vampires and Lycans, especially with scragglers & other intervening parties from either side.
Bat out of Hell: The vampire Elder Marcus, on account of his becoming a hybrid, seems to have grown leathery gray skin and enormous, sycthe-like bat-wings.
Black and Grey Morality:The whole vampire werewolf conflict is more of grey and grey or black and black. Rise of The Lycans and Evolution are the only films where the protagonists can be argued to be the more heroic participants in the conflict, rather than the guys with the current viewpoint.
Big Bad: Viktor in the first movie and Rise of the Lycans, Marcus in Evolution, Dr. Lane in Awakening.
Lucian is shot in the head (and various other appendages) by Selene in the first movie. It's not much more effective, though it does slow him down a bit.
Boring, but Practical: In the 600 years she's had as a Death Dealer, Selene has learned a lot of brutal, efficient ways to deal with her enemies. She's not one for using flashy moves to deal with her enemies, and when she goes for the kill, She goes for the Overkill. She makes sure you're not going to get back up, much less intact to regenerate. She's the polar opposite of Michael in these regards, as Michael; having no previous combat training, fights in a very aggressive, very animalistic manner, with no solid, reliable technique. Of course, this works for him considering his speed and strength.
Bottomless Magazines: Zig-zagged. Selene's automatic pistols must just be magical, usually roaring with one continuous noise as they spew bullets like water out of a hose. Her infamous Bullet Hole Trap Door is only one example. However, her guns will run out and force her to reload or fight hand-to-hand if it's expedient to the plot.
Bullet Hole Door: Selene makes one through the floor. With silver bullets, no less. MythBusters attempted to reproduce this specific stunt, and couldn't do it, even with 10 times the ammo.
The stunt itself was no picnic. Kate Beckinsale states in the commentary that the shrapnel from the broken floor tile was exploding into her face.
Inverted with the bottom of a rapidly descending elevator in Awakening. The elevator lands on her, but the bullets made the floor weak enough (and she's tough enough) that it doesn't particularly bother her.
In AwakeningEve to Selene, lamenting how she dreamed of this day, only to be met a cold and distant mother. Selene defends herself by pointing out she just spent 12 years cryogenically frozen, woke up to world she doesn't know, the only man she loved is gone, and discovered a daughter she didn't know she had. She insists her heart isn't cold, it's broken.
Let's see, you have a Death Dealer with 600 years' worth of experience in killing huge lupine beasts. In the other corner, you have two recently-turned vamps with no combat experience whatsoever whose only purpose appears to be entertainment for their maker. As established in the first and second films, as immortals age, they get stronger.
Cleanup Crew: Alexander Corvinus leads a group of men, appropriately called The Cleaners, who cover up the evidence of lycans and vampires. They are all killed by Marcus in Evolution, which is what probably led to humans learning of the existence of lycans and vampires in Awakening.
The novelization explains that all of them come from special forces all over the world.
The Dog Bites Back: Literally when Lucian leads the Lycan rebellion. Lucian himself runs afoul of it when Kraven kills him.
Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: A silver mine owner in Rise of the Lycans refuses to pay tribute to Viktor in exchange for clearing his silver mine, as Viktor's forces can barely protect their own lands. Viktor of course kills him for the insult.
Dual Wielding: In the first film, one of the vampire lieutenants decides the best way to fight a hulking werewolf in an environment with many projections and obstructions is to uncoil a pair of silver razored whips. It doesn't work out when one of his whips gets wrapped around one of the projecting pieces of structure.. Viktor also whips out a pair of large knives from his sleeves during his battle with Selene. In Awakening, David has a go-at-it, using Soren's silver razor whip and a throwing blade. Surprisingly, He does pretty well with it, until he gets tackled by a Lycan. And of course, Selene and her two pistols.
Every Helicopter Is A Huey: Very nearly averted in Evolution - the helicopter shown in long-shots is a modified SA 360 Dauphin that just happens to sound like a Huey. Unfortunately, sometime between the helicopter landing and The Squad piling out the back, it's turned into a Huey anyway. In an apparent compromise, the prop used after it inevitably crashes and turns into a Helicopter Blender looks like some unholy fusion between the two.
Evil Brit: Seemingly played straight with Lucian in the first film. But then subverted when it turns out he isn't the villain, or at all evil.
Exposition of Immortality: Underworld mostly employs a combination of dialogue and flashbacks for this. Selene states that she's been a vampire for six hundred years and that Viktor was her maker. Flashbacks in the first and second films show the date for the Lycan-Vampire conflict, establishing Kraven as at least as old as Selene.
The werewolf doctor in Underworld has a family tree showing the dates for the Corvinus family dating back to the 5th century AD with Marcus Corvinus.
And then there's Alexander, who reveals himself to have been the father of the original Marcus Corvinus; still alive after approximately 2600 years.
Expy: Thomas in Awakening is basically a more cowardly, not-as-evil version of Viktor. Charles Dance clearly took lessons in being Bill Nighy for the part — just listen to his first line-uh.
Faux Action Girl: Sonja in Rise of the Lycans. Despite being the leader of the Death Dealers, Sonja needs almost constant rescuing.
To be fair, she needs rescuing from overwhelming odds. She did kill three lycans while being chased in the beginning of the film, and she managed to one-up Viktor in their sword fight. And unlike Selene, she didn't have access to automatic firearms.
Fanservice: Selene's entire wardrobe composes of leather catsuits. The men are lucky—or villains—if they get more than pants.
And for the ladies, Michael almost always fights shirtless, while in the third film, Lucian shows off just about everything.
Fantastic Racism: In Underworld and Underworld Preque Rise of the Lycans, the two races of immortals, vampire and werewolf spend entire centuries killing each other over a grudge. The vampires are more typically racist, calling the Lycans (werewolves) animals and vermin and generally hunting them to the brink of extinction. In the feudal era, the vampires kept the Lycans as slaves and pets to guard them during daylight hours. The lead vampire killed his own daughter because she fell in love with a werewolf and carried his child.
Although for several generations up to and including that one with the sole exception of Lucien werewolves WERE just animals...animals that needed to be hunted and controlled to prevent their indiscriminately wiping out the vampire's food supply and human peasants in general.
Follow the Leader: The setting was similar enough to White Wolf's Old World of Darkness tabletop RPG that there was a legal fracas over it around the time of the first film's release. Otherwise, the film is generally thought of as The Matrix with vampires and werewolves.
Foregone Conclusion: If you watched the movies in production order, there's no way you didn't know how Rise of the Lycans was going to end.
Watching them in chronological order, however, takes away the first movie's twist that Kraven didn't kill Lucian as Selene claimed in her Opening Narration, and that in point of fact Lucian isn't actually the villain. Either way, you will be spoiled—though the chronological order can still work okay if you like internal reveals.
Genetic Memory: Carried in the blood of both werewolves and vampires are the "parent's" memories, which can be accessed by drinking.
The Ghost: Marcus in the first movie. He's only mentioned as one of the three vampire elders, who was supposed to take power before Selene awakened Viktor instead. We don't actually see him until Evolution, where we learn how important he really is to the series' backstory.
Guns Akimbo: Selene wields almost all her guns, in all three of the films she appears in, in pairs.
Healing Factor: Both vampires and lycans (except against silver in the latter's case). Best illustrated in the second film, when Selene suffers severe burns from short-term exposure to the sun, which are gone minutes later. Both Lycans and Vampires are capable of accelerating their rate of recovery by consuming blood. Markus was able to replenish the amount of blood He had used up to accelerate his recovery, by devouring an entire stable full of horses, and Selene was able to heal her head wound and force out a silver bullet, by drinking the blood of an Antigen delivery guard.
In Awakening, the uber-Lycan's super-healing factor is abused by Selene, who rips a hole in his stomach and leaves an armed silver nitrate grenade inside it, knowing that the wound will heal before he realizes what she did and the grenade will go off before he is able to claw it out of himself again.
High-Altitude Interrogation: In Awakening, while Selene is escaping the lab, a scientist orders his troops not to fire on her, in the hopes of following her to "Subject 2". Later, Selene holds him out a window and interrogates him. After he reveals what he knows, he protests, "I was the one who let you go!" She replies, "I guess this makes us even," and lets go of the scientist.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Viktor, letting Selene live and turn her into a vampire, because she reminds him so much of Sonja, only to end up getting killed by his "daughter". In the second film, Selene rips off one of Marcus's spiked wings and stabs him with it.
And Viktor again, in Rise of the Lycans. When Lucian is born, he gets the feeling that he should kill the infant, but doesn't, leading to the following exchange:
Viktor: I should have crushed you under my heel the day you were born! Lucian: Yes, you should have. *stabs Viktor through the mouth* But you didn't.
Dr. Lane in Awakeninghas his neck ripped out through his throat by the hybrid he created.
Humans Are Bastards: In Awakening. Subverted when at least part of the anti-monster purge and subsequent genetic research turns out to be a lycan plot.
Detective Sebastian in the same movie is also an exception, who's shown to be sympathetic to non-humans. It's later revealed that while his wife had been turned into a vampire, it didn't stop the fact that they still loved each other until the Feds came around and she elected to step into the sunlight... Contrast overall trope with...
Humans Are Warriors: Almost as soon as humanity at large discovers the existence of vampires and werewolves, they drive both to the brink of extinction. Selene basically spells out that vampires/lycans have the options of 'run or die.' Standing and fighting doesn't work because modern humanity has been practically begging for such a foe to unite against. Except the werewolves successfully infiltrate humanity and become more powerful...so guess it was an option
Hybrid Monster: Michael Corvin becomes one, specifically the first Half-vampire-half-Lycan. Later, Marcus also becomes one. There's also Subject 2, the daughter of Michael Corvin and Selene created in a lab. Oddly, none of them are quite the same kind of hybrid, despite being mixes of the same species.
Michael started out as a lycan with the dormant Corvinus gene who had the vampire DNA added later. Marcus was the other way around. Subject 2, on the other hand, was born from Michael's already-existent hybrid DNA mixing with Selene's vampire DNA which had already mixed with pure immortal DNA from Alexander Corvinus. These different combinations and scenarios could explain the different appearances of the hybrids.
Lucian and Sonja's child would have been a straight Vampire-Lycan hybrid if it had lived.
Selene passes her own hybrid blood on to the vampire David in Awakening, reviving him after he is killed and possibly making him a Vampire/Immortal hybrid as well.
Michael was from 2 bites so he's 50-50 Eve/Subject 2 was Michael and Selene procreating so she's 75-25 Vampire; Marcus started out as an Immortal Human, before becoming a vampire and then acquiring Lycan blood centuries later, making him 80-20-10; and Dr. Lane was also a Lycan, who spent a decade plus intentionally hybridizing himself and thus 90-10: so while all of theme are hybrids, the balance is different in each case as is the method the blood was infused.
Hybrid Power: The overarching story arc of the series is pretty much driven by this trope, though only the fourth movie features a child inheriting both parents' powers—other hybridization instances are carried out via vampiric blood absorption/transmission. To boot:
Michael Corwin becomes a werewolf-vampire hybrid by getting subsequently bitten by Lucius, a werewolf, and Selene, a vampire.
Selene becomes a vampire-Immortal hybrid (among other things, rendering her immune to sunlight) by drinking Alexander Corvinus' blood in the second movie.
The fourth movie reveals that Selene and Michael's daughter inherited both her dad's werewolf strength and her mom's vampiric abilities. Since most of Selene's pregnancy occurred after she became an immortal, it is likely that Eve inherited immortality, as well, making her a triple hybrid.
Idiot Ball: Kraven. From slipping up and dropping Lucian's name in argument with Selene to... just about everything else his ego leads him to do.
Selene initially averts this. She is very loyal to Viktor, and is well-enough known for the trait that Andreas Tannis flat-out disbelieves her when she states she killed him.
Sonja also doesn't really suffer from it early on. It's only after she becomes pregnant with a hybrid child fathered by Lucian and subsequently realizes that Viktor will never truly accept Lucian as a son-in-law or the unborn hybrid in her womb as a grandchild that she finally turns on her father.
Lucian:(to the vampire elders) I'LL KILL YOU! ALL OF YOU!
Immune to Bullets: Not exactly, but they don't seem to be very effective. Older werewolves can just push them out of their flesh (or skull, in Lucian's case), and vampires seem able to survive all sorts of impalements. In the second film, Selene takes a shotgun blast to the torso without visible injury, and Marcus survives five or six such shots in a row and is only slowed down with minor bleeding.
Silver bullets do kill lycans, but they can heal from it. The silver nitrate liquid rounds kill them very quickly; and the UV bullets are similarly effective against vampires. Marcus can shrug them off because he's that tough, and Selene's corset may be bulletproof.
The novelizations make mention that even though bullets don't do much harm to Vampires and Lycans under normal circumstances, a lot of bullets will harm and kill them. William would of more then likely died from continuous fire delivered from the machinegun mounted on the Cleaners' helicopter, even with his regenerative abilities and size. As tough as they are and even with their regenerative abilities, they're not impervious to sustained gunfire from either small arms or larger.
Invincible Hero: Whether you agree that Selene is the 'hero' in the early parts of the series once you find out she's been doing everything based on disinformation Viktor gave her, she fits the 'invincible character' trope very well, as she rarely takes damage of any kind compared to other characters in the franchise, including Michael, who became superfluous as a character seemingly the very minute after Selene kills Viktor. To the point that he doesn't even appear in the fourth film except in flashback being apparently killed, and then found to be frozen in ice. Selene is pretty much unstoppable to begin with, but then she got upgraded to the point that the concern over a Hybrid might as well have been equivalent to being scared of the boogeyman being in your closet when there's an actual armed serial killer loose in your neighborhood.
Ironic Echo: "It's easier if you don't fight it. Trust me." Spoken first by Jacob Lane to Subject 2 in Awakening as he is preparing to vivisect her. Repeated in the opposite direction between the same two characters during the final battle as Lane is dying from the fatal wounds inflicted by Subject 2.
Just a Stupid Accent: In the first film, Viktor's accent is somewhere between Colonel Kurtz and Colonel Sanders. By Rise of the Lycans, it's a pretty standard English sneer.
Probably this is Translation Convention at work, as it's unlikely that genuine period speech would be intelligible to audiences even if they'd been speaking English.
The Sanders/Kurtz accent does turn up briefly in Rise of the Lycans a few times, most notably when Viktor's yelling at Sonja after learning about her trysts with Lucian: "You haf betrayed meh, to be wif an AN-EE-MAL! Aye loved you, more dan an-ee-thing! (to guards) She duz naht leave dis room!!!"
Large Ham: Lots of them, but Viktor takes the cake. Or at least shares it with Kraven.
He has his moments in the first, for example coming out of nowhere nasally saying, "What's... this... ruckus?". But in the third, he definitely goes for it. "I whanted to believe your liessss. I KNEW it couldn't be truenotmyowndaughter, how could youuu?"
Luckily My Powers Will Protect Me: When Selene is fighting the Giant Mook lycan at the end of Awakening, she punches a hole through him and leaves a grenade inside and he announces, as he heals instantly, "I heal instantly!"
Mad Scientist: The lycans have their own mad scientist, complete with German accent, in the first film. Dr. Jacob Lane in Awakening also fits the part.
Madeof Iron: Even with their Healing Factors, Vampires and Lycans have an innate increased durability towards trauma. This is doubly so for the Elders, Hybrids and Selene. Using their Super Strength, Lycans like Raze can barrel through thick concrete walls without being fazed by doing so, Death Dealers and Lycans alike can both perform incredible drops and leaps without issue, and Selene herself ignores getting shot multiple times in the back (after drinking Alexander's blood) and multiple impacts that would have killed lesser Vampires. She uses this in conjunction with her Super Strength to tackle a moving van with enough force to flip it. Of course, despite their Madeof Iron capabilities and their Healing Factor, they can still die from dismemberment and other forms of massive physical traumas.
Malevolent Masked Men: The Death Dealers in all incarnations whether its full-face medieval helmets or gas masks. The Cleaners employed by Alexander Corvinus, also wear gas masks whenever they're conducting their Ops, for obvious reasons to avoid contamination and other hazards.
The Masquerade: It's revealed in the second film that Sir Derek Jacobi and his merry men have been following the vampires around and cleaning up their mess. They even mention bribing witnesses to keep their mouths shut. The fact that Markus kills all of them is probably what led to the Broken Masquerade.
Meaningful Name: Viktor is surprised when putting someone named Kraven in charge of his household doesn't turn out so well.
Selene, which means "moon".
Viktor likes to win, obviously.
Messianic Archetype: Selene is a rather twisted example, as she is viewed as a traitor by fellow vampires after the first movie. Come Awakening, however, she comes back from being effectively dead, walks in the sunlight, rallies the younger vampires, and goes around resurrecting their dead.
Monogender Monsters: Going by the movies, there was exactly one female Lycan, Lucian's mother, who was infected while pregnant. Though presumably the virus is just as contagious to both genders, the use of this trope was justified as the vampires wanting only male lycan slaves.
Alternately, proto-lycan females could've been culled after Lucian's birth, because their instinct to protect their offspring made them unmanageable even for whip-wielding vampires. Lucian's mom did look ready to pounce on anyone who came near when she was killed.
Although Lucian's mother is the only prominent female Lycan, technically two can be seen the background in the first movie. One sits on a raised platform as Raze brings his injured comrade back to the den. Another is visible among the imprisoned Lycans in the Lucian/Sonja flashback.
There's also a few distinct mentions of female Lycans within the novels of the movies.
The one who gets mentioned the most is Leyba in the non-canonical novel Underworld: Blood Enemy, who is the one who ends up ratting Lucian and Sonya out to Viktor, as she wanted Lucian for herself. She ends up survivng to modern day and hunting Lucian for revenge.
Monster Progenitor: William Corvinus is the Progenitor of all Lycans. Markus Corvinus, his brother, is the progenitor of all Vampires. Unlike other Lycans, William cannot change back to a human. Markus, unlike other vampires, is capable of changing form to that of a vampire with bat wings, giving him flight; but only after he becomes a hybrid.
The strain of Lycans that retain their sentience and are capable of shifting at will appear to all be 'descended' from Lucian.
Mortal Wound Reveal: Selene's killing blow on Viktor. He actually moves from crouching to standing position and draws sleeve daggers at first - then Selene holds up his sword, covered in his own blood. It only takes a couple more seconds for half his head to fall off.
Mundane Utility: In Awakening, Selene uses her boot knife to as an impromptu key to start and drive a van, and Quint used the powers of Partial Transformation, to transform right hand into a massive set of claws to slice the cables inside of the elevator shaft where Selene and a random Lycan had fallen. Michael uses the same method in Underworld Evolution, to open paint cans to cover up the windows inside of the garage He and Selene took refugee inside of during the day, and even switched over his eyes to see in the dark and brought out of his fangs and claws reflexively. Markus used his wings to impale and pin people without having to do much of anything else.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lucian and Kraven were planning to broker a peace treaty between the vampires and lycans before Selene interfered. Markus also wouldn't have become a hybrid, and humanity wouldn't have found out about the existence of immortals.
Nigh Invulnerable: Hybrids are TOUGH. Markus, original vampire, has a magazine emptied into his face (courtesy of Selene) and then crushed between a truck and a cliff-side. He shrugs it off. Selene is only able to kill him after impaling him through the head, with his own razor wing, and throwing him into helicopter blades. Word of God is that while the Helicopter Blender killed him, he would have recovered from the impaled head. Michael is impaled on a pipe, which does seem to kill; only for him to be Only Mostly Dead. Selene, a vampire immortal hybrid, might actually be indestructible.She survived falling through an elevator shaft while the Lycan who tackled her wasn't so fortunate, and she also survived having a grenade go off near her. She also managed to tackle a van with enough force to flip it a couple of times without any long term damage.
Not to mention Eve, the daughter of Selene and Michael, whom Selene flat-out states will grow to become even more powerful than she is.
No Ontological Inertia: As the first vampire, Markus managed to convince the other vampires that killing him would destroy all of them, and killing his brother William (the first lycan) would destroy all lycans—thus depriving them of their slaves. When Selene hears about this a thousand years or so later, she immediately sees it for the lie it is, but the one telling it to her notes that Victor believed it enough to not risk it.
Of course, after the Lycan rebellion, the first thing Viktor could have done was go to William's dungeon and kill him to try to eliminate all Lycans outright. It wouldn't have worked, but he had no way of knowing that.
Selene:(on whether or not Corvinus could have stopped the war) Yes! Alexander Corvinus: Could you kill your own sons? Selene: You know what Marcus will do! If he finds me, he finds William's prison! You have to help us stop him! Alexander Corvinus: You are asking me to help you kill my son - YOU, a Death Dealer? How many innocents have YOU slain in your six-century quest to avenge your family? Spare me your self-righteous declarations! You are no different from Marcus and even less noble than William - at least HE cannot control his savagery!
The Older Immortal: Alexander Corvinus, the original immortal, who even looks older than the rest
Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires are stereotypically pale, blood-drinking, almost completely immortal, highly athletic, and use plenty of Gun Fu, but the entire condition is supposedly just the result of a mutant virus.
Keep in mind that the Gun Fu vampires are the "death dealers", the assassins/soldiers of the vampires. The main population seems to be standard "we get to live forever so let's just sit around and drink blood."
They're also not undead, and do not require special things to kill them. For example, sunlight will cause them to burst into flame. However, a stake through the heart is unnecessary; sufficient bullet wounds and similar gore will kill them. A stake through the heart is likely to kill them, if only because that's a pretty nasty injury for anybody to go through. They do breathe, but it looks like they've got a substantially increased lung capacity, since Selene was able to hold her breath underwater during their infiltration of William's prison. She was also resuscitated by Michael,during the first movie, and she was shown out of breath.
Vampires are also able to reproduce. Similar to Blade, those born of vampire parents are called "purebloods".
Our Werewolves Are Different: Caused by the brother strain of the above virus, these Weres are large, vaguely humanoid, also immortal, and most can shift at will.
Also there are three different "species" of Werewolf in this series. First there's William; the first one to ever exist, who looks the most Wolf-like. Then there's those who are infected by William, known as "1st Generation" Werewolves. Like William, they are unable to return to their Human form ever again. And then there are the "2nd Generation" Werewolves, otherwise known as Lycans. This breed came about when Lucian's mother was bitten and turned into a "1st Generation" when she was pregnant and gave birth to him whilst imprisoned by Viktor. Lucian was born in his Human form and could change between that and his Werewolf form. And when he grew older, Viktor used him to turn more slaves for the Vampires to use, resulting in the majority of the Lycan population.
Awakening features super lycans, enormous beasts at least twice the size of regular lycans, with commensurately greater strength and stamina. They're also immune to silver.
Partial Transformation: Lucian can give himself fangs to bite someone without fully transforming. Even more practically, the beefed-up lycan in Awakening can transform his hand to acquire sharp claws. Michael also did the same as well, and Markus liked using his wings to stab people and pin them in place. Selene used her glowing blue eyes to intimidate a truck driver into leaving his truck.
Plot Hole: The movies does its best to close these up but they're there if one looks hard enough:
William was captured in 1202 A.D. It was nearly 200 years later when his prison was completed and the only person credited with building it was Selene's father; just how did Viktor keep William contained for the better part of two centuries?
Also, Tannis explains that Viktor didn't kill William out fear of losing his Lycan slaves. But Rise of the Lycans establishes that the vampires didn't start using Lycans as slaves/daylight guardians until after Lucian was born. Viktor even outright states that Lucian is the first of the Lycans.
This one might be explained by the Lycan generation list provided under Our Werewolves Are Different if Viktor was referring to 2nd generation Lycans. If he meant Werewolves/Lycans period then it remains a plot hole.
Nothing is explained as to what happened to Alexander Corvinus. He had his blood partially drained by his son and then had Selene bite him. We know what happened to Selene, but what happened to him is left utterly unexplained. Since he was already immortal to begin with and passed that to his son who were later the first Vampire and Werewolf respectively, shouldn't Markus and/or Selene's attacks on him have made him at least an Immortal-Vampire hybrid? We know Vampires and Lycans can survive immense damage and if Selene could survive the kind of destructive firepower thrown around, Alexander, being older and thus (supposedly) more powerful, could have as well.
Alexander was content to sit back and clean up the messes of his sons to hide evidence of vampires and lycans from the world since he did not have the heart to fight against his own sons. But hearing Marcus detail his plans for a world full of hybrids, witnessing the apparent death of his descendant by Marcus' hand and being run through the gut by his own son was a series of events which changed Alexander's outlook: he knew Marcus had to be stopped and despite everything listed above, Alexander still did not have the heart to stop Marcus himself. So he gave Selene his blood so she could receive a massive power boost and then sent her after Marcus. Once the helicopter carrying Selene and Co. was off, Alexander triggered the self-destruct sequence for his ship to do his job one last time. The blast would have disintegrated everything on the ship, including those slaughtered by Marcus, the bodies of the Vampire Elders, the databases and equipment used by the Cleaners, and finally, Alexander himself.
Polar Opposite Twins: Markus and William were twin brothers, yet wound up as different breeds of supernatural creature.
It's Hand Waved as having their viruses interact with different animal DNA (one is bitten by a wolf; the other - by a bat).
Razor Wings: Marcus uses his wings to impale targets, as well as fly.
Removed Achilles Heel: It happens during the climax of Evolution, Selene gains immunity to UV radiation (and thus sunlight) by drinking Alexander Corvinus' blood and becoming a vampire-Immortal hybrid.
Replacement Goldfish: Kraven, probably accurately, believes that Viktor only turned Selene because she reminded him of his dead vampire daughter. Which becomes really awkward when its revealed Viktor killed his daughter, and Selene's family.
Research, Inc.: Antigen does medical research in Underworld: Awakening.
Safety In Muggles: It's subverted in the first film when Lycans attack a subway station trying to kidnap Michael. In fact, it's Discuss by the vampires as being a big deal precisely because it's normally played straight.
Single Line of Descent: Subverted, at least partly. Alexander Corvinus, the originator of the virus, had one human son, who did (in fact) produce plenty of modern-day progeny, if the wall of Xed-out photos is any indication. But the only one of those people still carries his special genes, and happens to also share his last name.
Lineage Comes from the Father does seem to ring true, however, as the surnames shown are all variants of "Corvinus", suggesting the Lycans didn't bother tracking the bloodline through any of Alexander's female descendents.
It might have been that tracking down the female descendants would have been lot harder, due to the name change, so they just focused on the male-line descent.
It may also be easier to track down the Y-chromosome genes, which aren't passed down to females. It's likely there are plenty of descendants of Corvinus and, unlike the males, they haven't been hunted and killed.
It's very convenient for Lucian that the one descendant he needed happened to return to his ancestral land, where Lucian lives (Michael's grandfather emigrated to the US and changed his name).
Slobs Versus Snobs: Werewolves are the Slobs, living in a derelict industrial complex, wearing earth tones, long hair, Perma Stubble, and generally being gritty/dirty. Vampires are all pale, wear almost exclusively blacks and reds, are immaculately groomed, beautiful, and live in a decadent Victorian manor...while being arrogant jerkasses.
Keeping in mind, the lycans have had to survive on the fringe for the past several centuries, biding their time while being persistently hunted by the Death Dealers. They simply haven't had the time or resources to properly integrate into advanced society.
The novels also claim that Lycans eat mainly raw meat, which is hard to do in a polite society. At least blood can be put in a glass and drank like wine.
Regular humanity is shown to be generally somewhere in between, though closer to the lycans in terms of their conventional, everyman aesthetic. Coincidentally, this also explains how the lycans were able to embed themselves with some relatively ease into human society in Awakening.
Smug Snake: Kraven. Also Tanis, to a lesser extent, in Evolution and Rise of the Lycans.
Source Music: The Lycan cops who kidnap Michael pop in a heavy metal cassette to try to drown out his screaming. They leave it on when they go to tranquilize him to keep him from transforming prematurely.
Stairwell Chase: In the first film, when the Lycans find Michael and Selene's safe house.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Lucian and Sonja in the backstory, later (and with far happier results) Selene and Michael.
Styrofoam Rocks: In the commentary, the movie's creators point out in a scene towards the end of the movie that some of the stone debris from someone getting thrown through a wall can be seen to float in a pool of water. Oops.
And apparently Michael in Awakening. Although it turns out to be a Disney Death.
Super Strength: The Death Dealers routinely display incredible levels of Super Strength, whether its hitting people with enough force to disable them and throw them like rag dolls, to lifting people up by their necks and leaping all over the place and surviving incredible drops, due to Madeof Iron. Compared to their Lycan cousins, the Death Dealers and most Vampires seem weaker by comparison. Elders and Hybrids have been shown to have incredible levels of strength above that. Markus was able to pull a goddamn helicopter out of the sky with a small amount of effort, Michael was able to rip off William's head as if it was attached with tape, and Viktor was able to go toe to toe with Michael, only surpassing him due to experience and tenacity. Selene herself got into the action, killing two random Vampires with blows to the head(and into a wall with one of them), being able to go toe to toe with Markus and winning(due to being infused with blood from Alexander Corvinus) and tackling a moving van like a linebacker.
Not to mention Subject 2/Eve, who's able to rip a Lycan's head apart with her bare hands, all after having gone who knows how long without feeding properly and suffering a gaping wound in her throat, courtesy of the Lycan.
Super Speed: if Vampires have one thing that puts them above their Lycan cousins, its their physical speed. While Lycans are fast, compared to Vampires, they're nowhere near as fleet of foot. In their Human forms, the Lycans are pretty damn quick, but still marginally slower then Vampires. Selene managed to display her Super Speed abilities, by dodging gunfire and quickly reappearing and overpowering her attacker, and she managed to show this off again, in Awakening; by dodging gunfire and slicing the throats of the Antigen Lycan Guards firing at her.
A Taste of the Lash: In Rise of the Lycans, after capturing Lucian, Viktor subjects him to thirty lashes for betraying his trust, with even one lash being brutal enough to Lucian, and Viktor makes it clear that he wants Lucian to suffer even after the first twenty-one lashes, even forbidding Sonja, his own daughter, from intervening on pain of serious punishment. A Kick the Dog moment if there ever was one.
Lucian later gets whipped again, by Soren, with Sonja chained to a post and forced to watch before she is put to death via sunlight.
Those Two Guys: Pierce and Taylor in the first movie, and Xristos and Sabas in Rise of the Lycans.
Time Skip: The twelve years between Evolution and Awakening, compared to half a night between the first movie and Evolution.
Took a Level in Badass: While Selene was already plenty badass, she becomes even moreso after taking Alexander Corvinus' blood and becoming a vampire/immortal hybrid. Marcus even notes it.
Similarly David in Awakening. He goes from a relatively unskilled idealist, to a total badass after Selene brings him back from the dead.
Would have been much smarter to just shoot the Lycan, thus stopping him mid-shift. It's mentioned, just minutes later, that having silver in a Lycan's body stops them, not just from transforming, but also from regenerating.
He does appear to have lost his gun.
Treasure Chest Cavity: Viktor has one half of the key to William's prison hidden inside his chest. (The other half is hanging around Lucian's neck, or at least was in the first film.)
Unreliable Narrator: In-Universe, nearly everyone. Virtually none of the mythology that is passed down is actually true and the one story that Viktor openly mocks is.
One way to explain the inconsistency between the first film and the prequel is to claim Unreliable Memories on Lucian's part. The most notable changes are Sonya looking completely different in his memories (blonde and dainty-looking) from her brunette warrior woman build. There's also the matter of the full moon in the memories.
Regarding Sonja, the first film's novelization did describe her as being dark-haired. The reason she's blond in the first movie is because the actress playing her refused to dye her hair black unless she was paid more. As Underworld was in its pre-franchise infancy back then, that would have broken the movie's budget.
On the other hand, Tannis, the historian mind you, says the real reason that Viktor kept William alive wasn't to honor his bargain with Marcus, but to keep from losing his Lycan slaves; the prequel states that Lycans weren't even in existance, let alone used as laborers, until after Lucian was born, which was nearly 2 centuries after William had been captured.
Urban Fantasy: The series genre, with the notable exception of Rise of the Lycans.
Viral Transformation: The immortal brothers Marcus and William were turned into monsters by two different viruses, which they then spread to other people.
Weakened by the Light: Several vampires (including one very prominent heroine) meet their maker via this trope throughout the series, especially after the Lycans learned to develop artificial UV light as ammunition.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: While the kidnapping and experimenting on innocent humans is a little distasteful, all Lucian was really trying to do was prevent the vampires from exterminating his species.
What Happened to the Mouse?: A retro-active example: Kraven was obviously "cleaning up Viktor's messes" during the time of Rise of the Lycans, which takes place literally months before Selene's family is murdered, yet he doesn't appear or even get mentioned at all. Heck, even Soren, who has one of the least prominent roles in the series, appears briefly in the prequel.
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The city that the films are set in not only doesn't conform to any one location, but the continent that it's on can't even be conclusively determined. Characters speak with a mix of American, British and European accents, while the city contains a mix of North American and European characteristics in the vehicles (Mercedes police cruisers alongside large Ford sedans) and architecture.
The first movie shows German and Hungarian words in Michael's address, the second movie has Russian or Eastern European cops going after Michael (when he tried to eat normal food) and the fourth movie seems to be set up in either a Future American City or an Airstrip One Expy. Notice that in all movies, vehicle license plates resemble those used in European Union countries sans the country indicator.
The novels try to claim that everything takes place in Budapest and the surrounding area. The Russian truck driver in Evolution was driving home after making a delivery.
The first movie was filmed in Budapest, whereas the second and fourth film were filmed in Vancouver. In the Behind the Scenes for Underworld Awakening, they revealed where the movies were filmed. As far as in-universe, the novelization and script indicates Budapest. I wouldn't be surprised if the fourth movie was set in Budapest as well, despite being filmed in Vancouver.
The Worf Effect: Deliberately used on Selene in Awakening, to show how out of touch she is with the world. When breaking out of Antigen labs in the beginning, she is stabbed in the shoulder, leaps out a window to land painfully on a truck, is thrown from the tuck when the driver hits the breaks, and is then shot in the head by said driver. The enormous lycan is also established as a threat by the way it knocks her around.
However, Selene manages to remain a badass in that those things that happen during her escape don't hurt her, as much as they just piss her off; and she does manage to kill the uber-lycan.
The first thing Viktor does when he arrives on the scene during Lucian's attempt to rescue Sonja...flat out punch her in the face.
In the first film, he grabs Selene by the neck and hurls her across a room when he discovers her attempting to turn Michael instead of killing him as she was ordered.
Written by the Winners: Viktor rewrote vampire history to appear as if he was the original vampire, when, in fact, it was another Elder, Marcus. While he is quite willing to acknowledge the legend that vampires and werewolves came from the brother Corvinus ("One bit by a bat, the other bit by a wolf"), but he makes fun of it, probably to diminish the connection between Lycans and Vampires. On the other hand, he's quite willing to rewrite his murder of Selene's entire family.
Selene shows signs of being aware of this. She recognizes that Kraven is not enough of a warrior to have actually killed Lucian, but as the only survivor could claim that he did. She also initially comments that the Lycans started the war, but then admits that that is what is said anyway. By the second film, she's (accurately) assumed virtually everything Viktor has said is a lie.
You Sexy Beast: Vampires are sleek and seductive, dressing in stylish gothic fashions. Werewolves are brawny, rough-and-tumble men in leather. They have sex.
The vampires have plenty of sex, but Lucian is the only Lycan ever shown having sex. Plenty of Lycans brawling naked, though.
Zero-G Spot: In Rise of the Lycans, a vampire and a lycan have gravity-defying sex, hanging off the edge of a cliff.