UNDERWORLD

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Release Date: September 19, 2003

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly, and Michael Sheen

Genre: Action Thriller/Fantasy/Horror

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Jerry
Langford UNDERWORLD opens as
the leather-clad assassin
Selene (Kate Beckinsale)
stands high atop a darkened
cathedral, watching people
move steadily through a rainy
night in London. She is a
vampire, and she is hunting,
but not for innocent victims.
She is a "death dealer,"
honoring a centuries-old feud
between noble vampires and the
dangerous werewolves who lurk
beneath the streets of the
city. Her job is to track down
the remaining Lycans
(werewolves) and exterminate
them. Within minutes, her team
identifies two large
candidates following a human
(Speedman) into a subway, and
the chase begins. UNDERWORLD
wastes no time kicking this
full-on action thriller into
high gear. The battle scenes,
intentionally reminiscent of
THE MATRIX and BLADE movies,
are loud, and the special
effects are chilling. The evil
werewolves have discovered a
way of harnessing "daylight in
a bullet." Using new
irradiated bullets, a single
shot can now kill a vampire.
How did they acquire such
advanced technology? Why are
they after this human who
risks his life to save others
in danger? More important,
does this signify an uprising
by the weakened
Lycans? Vampire warrior Selene
may be beautiful, but she is
all business as she hunts,
fights, kills and,
occasionally, flees from
overwhelming odds. After
watching a fellow death dealer
die from the new Lycan
weaponry, she pursues the
answers raised by this new
turn of events. She uncovers a
terrifying plot, a secret
alliance forged between the
races. Working frantically
against the clock, she must
find proof of her discovery
and track down this unique
human before the Lycans
capture him and use his blood
in their diabolical
scheme. UNDERWORLD is an
exciting horror thriller
employing a storyline with
real teeth. The complex plot
is above average for this
genre, and yet the movie still
has an inexplicable underbite.
It falls short of grisly
greatness for several reasons.
For example, the primarily
British cast, while not as
recognizable to American
audiences, adds additional
confusion because the viewer
must sort out villains and
heroes (or is it, lesser
villains?) among a sea of
faces. The other weakness is
the movie's own inability to
sustain the seriousness in
which it approaches its
subject matter. Die-hard fans
of this genre absolutely do
not appreciate snickers and
chuckling among the audience
late in the film, even if the
room is indeed filled with
less-enthralled reviewers and
fans. Ultimately, the
anticipated final battle is a
bit of a let down compared to
the momentum the movie
actually builds. Overall,
however, it is a terrific
action ride with decent
plot-twists and genuine
surprises. The violence is at
times gory and graphic, but
usually brief and mostly of
the "video game" variety. An
intriguing and pleasant
surprise is the fact that
humans are not a food
component in UNDERWORLD.
Unlike many other movies in
this genre, UNDERWORLD's clans
rely on cloned blood to avoid
the frowned-upon "feeding" of
regular folk. Another surprise
is Kate Beckinsale's ability
to carry the movie. She
falters in minor areas from
time to time, such as sloppy
or sluggish gun play which
reveals the actress could have
practiced harder, but she is
quite convincing in her steely
intense portrayal of the
fierce werewolf hunter and
vampire warrior. UNDERWORLD
manages to avoid the typical
occult trappings often found
in movies of this kind. It is
clearly fantasy and is content
to dwell there. Its setting is
present day, but the human
race is largely left out of
the storyline. The events
transpire in the UNDERWORLD
recesses, sewers, and subways
of civilized society.
Finally, this is clearly an
"origin" movie with hopes of
developing these fresh new
characters in multiple
sequels. Box office success
will undoubtedly determine
this new franchise's
future. UNDERWORLD contains
excessive violence and dark
themes of paganism. It may
have much in the way of
religious symbolism, but it is
as unsatisfying to the
discerning viewer as it is to
the fictional lives of its
walking dead characters.
Still, it is perhaps somewhat
telling that Hollywood
typically relegates the idea
of immortality to
fantasy. Please address your
comments to: John Calley,
Chairman/CEO Sony Pictures
Entertainment 10202 West
Washington Blvd. Culver City,
CA 90232-3195 Phone: (310)
244-4000 Fax: (310)
244-2626 Web Page:
www.spe.sony.com/

Rating: R

Runtime: 121 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(PaPa, O, B, C, LL, VVV, N, D, MM) Strong pagan worldview about a bloody feud between immortal clans of vampires and werewolves, with some occult, moral, and light redemptive, Christian allegorical elements, as well as centuries-old sleeping vampires "re-awakened" by draining blood into their mouths and weak occult reference to the vampire clans as "covens", otherwise, fantasy story patterns itself mostly on religious themes and roles (characters accept the "gift" of immortality and revere their leaders using "my lord," acknowledge they are "lost" without them and need their "guidance") and moral man risks his life twice to save innocents and people in danger, ultimately, love and good triumphs over evil; eight obscenities (three "f" words) and two profanities; mostly "video game"-type violence, but very strong, includes vampire and werewolf bites, shootings, fighting, creatures attacking and mauling, skin boiling in sunlight, explosions, numerous death scenes, sword fightings and stabbings, blade stuck through man's leg, car crashes, brief glimpse of body parts in basement, men hanging in a torture room, much blood is shed and shown (of course), men changing into scary creatures complete with intense sound effects, doctor removes bullets and sharp weapons from man's body, and one graphic scene shows a man's head cut in half; one brief kiss, upper male nudity, some female cleavage shown, and woman in tight leather outfit, but no other sex or nudity; no alcohol; very little smoking; and, themes of lies, betrayal, revenge, loyalty, and exploring history is a forbidden practice by one clan (used by its leader to control his subjects) and it is ultimately rebuked.

GENRE: Action Thriller/Fantasy/Horror

PaPa

O

B

C

LL

N

D

VVV

HH

MM

Summary:

UNDERWORLD is about a centuries-old feud between noble vampires and the dangerous werewolves who lurk beneath the streets of the present day city. Intentionally reminiscent of THE MATRIX and BLADE movies, UNDERWORLD is an exciting horror thriller employing a storyline with real teeth, but its excessive violence and dark themes of paganism should deter discerning viewers.

Review:

UNDERWORLD opens as the leather-clad assassin Selene (Kate Beckinsale) stands high atop a darkened cathedral, watching people move steadily through a rainy night in London. She is a vampire, and she is hunting, but not for innocent victims. She is a "death dealer," honoring a centuries-old feud between noble vampires and the dangerous werewolves who lurk beneath the streets of the city. Her job is to track down the remaining Lycans (werewolves) and exterminate them. Within minutes, her team identifies two large candidates following a human (Speedman) into a subway, and the chase begins.

UNDERWORLD wastes no time kicking this full-on action thriller into high gear. The battle scenes, intentionally reminiscent of THE MATRIX and BLADE movies, are loud, and the special effects are chilling. The evil werewolves have discovered a way of harnessing "daylight in a bullet." Using new irradiated bullets, a single shot can now kill a vampire. How did they acquire such advanced technology? Why are they after this human who risks his life to save others in danger? More important, does this signify an uprising by the weakened Lycans?

Vampire warrior Selene may be beautiful, but she is all business as she hunts, fights, kills and, occasionally, flees from overwhelming odds. After watching a fellow death dealer die from the new Lycan weaponry, she pursues the answers raised by this new turn of events. She uncovers a terrifying plot, a secret alliance forged between the races. Working frantically against the clock, she must find proof of her discovery and track down this unique human before the Lycans capture him and use his blood in their diabolical scheme.

UNDERWORLD is an exciting horror thriller employing a storyline with real teeth. The complex plot is above average for this genre, and yet the movie still has an inexplicable underbite. It falls short of grisly greatness for several reasons. For example, the primarily British cast, while not as recognizable to American audiences, adds additional confusion because the viewer must sort out villains and heroes (or is it, lesser villains?) among a sea of faces. The other weakness is the movie's own inability to sustain the seriousness in which it approaches its subject matter. Die-hard fans of this genre absolutely do not appreciate snickers and chuckling among the audience late in the film, even if the room is indeed filled with less-enthralled reviewers and fans. Ultimately, the anticipated final battle is a bit of a let down compared to the momentum the movie actually builds. Overall, however, it is a terrific action ride with decent plot-twists and genuine surprises. The violence is at times gory and graphic, but usually brief and mostly of the "video game" variety.

An intriguing and pleasant surprise is the fact that humans are not a food component in UNDERWORLD. Unlike many other movies in this genre, UNDERWORLD's clans rely on cloned blood to avoid the frowned-upon "feeding" of regular folk. Another surprise is Kate Beckinsale's ability to carry the movie. She falters in minor areas from time to time, such as sloppy or sluggish gun play which reveals the actress could have practiced harder, but she is quite convincing in her steely intense portrayal of the fierce werewolf hunter and vampire warrior.

UNDERWORLD manages to avoid the typical occult trappings often found in movies of this kind. It is clearly fantasy and is content to dwell there. Its setting is present day, but the human race is largely left out of the storyline. The events transpire in the UNDERWORLD recesses, sewers, and subways of civilized society.

Finally, this is clearly an "origin" movie with hopes of developing these fresh new characters in multiple sequels. Box office success will undoubtedly determine this new franchise's future.

UNDERWORLD contains excessive violence and dark themes of paganism. It may have much in the way of religious symbolism, but it is as unsatisfying to the discerning viewer as it is to the fictional lives of its walking dead characters. Still, it is perhaps somewhat telling that Hollywood typically relegates the idea of immortality to fantasy.

Please address your comments to:

John Calley, Chairman/CEO

Sony Pictures Entertainment

10202 West Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Phone: (310) 244-4000

Fax: (310) 244-2626

Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/

SUMMARY: UNDERWORLD is about a centuries-old feud between noble vampires and the dangerous werewolves who lurk beneath the streets of the present day city. Intentionally reminiscent of THE MATRIX and BLADE movies, UNDERWORLD is an exciting horror thriller employing a storyline with real teeth, but its excessive violence and dark themes of paganism should deter discerning viewers.

In Brief: