During a routine cull on the last remaining Lycans (werewolves), Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire, discovers that the Lycans have developed a new weapon for slaying their immortal enemies.
After Selene's discovery is dismissed by the vampire regent (Shane Brolly), she makes a further finding when she notices that the Lycans were tracking a human, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman).
Despite the vampire legend telling of the killing of the Lycan leader (Michael Sheen) centuries ago, Selene finds him alive and well when she looks for Corvin. It seems that the battle isn't won just yet.
The most disappointing thing about Underworld is its insistence that there will be a sequel (of which there have been two, along with a prequel). The ending gives the impression that the film is incomplete and that only half the story has been told so, as a standalone film it is poor in this respect. Even Lord of the Rings finished each part with a satisfying ending despite its clear intentions to continue in another film. Perhaps as a series Underword is a more rounded story, but as a standalone film there is something definitely missing.
Up until the 'unfinished' ending, the film slowly draws you into its gothic world which is visually stunning. The set and special effects compliment the costumes perfectly and, despite having to question "was that really Michael Sheen?" (bizarrely, this is something I also questioned when I watched Othello), the characters are suitably portrayed by their respective actors.
Kate Beckinsale, as Salene, leads the film very well from within her skin-tight leather costume and Matrix-style caped trench coat. Her character is never necessarily considered to be leader of her clan, but she takes complete control of the screen as she undoubtedly entices each and every male viewer. On the wolf side, Michael Sheen is slick, calm and collected. While Beckinsale runs around frantically, he brings a sense of sly omnipotent omniscience and they offset each other beautifully.
I do look forward to watching the sequels, but as a standalone film this is simply not good enough at closing the story.