Review by Staci Layne Wilson for Horror.com
Underworld is the story of a vampy vampire (a Neo-fied Kate Beckinsale) who falls for what should be her sworn enemy, a werewolf (dude-in-distress Scott Speedman). But Underworld isn't so much about flesh and blood characters as it is about stone and leather -- it's preoccupied with gloomy architecture and tight animal-skin costumes. As long you know you're in for goth comic book style over substance, Underworld works and keeps you entertained for it's 2-hour running time.
Underworld centers on the story of a centuries-old war between the two immortal species and features more ballet than blood in the dazzling fight sequences. The lycan morphing moments are sure to please even the most discerning eye; director Len Wiseman (who became engaged to Beckinsale during the making of this movie) obviously cared about the look of this, his first feature, and took great care in making sure everything was picture perfect. It's a shame he didn't take such care in the casting; Beckinsale is excellent as a child of the night, and so is the over-the-top Bill Nighy ("Love Actually") as her cranky vampire daddy, but two major players -- the ambitious fang-face played by Shane Brolly and the clammy-cold Speedman -- are terribly miscast and in effect, toothless.
There are some great ideas in the movie -- high-tech ways for each side to kill the other, in particular -- and it's definitely fast-paced and action-packed, but there is a certain sense of soul that's missing, making Underworld a fun but forgettable fantasy flick.
When Underworld hit theaters last September, audiences were underwhelmed. But perhaps it will enjoy eternal life on DVD -- it is pretty to look at, and easier to swallow in the comfort of your own gothic castle.
The DVD packs quite a bite with it's plethora of additional release material. There are two sets of over-the-movie audio commentaries 1) Len Wiseman (Director), and Danny McBride (Screenwriter) and Kevin Grevioux (Cast and Executive Producer); 2) Technical Crew. There are also several featurettes which focus mostly on the exceptional special effects, and have insightful interviews with Wiseman, showing some of his original -- and ultimately discarded -- concepts for the creatures. Appropriately, one featurette concentrates just on "The Look of Underworld" and is definitely the most interesting. There's also a storyboard comparison and trailers.