So, I’m confused. When you become a vampire, do they issue you the gothy, lacey, leathery all-black wardrobe? Or are only people who already dress in gothy all-black leather-
The answer is not immediately apparent from Underworld, though it does seem to indicate that vampire covens are rather like goth nightclubs where Eurotrash hipsters lounge around smoking and showing off their wardrobes and bitching about who’s sucking who and complaining about the management. And also vampires live in cities where it never stops raining and the streets are cobblestoned and everything’s in a shabby-
That desolation is probably meant as Significant by director Len Wiseman, whose roots as a maker of TV commercials and music videos is all too obvious. In this all-
You see, this is the Serious, Real story of vampires and their centuries-
And so — since this is Serious and Real and Significant and all about loneliness and tragedy and what have you — Serious Actress Kate Beckinsale (Laurel Canyon, Pearl Harbor) is deployed as Selene, the sad vampire in black leather who’s badass with her guns loaded with silver bullets (all the better to kill Lycans, my dear). She intones many a magnificently overblown voiceover detailing her vampiric sadness but even she can’t make us believe, in the two or three scenes she has with her Romeo, that she’s in love with him, or is even aware of his presence in any personally meaningful way. Romeo is Scott Speedman (Dark Blue, Duets), who’s such a blank slate of an actor that you can understand why he would be beneath Selene’s notice, though that’s not at the intention here. One kiss out of nowhere does not a legendary romance make, no matter how Lonely and Tragic and Other everyone is so desperate to convince us they are.
Neither the vampires nor the Lycans are particularly frightening, at least no more so than anyone armed to the teeth with semiautomatic weapons would be. They’re not particularly sexually threatening, for all the supposed romance and lust we’re supposed to imagine is at play. The only thing they are is hilariously over the top, with the flouncing and the leather and the angst of millennia and the running around in the rain.