Ok, I know I said in a recent comment that I wasn't going to bother watching this film, but I changed my mind. So sue me.
I actually tried to watch this the other day, but the first 10 minutes led me to believe that I was about to waste the following 110 minutes of my life, which could be better spent say, reorganizing the garage. But, I did have it home from Netflix, and the wife and daughter were out, so I figured what the heck... it might make for a good napping opportunity.
Imagine my suprise when I found this to be the first movie I've seen that breaks my "if the first 10 minutes stink the entire movie will stink" rule. Now understand that I'm talking strictly "popcorn flick" level here, and nothing beyond that, but for what it was, it actually got better as it progressed.
Either that or I just became numb to the whole thing.
The plot is actually fairly interesting (and might have made for a better film if done by a different group of people): Werewolves and vampires have been at war for 600 years and the vampires are winning. Our hero(ine) is Selene (played by fanboy favorite Kate Beckinsdale), a soldier-class vampire who enjoys her work and is actually getting melancholy over the fact that there are so few werewolves left to dispatch.
Underworld opens with a number of shots that told me immediately that this movie was going to be totally and completely style over substance. Don't ask me how, it's a gift. Don't get me wrong: it does look cool, but after a while too much frosting and not enough cake just isn't very appetizing.
High on the "cool factor" is a shot right at the beginning where Selene drops about 150 ft from the top of a building. They show it in two shots, a long one from the top and a shorter one from about 20 ft off the ground down to where she lands decisively in a crouch. From there it's an on-foot chase scene down into a subway where Selene and a couple of partners are following two guys who one can only assume (correctly) to be werewolves. The action is so fast and furious and the characters (with one exception) all look so similar, that it was hard for me to keep track of who was doing what to whom.