Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Sliding Jaws

So when it started clouding over a bit Saturday night we popped in to see Underworld the vampires-vs-werewolves film starring Kate Beckinsale clad head-to-toe in shiny black PVC. Most of the reviews I've read had suggested that the film looked good but there wasn't much of a story, and the extended subway shoot-em-up that begins the movie wasn't too promising. However, once the story settled down a bit and the characters were established, I soon found myself engrossed and highly entertained. If you enjoyed the dark gothic thrills of the Blade movies and Daredevil I'd advise you not to be put off by the sniffy reviews as I personally found the plot more than satisfactory in terms of twists, turns and chills: you're never quite sure who the good or bad guys and gals are, and in a film with vampires and werewolves, that's surely only right and proper.

Mind you, the actors are pretty well split down the middle between those that look the part (Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly) and those (Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy) that can actually, y'know, act a bit. Wavering somewhere down the middle is the star Kate Beckinsale who certainly has enough charisma to carry the movie (as well as a pout that seems to be gaining a life of its own) but occasionally has the demeanour of a petulant sixth-form head prefect rather than a veteran vampire warrior.

You could argue though that these incongruities add to the entertainment value of a terrific piece of escapism. And never talk again to anyone who has the temerity to tell you about the film's gory climax before you get the chance to see it for yourself.

Postscript Couldn't find any decent pictures of Beckinsale in full cape horn, so you'll have to make do with this old picture of Kate in a corset. Interestingly, her female co-star Sophia Myles will next be seen as Lady Penelope in the Thunderbirds movie.


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