Grossly Inaccurate Review: Underworld

Screen Gems

Kate Beckinsale

Dr. Vlad Akula

by David Wong

Ever since Mr. Potatohead stopped Toy Story 2 to give his 18-minute rant against interracial couples, I've decided I prefer films without bigotry. That's why Underworld is such a disappointment.

Much like Mel Gibson's anti-British Braveheart, this historical drama about the 1974-1982 Vampire vs. Werewolf riots in London spends precious little time trying to entertain and far too much time taking sides. Vampires are portrayed as well-dressed aristocrats and keepers of the public good (the opening "what if" scene depicting a young Hitler narrowly avoiding vampire attack is heavy-handed and ridiculous). Their werewolf enemies are greasy-haired street thugs, (filmed complete with wavy CGI effect stink-lines) who stoop down on sidewalks to eat cat poo.

Does this film point out that werewolves are actual wolves only a few times a year (to coincide with lunar cycles), whereas vampires are blood-gorged nightstalkers full time? We get dialogue about street crime rates among werewolves and we get lurid slow motion shots of distasteful werehabits (such as anus sniffing and public body hair shaving and violent rape), but no mention of the legal robbery carried out by our vampiric and immortal captains of industry who rise through the financial ranks through vast lifespans (George W. Bush and 1923 President Calvin Coolidge are the same person, by the way.)

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Sexy vampiress hero Kate Beckinsdale guns down werewolves in graceful moves and silky erotic lighting, uttering little sexy moans with each spray of fur-clotted blood. At one point she says to a male costar, "if you wish to have sex with me, you must slay a werewolf." She then turns toward the camera, rubs her nipples and whispers through pouty lips, "same goes for you out there. I will personally service any man who can mail me the unfeeling, bestial heart of a dead werebeast."

I'm not taking sides myself; I only want to see the kind of unbiased depiction that this director (302 year-old Len Wiseman) has eschewed in favor of this 90-minute anti-wolf propaganda piece. Why don't you spend some time with werewolves, Mr. Wiseman? Why don't you hold a little hairy werebaby in your arms, or take a werewolf to the park and toss around the frisbee, before damning them in a childlike good guys vs. bad guys morality tale?

I'm not going off on a rant about pro-vampiric bias in Hollywood, either; that's not what this review is about. It's true that I missed the last Blade film (coincidence that press screenings were held during the full moon?) but I've noticed that the series has gone from "hero vs. vampires" to "vampires are heroes," and that the third film, called Blade: Trinity portrays a holy trio of vampires ascending into Heaven to reign over all.

If you want mindless action-horror, look elsewhere. If you want heavy-handed sermonizing, and ridiculous scenes of humans dying painfully from burst arteries due to "excess blood" from lack of vampire attack, Underworld is for you. Just stay away from me.

Two stars.


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Posted by jtitus
9.20.03 - 1:35 PM
Subject: future


i'm from the future


Posted by mohair
9.20.03 - 3:55 PM




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