- Actors: Kate Beckinsale|Michael Sheen|Shane Brolly
- Directors: Len Wiseman
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 2
- Studio: Entertainment in Video
- DVD Release Date: 16 Feb. 2004
- Run Time: 121 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 253 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0000UI2NM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,831 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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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.
Underworld 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
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If you're looking for a good, crisp, sharp image of the theatrical version of the movie then hunt down the Japanese BluRay release. I'd argue that release is actually clearer and has better colouring than this UHD release. It also has less grain, and the sound is clearer. There are multiple moments in the movie, usually during quieter dialogue, where the sound becomes incredibly tinny.
Of course, if you're not bothered about having the theatrical release then just sick with the current BluRay release of the extended edition.
Underworld itself is a subtle dark film which is half drenched in gothic splendour, evoking a particularly vampyric atmosphere and the other half is all sewers and decay, bringing to mind the animalistic world of the lycans. Age old conspiracies and bloodlines drive the plot here; not that the subject matter really requires deep plot, but it is nice to see some thought put into it. The film manages to build quite a full world in its run time one that demands to be explored in more detail, in a whole raft of sequels and prequels, which happily turns out to be the case.
The sound is atmospheric and at times quite eerie and minor sound effects, like growling and gun fire etc are all nice and meaty lending a nice weight the film.
The film is a mix of the Matrix and Romeo and Juliet, two classic bits of entertainment, given an extra boost here with a layering of two of the most popular mythical creatures. Underworld doesn't spend overly long periods pushing plotlines, it says what it needs to and then gets on with it, if that sounds like it may be a bit shallow it really isn't because you will find that you come away with the knowledge of a pretty full world as if the tale you have just watched exists within a self contained time line, in its own universe. It is a feeling that most films fail in conveying.
Another plus point to Underworld is that it has a nice lo fi late 80's early 90's feel to it, a bit like the first Robocop or the second Terminator film, it is a `quality' rather than something you can point to and for me it enhances the experience of the film, even if that may be a trick of nostalgia.
All in all this is one hell of a film which should be required viewing; perfect for those vampire nights.
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