Underworld (One Sheet)

I remember seeing the one sheet for Underworld quite a while ago and dismissing it almost immediately. IMHO, the last thing The Cinema™ needs right now is another Matrix | Crow | Blade | Dark City knock-off with some gun-toting babe in patent leather pants doing that whole neo-gothic “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” schtick. I’m still recovering from the crushing disappointment of The Matrix Reloaded.

Never mind that excrutiating scene with The Architect, the eye-watering inanity of the orgasmic chocolate cake, or the fact that the Wachowski brothers have set themselves up for a midichlorian-sized blunder in the third film of the series, the biggest disappointment of The Matrix Reloaded was the fact that, when it comes right down to it, Trinity might as well have spent the duration of the film in a housecoat and slippers.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…crashing through high-rise windows with guns ablazin’, racing motorcycles against traffic, destroying security posts, nmap exploits, blah, blah, blah. A housecoat and slippers, I tell you!

Mind you, I’ve got nothing against Carrie Anne Moss, who is doing a tremendous job with what she’s been given, but what she’s been given lately is nothing more than a vehicle for Larry Wachowski to work through his personal issues.

So, anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah…Underworld, underwhelmed. But, after finally seeing the trailer for Underworld, my reaction has gone from:

“That’s so lame…”


“That’s so cool…”

Why? Because it turns out that the gun-toting babe in patent leather pants in question is none other than Kate Beckinsale.

I’m a huge fan of Kate Beckinsale’s, though I will readily admit that my feelings have more to do with my belief in her potential than with actual past performance. Ms. Beckinsale, after all, has an inate ability to set the screen on fire that is eclipsed only by her steadfast refusal to do so. But in the trailer for Underworld she looks great. She makes Jennifer Garner in Daredevil look like Shannen Doherty in Beverly Hills, 90210.

(Tangentially, Underworld also stars Scott Speedman, who got his big break on Felicity, which also featured Scott Foley, who Jennifer Garner is in the process of divorcing.)

But, other than Ms. Beckinsale, the movie has disaster written all over it:

  • Here is the synopsis:

    Underworld reimagines Vampires as a secretive clan of modern, aristocratic sophistcates whose mortal enemies are the Lycan, a shrewd gang of street thugs who prowl the city’s underbelly. The balance of power is upset when a beautiful young Vampire and nascent Lycan — deadly rivals for centuries — fall in love.

    Hmmm… I appreciate a gothic Romeo and Juliet as much as the next man, but that description doesn’t make the film sound terribly compelling to me. Granted, lichen can withstand great extremes of heat, cold, and drought, but in any battle pitting vampires against a rock-clinging compound organism made up of fungus, algae, and/or cyanobacteria, my money’s going to be on the blood-sucking immortals who are capable of locomotion.

    What? “Lycan?” As in “lycanthrope” — werewolves? Oh, that’s very different…

  • It’s being billed as a “British-German-Hungarian-United States Co-Production.” Isn’t that the same combination that gave us Zsa-Zsa Gabor?

  • The trailer reeks of quality editing. This usually means that all of the editing budget and resources were concentrated on the trailer, leaving the film itself to be edited by summer interns.

  • It was directed by Len Wiseman whose only professional film credits up to this point are as an assistant prop guy for Independence Day and Stargate, though he did direct a Megadeth music video once.

  • It was written by:

    1. The aforementioned Mr. Wiseman.

    2. Kevin Grevioux, a gentleman with no previous writing credits, but who played the part of “Associate Goon” in Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. (I’m not making this up.)

    3. Danny McBride, whose “anonymous” bio on IMDb actually contains the following sentence:

      Danny’s mother, Pati, a talented folk painter, urged him to be creative, caring, and, above all else, loyal to his true friends…which, according to Danny was “Crucial to surviving the most dangerous jungle of all — Los Angeles.”

      Is this the caliber of writing we can expect?

  • Ms. Beckinsale recently left her long-time boyfriend (and father of her four-year-old daughter, Lily) for the aforementioned Mr. Wiseman. Actresses and directors linking up on set is rarely a good sign for the quality of a film.

  • Ms. Beckinsale just wrapped Van Hesling, a film starring Hugh Jackman that also features vampires and werewolves. I don’t think she would have signed on for a second film with the same subject matter if she had any faith in the first.

In other words, I can’t wait!!! I mean, just because a film is going to be a disaster is no reason not to go see it. Heck, I saw the trailer for Underworld when I went to see Gigli. Crap holds no fear for me!