Perched on a ledge high above a dark, rain soaked city, a woman and her companion watch and wait. For Selene (Kate Beckinsale), this is a night like many others where she will seek out Lycans (werewolves), and eliminate them in accordance with a centuries old blood feud between the two mythical races.

With the Lycans thought to be on the verge of extinction the vampires are preparing to form a new coven by merging with a powerful overseas clan. Towards this end, members of both houses plan to awaken one of their two great leaders to guide the vampires into a new era of prosperity. Selene is troubled by the plans, as she believes that the Lychans are massing in greater numbers under the leadership of their leader Lucian (Michael Sheen), whom the vampires believe died centuries ago.

Further complicating matters is Selene’s concern that the present leader of the vampires Kraven (Shane Brolly), may not be willing to release the power he now holds and that the Lichens interest in a mortal named Michael (Scott Speedman), may indeed be the key to a larger threat to her people.

Selene is forced to defy Kraven and leave the safety of the vampire mansion to locate Michael before the Lychan hordes are able to and use him for their sinister plans. While the action in “Underworld” is loud, it never seems to have the intensity that it should, as the sense of urgency and tension seems to be missing. The cast is good, but they do not display much emotional depth and this hinders the efforts of the audience to form a connection with the characters and care for their fates.

That being said, “Underworld” does a fantastic job with breathing new life into the vampire genre. Director Len Wiseman bathes the viewers in images of eerie translucence that combine various color hues to create a look that enhances the action by surrounding it in an otherworldly ambience.

Writers Kevin Grevioux and Danny McBride are to be commended for breathing new life into the genres as he gives us a tale that entertains yet expands upon the traditional lore of the creatures and if for nothing else, that alone makes “Underworld” pure entertainment and a must see film for fans of the genre.
3 stars out of 5