Underworld - the Superbit Edition - on DVD
Vampires. Werewolves. Cool weapons. Kate Beckinsale in tight leather.
How could you go wrong?
Underworld has a great idea, and enough potential for ten movies. It delivers
pretty much what you expect from it, but for some reason you still feel unsatisfied.
Selene (Beckinsale) is a bad-ass vampire whose job is pretty much to kick the
crap out of the rival lycans (werewolves). When she notices they seem to be
following a human, Michael (Scott Speedman), she goes deeper into the underworld
to figure out why. Most of us can probably figure out that the two begin to
fall for each other, but their love is forbidden, not only because shes
a vampire, but also because Michael has been bitten by a werewolf, and will
soon become one.
Together, the two have to figure out what started this centuries-old war between
the two species, while trying to protect themselves and the ones they care about.
Initially, you cant imagine how Underworld could possibly not be a phenomenal
action movie. But as it progresses, it all becomes unfortunately clear. Not
to say that it isnt still entertaining enough in its own right, but you
expect so much more. It tries to be dark, but isnt as dark as it should
be (or tries to be), and most of the action scenes dont deliver anything
new at all.
Kate Beckinsale was an excellent choice to play Selene. Shes equal parts
brash, naïve, vulnerable, and strong. Shes not bad to look at, either.
Scott Speedman is just handsome enough to pull off his role, but he seems to
be more of a way to keep the story together than an actual major character.
Newcomer Len Wiseman has put together an impressive debut. He and screenwriter
Danny McBride created a neat little world similar to that in Blade, but original
enough to not get sued. Underworld is a fun little action movie thats
worth a rental, but get ready to be perpetually thinking: This could be
so much better!
Underworld is now available as part of the Superbit series, the third version
of the film on DVD this year. This version features 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen
and Dolby Digital and dts audio tracks, and the usual lack of extras. Its
pretty much a black movie with minimal color, but the picture quality is flawless.
Skin tones are handled well, and detail is perfectly visible down to the finest
grain. There are no foreign objects, either, which is important for such a dark
Audio is pretty good, but not as good as wed expect from a Superbit title.
Its mostly front-restricted, which is odd considering how much bang-bang
shoot-em-up action there is. Speaker panning is frequent, although bullets (and
whatever else happens to be panning) seem to go from side to side, rather than
front to back. Much of the dialogue muffling that was present on the first DVD
release seems to have been corrected here, which is nice. The tracks are still
aggressive, so most of the time you wont notice the lack of surrounds,
but its an odd choice regardless.
Not having seen the directors cut of Underworld, we cant solidly
recommend one version over it. However, as far as the theatrical versions go,
this is the version to purchase.
Underworld, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
121 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly and Bill
Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright
Screenplay by Danny McBride, Directed by Len Wiseman
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think