What, pray tell, would happen if vampires and werewolves were living amongst us, and seriously had it in for one another? The answer, apparently, is "something colored blue in slow motion."
It's a wicked world, a wild world, the underworld. For centuries, the war has raged, unseen by the eyes of men, except for when the children of the night start blasting the unholy hell out of one another in full view of a crowded train station. The vamps plug away at their foes with silver bullets, while the werewolves blast back with bullets filled with sunlight. (No, I'm not making that up.) The vampires are apparently the good guys here, though why they aren't the bloodsucking fiends of legend is only vaguely touched on, in some brief dialogue about how they vowed not to feed off of humans. The werewolves are led by a man who looks like he belongs in Nickelback or Staind, which is reason enough to count them as the bad guys.
I had initially dubbed this film Trinity the Vampire Slayer, but had to drop that tack after finding that the black-clad, Daniel-san-doing-the-crane-stance-pose-striking female was actually a vampire herself. Nevertheless, the Matrix influence here is still inarguable, as the notion that showing rapid ass-kicking is more exciting when seen at the speed of drying paint continues to hold sway. Into this red-and-green free landscape swaggers the vacuum-packed-in-black Selene, vampire assassin who finds she must protect a human named Michael from the lycanthropic Puddle of Muddsters, who want his blood for some presumably nefarious purpose. Her attachment to the man brings about some tacit disapproval from Kraven, head of the local vampire lodge, whose name clearly denotes him as a sweet, puppy-loving darling of a man that will bring only support and solace when it's most needed. (If I should ever write a screenplay, I must include some likeable character with a name akin to Carnage B. Putrescence, or Malignant Ass Disease, that this trend might be broken.) In fact, if one pays attention and actually follows Kraven's actions throughout the film, they can only come to the conclusion that his behavior flatly makes no sense whatsoever, beyond the fact that all of it is more or less evil. At least that's cleared up.
There are some good stunts. There are some good werewolf suits, though they seem to have the Batman problem of being unable to turn their heads. There is Kate Beckinsale's costume, which she probably had to put on using a crowbar. And there is an obvious set-up for a sequel, if one hasn't had enough of Goths vs. Nu-Metal yet. There are some plot twists, most of which I saw coming. There are a few involving Kraven that I didn't see coming, on the very sound basis that they were wholly free of the shackles of logic. Things happened in the movie, and most of them I felt nothing specifically one way or the other about. I was hoping towards the end that we would see some dramatic reversal wherein Kraven actually is seen to be a hero, and Selene becomes the one in the wrong. It certainly felt like it ought to be going that way, and instead turns largely into a mishmash of unexplained motives. Perhaps one needs a vested interest in all things vampiric to get much out of this. I've no such inclination, for which I am very much thankful.
The film's co-writer, who claims a background in genetic engineering, espoused a desire to have a more science-based view of vampires, i.e. vampirism as a disease rather than a curse, vampires who do cast reflections and need no invitation to enter a home, etc. Presumably he could explain how a newly created werewolf could magically inherit the centuries-old memories of a completely different werewolf. I must have been sick that day in science class. No wonder I flunked Werewolves 101. Perhaps we should ask Dr. Science. He knows more...than you do.
I'm frankly less aggrieved by this film than I am by the legions of doofuses (doofi?) who see it as an opportunity to again bask in the stupid queries of "Are vampires and werewolves real?" as if they were contemplations of any kind of actual merit. If by "vampires and werewolves" one means "angst-wallowing morons and superstitious losers," then the answer is a resounding "yes." The Age of Reason supposedly came centuries ago. Wasn't anybody paying attention? Or were they too busy cramming for the final in Advanced Werewolfitude to give it any mind?
Someone please explain to me why and how a werewolf would be walking on a wall. Were they all bitten by radioactive spiders?
-review by Matt Murray