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Kate Beckinsale’s ‘Underworld’ Movies, Ranked


Star-crossed lovers have been depicted in many ventures, but none quite like Underworld. There is nothing like werewolves and vampires duking it out with automatic weapons. 

This is the world that vampire Death Dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) lives in. Turned centuries ago, the leather-clad queen of the night is consumed with killing every lycanthrope she can. A clear allegory for racism, Underworld’s war between between two supernatural races fires on all cylinders. Selene questions her personal crusade when she discovers a conspiracy at the highest levels of her coven — and when she falls in love with the human, Michael (Scott Speedman). Underworld has something for everyone. Horror. Romance. Epic battles. And though not every film in the franchise exists in cult classic territory, they’re ultimately worth the watch. 

5. Underworld: Awakening

At its best, Underworld is a love story. Take that away, and you’re left with mythology and choreographed fight sequences that are soulless. That is what Selene discovers when she awakens after years in captivity. The love of her immortal life is gone, and she is in a world she no longer recognizes. Humanity has become of the existence of Lycans and vampires, and now they have become the hunted. This result inherently takes the mystique out of the world. 

Underworld: Awakening furthers the story by introducing audiences to Michael and Selene’s daughter, Eve (India Eisley) but with little payoff. Instead of a story grounded in character like the first film, Awakening devotes screen time to developing a Super-Lycan paired with questionable CGI. In a series whose calling card was the practical effects of the Lycan makeup, Awakening does not meet expectations. This entry, while with many of the hallmarks, fails to get to the point of what the story was about. Michael’s absence from the film is a stark reminder of what is missing from the story. 

4. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

A prequel that no one really asked for, the first chronological film of the series shows the origins of Lycan leader, Lucien. At the end of the day, Michael Sheen saves the movie in his reprisal of the werewolf leader. We see his beginnings as a slave to the vampire lord, Viktor (Bill Nighy). The first werewolf to be born with human qualities, Lucien becomes the obvious choice for a Lycan uprising. 

But as we all know by watching the first film, this story ends in tragedy. After falling in love with Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), the coven leader elects to execute her because she is pregnant with a vampire-werewolf hybrid. The story is just a rehash of what fans were already aware of and gives no real catharsis for Lucien. Any satisfaction comes centuries later in the first Underworld film. For now, Lucien has to watch his lover die and not get the revenge he so desperately needs. The only joy out of this film is seeing Sheen chew the scenery, as well as a multitude of vampires. 

3. Underworld: Blood Wars

The fifth entry in the Underworld series returns to the immersive lore that fans are accustomed to. After Selene’s many crimes in the name of love, she is once again hunted by Lycans and vampires alike. Because of her special hybrid blood, she is a hot commodity. Speedman still hasn’t returned to the franchise, which puts a damper on the emotional stakes of the film. Blood Wars officially kills him off, putting the kibosh on Speedman ever returning to the franchise. While a long shot, saying goodbye to the potential of the lovers reuniting is unfortunate. 

But the appearances of Charles Dance, Lara Pulver, and Theo James heighten the material. The film was a return to form that proved some lifeblood in this franchise remained. Selene increases her powers yet again and finds solace with the daughter she shares with Michael. If this is a true end to the series, Underworld could do worse.

2. Underworld: Evolution

The battle for survival continues in the second installment of the Underworld series. Selene’s act of killing Viktor and turning Michael into a hybrid has turned all the factions against them. And then there is the added issue of Marcus (Tony Curran), a vampire elder who has just been reawakened by ingesting Lycan blood. The result is turning him into a winged hybrid, who has motives of his own. The only way for Selene and Michael to defeat Marcus is by chasing down the legend that started it all: The virus that turned humans into werewolves and vampires.

Underworld: Evolution expands on a fascinating world while delving deep into the forbidden love between Michael and Selene. The two finally consummate their affection in a direct sequel that is sexier and far more violent. The only downside is the supreme lack of Lucien, who is a delight in any capacity.

1. Underworld

There is no film like the first. The 2003 monster fest introduced the world to the Death Dealing Selene and her crusade against the horde of Lycans. Though the series could be perceived as silly at first glance, don’t let it fool you. If you buy into the gun-toting take on classic movie monsters, there is a film worth watching. Beckinsale shines as Selene, who is devoted to her surrogate vampire father, only to be betrayed by him. The love-lorn Lucien is played by the incomparable Sheen, who refuses to dial back his performance.

Centuries after Viktor killed Lucien’s vampire wife, he still struggles to keep her alive by finding a way to make a vampire-werewolf hybrid. Just like the child he and Sonja would have had should she have been spared. Finally, Lucien’s efforts come to fruition when he finds a human descendant of the Immortal line. Michael’s bloodline is effectively the only one able to endure the transformation process. Throw in a story of star-crossed lovers, conspiracy, and wildly audacious fight sequences, and you have yourself a film. No subsequent movie in the franchise ever surpassed the first, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Underworld was a unique take on the genre that brought vampires back in a big way.


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