Legends of vampires and werewolves have been around for thousands of years, but it was the comedy Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein that first introduced the concept of both creatures being at war with each other. In that case the Wolfman’s alter ego Larry Talbot, who in every previous film was consumed with either curing his curse or ending his life, had discovered that Dracula had taken possession of the Frankenstein Monster, and decided to stop the Count from using the monster to conquer the world. It was just a plot point to explain why all three monsters would be in the same movie, but lead to the climactic battle between The Wolfman and Dracula. Since then other works of fiction suggested that Vampires and Werewolves did not get along, but it was Lev Wiseman’s Underworld that was the first major motion picture to depict an all out war between both. Underworld was conceived as a trilogy. The first two would follow the story of Selene ( Kate Beckinsale ), a vampire who’s job as a “Death Dealer” was to hunt down and kill Lycans ( the fancy Greek name for Werewolf ). In the first two movies the blood feud between both races of monsters is explained as Selene uncovers secrets from the past that explain what began the war in the first place. There is also the romance that blooms between her and Michael Corvin ( Scott Speedman ) who is a rare mix breed of both Lycan and Vampire. The third movie was to be a prequel that showed the origin of the Lycan and Vampire war and would include the origin of Selene’s character. However, during production of the prequel Wiseman turned over directing duties to Patrick Tatopoulos, and the character Selene was removed from the script. Wiseman had fallen in love with Kate during the shooting of the first movie and married her soon after, so if his departure as director was less than amicable then that would be a reason why Kate refused to be in the prequel. Instead the third movie features Rhona Mitra as Sonya, the daughter of the vampire king who’s love affair with a Lycan sparks off the eventual war.
The Underworld trilogy are well made action adventure fantasies with an intelligent mythology. The action in the first movie, which takes place in modern times, is mostly gun battles that seem to be a combination of the Matrix trilogy and John Woo. A bigger budget in the second movie shifts most of the action to CGI monsters fighting each other, while the third movie taking place in Medieval Europe uses swords and crossbows. Since we are dealing with vampires here who burn when exposed to sunlight, nearly all of the scenes take place during the dark of night, giving the movie an otherworldly sense of gloom. The biggest drawback to the movies is trying to keep track of the back stories of each character, the ruling elder vampires in particular. It happens in between the action scenes where characters discuss who did what to whom hundreds of years earlier motivating the events in the present.This could lead to confusion to most viewers and will lead to a lot of rewinding the movie to earlier scenes.
No reason to isolate any scenes in the first two movies. Kate’s character is in most of the scenes and is always wearing the same outfit, a latex catsuit covered by a leather bustier and leather armbands, occasionally with the addition of a leather overcoat. One exception is 33 minutes into the first movie where for a few scenes Kate is wearing a leather top and latex leggings. The second movie adds the element of water. While Kate was out in the rain for part of the fist movie, in the sequel she swims and wades through water in two scenes. Except for a brief clip of Kate edited from the first movie and tacked onto the ending, she is not in the third movie. Rhona Mitra’s character Sonya wears what appears to be leather armor in much of the movie, but otherwise does not wear any fetish outfits.