Reviews: Underworld

Underworld: Blood Wars

Um... what to say... I think the series may have just passed the point of no return. Just a warning, some spoilers for the series.

Let's be honest, every Underworld fan knows the series is really just a bunch of bloody trash. Cruel, mean-spirited, violent fun featuring a lady in a catsuit. The plot was never great and the films were often desperately slow and pretentious.

But they had this... grit and a kind of mystique. It was always dark, the music was usually this bleak horror flick stuff, it was kind of sci-fi (barely, the monsters were caused by a virus), every character had plenty of build up... it was rubbish, but stylish rubbish.

Most importantly, the violence was brilliant, or at least there was one scene that stuck with you. Viktor's head sliding off, Marcus getting shoved into helicopter blades, Viktor being stabbed through the mouth, some evil scientist getting his larynx and spine ripped out and a giant werewolf exploding into mist. It all had this kind of gritty, horror flick feel. They were memorable.

Well, guess what, they've screwed it all! All those things I just mentioned? It's all gone. Literally all of it. It's bright, the blood is literally crimson, the music is terrible, apparently it's now a fantasy series (I mean, it always was, but still), characters come and go like snowflakes in a desert and the violence... oh lord. I don't remember a single violent moment that has stuck with me. Thing is, that's most of the movie.

The bit where new Lycan leader Marius turned into a giant lycan than turned his face human again was too much. It just turned the entire thing into farce. You can't rip away a series's mystique like that. You just can't.

Watch it... just watch it and be amazed at how a bad vampire series can actually jump the shark...

A series of films that are A BETRAYAL TO THE COVEN AND ME


So, Underworld. To go straight to the point: These movies are trashy. It runs pretty much entirely on Rule of Cool, with the impractical weapons, clothing, and schizophrenic lightning.

By far the best thing is the aesthetic. The very dark and somber lightning and locations, giving the series a overall gritty and gothic feel, it's all in all very creative. The characters are flat and underdeveloped, basically cardboard cutouts of the roles they're supposed to feel, not helped by the Anyone Can Die vibe of the series, with many character of potential being killed after a movie or so (like Alexander Corvinus). The only exception is Viktor, who is actually the character with most depth, being sort of a Affably Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist Tragic Villain acted by the wonderful Bill Nighy. Unfortunately he only has a considerable role in two of the four movies.

The action scenes are generally great. Not very original and sometimes hard to see due the ever-so-present darkness, but still great.

The plot is frankly extraneous. The movies try to make it interesting by adding a sizeable amount of plot twists, which is a treat, but it is still all very generic, and worse, it features one of the most outrageous cases of The Extremist Was Right ever: First movie, Viktor claims a hybrid will destroy the Coven and bring ruin to all, and for such claim he's supposed to be a paranoid jerkass for such claims. Notice that a hybrid destroying the coven and bringing ruin to all is the plot of the second movie.. Viktor was the hero of the first movie. and in the second he was the one who trapped the rampaging beast of William. And following his death, an entire clusterfuck of events (more or less caused by the heroes) results in the destruction of the entire vampire and lycan world. He's only a real antagonist in the third.

Final veredict? Movies you should watch on DVD when you have nothing else on the list. Fun to waste a few hours, but other than

As If The Vampire/Werewolf Genre Needed To Be Trashier

You know I came into this movie expecting it to be really stupid, fanservice centric, with a predictable plot and storyline. I fear I may have overestimated the film. Like the Resident Evil films its protagonist is primarily eye candy with various overpowered abilities that get at best get handwaved, who gains and loses powers as the plot demands, and never seriously gets set back. Having just seen the final film I don't even tolerate her character anymore - or the direction the people who are making this tripe are taking it. In the first one, the story was first revealed, Selene is a standard heroine with a dark and troubled past, and she never really develops from there - oh but she gets into a relationship with Michael...who is kind of just...there for most of the movies. By far, Awakening was the worst, you go in expecting this epic war between Humans, Lycans, and Vampires. What do you get? More of the freaking same, the human army only appears in the very beginning, the set pieces are underwhelming from there on, with the only 'human soldiers' being generic security guards who turn out to be - surprise! Werewolves. In fact almost everyone introduced in the third film is a werewolf, we get a token vampire buddy to Selene who is borderline Vampire Jesus herself now, a token human who at first seems like maybe he will be a complex character but nope, and two generic villains. Pump in a bunch of unnecessary CGI, really bad practical effects, and crappy fight choreography alongside an obnoxious protagonist who is actually a huge bitch with little to no personality and you have a stinker that gives the Twilight series a run for its money. Oh but there's blood and guts, which does nothing to make it better, it's just there, like a lot of the characters. I hope the directors never ever ever make another one.