I wasn’t expecting much out of this movie except Kate Beckinsale in a fight suit (fuck, trust me, that’s enough). C’mon, it’s a movie about a centuries old war between vampires and werewolves, it’s not going to be Casablanca. But it could have mined a rich vein of emotion if it had only tried.
Beckinsale plays Celine, a vampire “death dealer” who hunts down and kills werewolves. Currently the werewolves are on their heels, but at the beginning of the movie they are acting with previously unseen confidence because they are desperate to catch a human man named Michael Corvine for some reason.
Celine wants to take the battle to them and wipe them out once and for all, but her leader, a smarmy asshole of a vampire named Kraven (could they have picked a more obvious name?) has a different agenda and assigns the job to one of his lackeys. Obviously there’s a bunch of tension between the characters.
Of course Celine falls in love with Michael, and this isn’t a popular choice with Kraven, who’s infatuated with Celine. There’s no way you can tell that the two characters are in love except for an early kiss and Celine working inexplicably hard to keep Michael alive when it would clearly be easier to just kill him. The actors in this movie are amazingly blank, all except for Victor, the ancient leader of the vampires. Bill Nighy plays him with a sinister intelligence, and actually seems to be driven by something. Everyone else has one emotion. Celine is intense and quietly angry, Michael is scared and quietly sensitive, and Kraven is loudly, well, craven and whiny. I blame the writing.
Like I said, this could have been a meaningful movie, and it attempts to address concerns like familial love and betrayal, eugenics, and the psychological effects of longterm war and group hatred. Alas, it fails. Plus, it’s not even shot that appealingly. It’s nearly a black and white movie (well, a dark gray and darker gray movie), the filters used are so blue that details are nearly invisible. The action scenes are kenetically staged, but they’re nothing special. The best shot is of Celine landing in the street after jumping out a window, but that’s right at the beginning and also in the trailer. As Beth said, when the one thing that strikes her eye is a cool shade of lipgloss (I didn’t notice the lipgloss, I only had eyes for Beckinsale’s ass), the movie was not very good.
Of course, we were vaguely set up for a sequel, so if this makes money in the foreign market (fortunately, I don’t think Beckinsale is a big enough star to carry a movie in Japan), prepare yourself for Deeper in the Underworld or some such shit in a couple years.