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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Horror > Underworld – Unrated (Blu-ray)

Underworld – Unrated (Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: D     Film: D



As noted several times before, the Underworld franchise is one of the dumbest, worst, silliest and most derivative of all.  Even after this first film did not do well at all, a sequel was made (which hardly did any better) and a third film is threatened.  Now, after the sequel (unreviewed) arrived on Blu-ray, Sony has issued the original 2003 film  in the format a fellow critic here on the site rightly dubbed “the most colorless color film ever made” and more can be said.


Obviously trying to imitate the look of The Matrix films (see the HD-DVD review elsewhere on this site), I recently was challenged by a friend about a comment I made on these films from my Blu-ray coverage of the equally inept Blood & Chocolate where I stated:


Matrix wanna be Underworld offered a secret world where vampires and werewolves are at war and pull out the heavy gun artillery to try and shoot each other to death, though none of them seem to remember that bullets do not work on vampires and werewolves!”



It was re-pointed out to me that the bullets were especially designed (and filled with whatever they needed to be filled with) to get rid of the given monsters.  I responded that if that were the case and made things to easy, why did they need to do two films and counting?  Because even with special bullets, you know and I know the monsters STILL will die easily.  In a much better and smarter franchise (most are) like the Wesley Snipes Blade films, such devices would actually work, permanently get rid of supernatural killers and the storyline would move on.  It proves what a rip-off the Underworld films have been.


Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy and anyone suckered into watching this mess are among the persons whose time and talents are being wasted by director Len Wiseman’s tired werewolf vs. vampire soap opera with gunfire sequences of very tired conception punctuating the boredom with loud boredom.  Seems the two supernatural sides have become the Hatfields and McCoys in their world that “humans” never can see or find, unless those humans have to sit through this dumb film.


The digital effects were dated upon arrival and really look bad now.  The Danny McBride screenplay is a mess and all the actors involved deserve much better.  So what was it like seeing this on DVD four years after its disastrous theatrical release?



Well, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is so clean, clear and vivid, it recreated how dull, dark, depressing and pointlessly decolorized the 35mm print was.  It re-reminded me how bad a film can look when you remove all of the color from the print with absolutely, positively no point.  The cinematography is by master Director of Photography Tony Pierce-Roberts, B.S.C, which probably looked good before it the color was digitally cleansed out of every single frame.  You would never know this was the master cameraman who delivered the superior work on great films like The Remains Of The Day, but it is.  Hope he got paid well.  These images, especially without the sound, could save thousands from becoming addicted to sleeping pills.


The film was originally issued at its best in a 7.1 SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) mix that did not help it at the box office and was intended as one of the more aggressive mixes to that point, but it is no match for the similar films in the genre and is too bombastic too often to have a mix with any character.  The mix is here in a PCM 16/48 5.1 mix that is not bad and sonically able, yet seems like it is trying too hard as compared to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes on The Matrix films on HD-DVD as the most immediate and obvious comparison.  Paul Haslinger’s score is nothing new either.  The combination is very good for the format, but not a great experience.  Extras include outtakes, Fang vs. Fiction documentary, seven featurettes, a Music Video, storyboard comparison and director/cast audio commentary that drags on as much as the film.


Wiseman directed the 4th Die Hard film recently, where the color was gutted out at the last minute and box office suffered as a result.  Underworld set a new low standard of color gutting of films and the bad influence is as awful as ever.  Hope the franchise is done.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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