For centuries, two races have evolved. Hidden deeply within human culture the aristocratic, sophisticated Vampires and the brutal, feral Lycans (werewolves). To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth. But to each other, they are the lifelong mortal rivals, sworn to wage a secret war until only one race is left standing. In the midst of this ongoing struggle, a Vampire warrior, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), discovers a Lycan plot, a secret that has terrifying repercussions for both tribes a plot to awaken a new invincible species of predator that combines the strengths of both creatures and the weaknesses of neither.
is a hybrid thriller that rewrites the rulebook on werewolves and vampires--imagine Blade
meets The Crow
and The Matrix
. It's a "cuisinart" movie (blend a lot of familiar ideas and hope something interesting happens) in which immortal vampire "death dealers" wage an ancient war against "Lycans" (werewolves), who've got centuries of revenge--and some rather ambitious genetic experiments--on their lycanthropic agenda. Given his preoccupation with gloomy architecture (mostly filmed in Budapest, Hungary), frenetic mayhem and Gothic costuming, it's no surprise that first-time director Len Wiseman gained experience in TV commercials and the art departments of Godzilla
, Men in Black
and Independence Day
. His work is all surface, no substance, filled with derivative, grand-scale action as conflicted vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale, who later became engaged to Wiseman) struggles to rescue an ill-fated human (Scott Speedman) from Lycan transformation. It's great looking all the way, and a guaranteed treat for horror buffs, who will eagerly dissect its many strengths and weaknesses. --Jeff Shannon