All 5 films upgraded/remastered to UHD 4 Stars

Sony brings all five films in the Underworld franchise together, and in 4K (many for the first time), in a new 5-disc movie collection.

Underworld (2003)
Released: 19 Sep 2003
Rated: R
Runtime: 121 min
Director: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Thriller
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly
Writer(s): Kevin Grevioux (story), Len Wiseman (story), Danny McBride (story), Danny McBride (screenplay)
Plot: Selene, a beautiful warrior, is entrenched in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. Although she is aligned with the vampires, she falls in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.
IMDB rating: 7.0
MetaScore: 42

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: Underworld (Theatrical): 2 Hr. 1 Min., Underworld (Extended): 2 Hr. 13 Min.; Underworld: Evolution: 1 Hr. 46 Min.; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: 1 Hr. 32 Min.; Underworld
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover for each feature, all movies housed in a deluxe gift box
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 10/26/2021
MSRP: $95.99

The Production: 3/5

Underworld: 3.5/5
Originally marketed as a Vampire/Werewolf version of Romeo and Juliet, Underworld tells the story of vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a Death Dealer whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Lycans (werewolves). She has a particular hatred for Lycans, as they killed her parents and siblings, only to be saved by one of the head vampires, Viktor (Bill Nighy). As the film opens, what are thought to be the remnants of the Lycan clan are on the hunt themselves, after a human, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman). When Selene brings this to the attention of the leaders of her coven, they dismiss it, claiming that since the leader of the Lycans, Lucian (Michael Sheen), was killed several years ago, werewolves are more of a pest than a real threat. But Selene senses that something is rotten in the coven, and uncovers that Lucian is very much still alive, attempting to breed a hybrid species (part vampire, part werewolf) as revenge, and Michael may be the key after Lucian bites Michael. Selene also discovers that one of the leaders, Kraven (Shane Brolly), is actually in cahoots with Lucian as part of a power play within the coven.

Underworld is a fun mess of a movie, with thrilling action sequences courtesy of first-time director Len Wiseman (who would later direct Live Free or Die Hard), but the film never lives up to its promise of a Romeo and Juliet style tragic love story, and there is way too much plot for the filmmakers to keep track of. Many of the performances are on the bland side, particularly Shane Brolly as Kraven and, unfortunately, Scott Speedman as the supposed love interest and key to the hybrids Michael. Kate Beckinsale is, perhaps, the best thing about this movie, with a very cold performance as Death Dealer Selene. This remastered 4K UHD Blu-ray release now contains both the theatrical cut and the Extended Cut in 4K UHD.

Underworld: Evolution: 2.5/5
Grossing over $90 million at the worldwide box office does not usually guarantee a sequel, but Underworld gained an even larger cult following on DVD and cable. In response, a sequel was released in 2006, Underworld: Evolution, which opens with a flashback to 1202 AD where vampire elders Viktor (Bill Nighy), Markus (Tony Curran), and Amelia (Zita Gorog) lead an army into a small village that has just been plundered by Lycans. Markus’ brother, William (Brian Steele), a werewolf, is captured and imprisoned by Viktor. Cut to modern day, and Markus has been awakened and is now on the hunt for Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman), who are in the possession of a pendant that has significant meaning to Markus. Selene and Michael then seek help from exiled vampire historian Andreas Tanis, who in turn directs them towards finding Alexander Corvinus (Derek Jacobi), the first immortal and patriarch to both the Vampire and Lycan clans. Alexander Corvinus reveals to them both the true fate of Selene’s family, as well as the location of William and the reason Markus is after them. This leads to an ultimate battle, pitting Selene and Michael against Markus and the freed William.

The gore, blood, and violence factors are upped significantly in this sequel, as is the sexual content. The storyline is even more of a mess than the first film, and the action sequences, while well-staged, are also over the top. Len Wiseman returns to the director’s chair, sharing story credits with Danny McBride. Speedman is even more bland than he was in the previous entry, and Shakespearean-trained Derek Jacobi seems so out of place in this film as Alexander Corvinus. All that being said, the film is still beautifully photographed, as was the first entry, and the action set pieces at the very least keep the audience interested.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: 3.5/5
A prequel to Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans tells part of the backstory hinted at in the previous films. A war is underway between vampires and a breed of werewolves unable to return to human form. An imprisoned werewolf gives birth to Lucian (Michael Sheen), the first of its kind able to switch freely between werewolf and human. Viktor (Bill Nighy) reluctantly allows Lucian to live, and uses his blood to create a slave army of Lycans to protect the vampires during the daylight hours. A forbidden love affair develops between Lucian and Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), and we finally get the Romeo and Juliet storyline that the first Underworld failed to deliver on.

Len Wiseman, after directing Live Free or Die Hard, turns the director’s chair over to Patrick Tatopoulos (production designer on the two prior films). Tatopoulos does a capable job, keeping the action sequences exciting and the pacing brisk. Bill Nighy, who seems to be making a career of late playing villains, is over the top as Viktor, with glimpses of his Davy Jones character from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies appearing from time to time (minus the CGI makeup). The big surprise here is Michael Sheen, best known (at the time of release) for playing David Frost in Frost/Nixon, as the anti-hero Lucian. Sheen appears equally comfortable in action sequences as he does in more dramatic scenes.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a genre film, first and foremost, well-deserving of its R rating from the MPAA for its violent and often gruesome action sequences and a graphic love scene. Like most prequels, the film does suffer from a lack of peril, as we know the ultimate fate of these characters and how the story will likely end. Ultimately, though, the ride from beginning to end is a fun one, and much more enjoyable than what is passing for horror these days.

Underworld: Awakening: 3/5
The human population on Earth has just discovered that werewolves and vampires are real, and the world has been placed under martial law while the governments initiate a purge of these creatures. Caught in the crosshairs are star-crossed lovers Michael (Scott Speedman in archival CGI-ed footage) and Selene (Kate Beckinsale). Fast forward 12 years later, and Selene finds herself defrosting in a lab, freed by someone she believes is Michael. After escaping from the lab, she soon discovers that the person who freed her is actually her daughter Eve (India Eisley) – apparently Selene didn’t know she was pregnant or the evil scientists artificially inseminated her, something that is never made clear in the film. She meets up with a fellow vampire, David (Theo James), who takes Selene and Eve to his coven hideout, led by his father Thomas (Charles Dance), who just wants to be left alone, as he is done trying to fight the humans. The Lycans attack the coven and take Eve captive, leading them back to Antigen, the lab that Selene and eve just escaped from. Police detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy) provides assistance as they get to the bottom of what Antigen may be up to.

This fourth installment, Underworld: Awakening, is very light on plot, but that’s okay. It is also the shortest film in the franchise (clocking in at a mere 88 minutes). The film plays more like a creature feature, concerned more on gore and in your face 3D effects than plot or character, and directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein make good use of the 3D photography (unfortunately presented here in 2D). The film sets up a potential storyline that, unfortunately, the next film in the series more or less avoids.

Underworld: Blood Wars: 2.5/5
Warning: this review contains massive spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

At the end of Underworld: Awakening, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) was reunited with her daughter, only to discover that Michael had escaped from his cryo tube and was nowhere to be found. As Underword: Blood Wars opens, Selene is on the run, being chased by Lycans who want to know the location of her daughter. Somewhere between these films, Selene sent her daughter, Eve, far, far away to a place Selene does not want to know about, so that if she is captured by a rival vampire coven or by lycans, Eve’s whereabouts will remain unknown. Of course, this still leads the audience to believe that by the end, the family will be reunited once and for all. Unfortunately, Blood Wars wants to try to kill off Selene twice, once as part of a betrayal by coven-leader Semira (Lara Pulver) as a means of siphoning her blood to create an army of super-powered vampires that can resist light, and again by lycan leader Marius (Tobias Menzies) in hope of locating Eve. Selene is resurrected by the Nordic vampire coven, who then manage to do battle and win against Marius’s clan of lycans. Any hopes of a family reunion are eliminated when it is revealed where and how Marius received his powers, yet Selene knows somewhere Eve is still alive.

Some may say I’m being a bit harsh on this installment for its convoluted plot and for taking itself all too seriously. Those are only two of the many problems here, not to mention the almost lack of continuity with the previous installment, which would have you believe that this installment would have Selene, Eve, and David (Theo James) on a quest to find Michael before the lycans do. Even with the recap of the prior four films in the prologue of Blood Wars, one must wonder if there is a movie missing here between Awakening and this one. Fans almost have to feel sorry for Scott Speedman, the actor who portrayed Michael in the first two installments, since his character is mentioned but hasn’t been seen in the series since Underworld: Evolution. Although one expects Beckinsale to reprise her role as Selene (and she does so with ease), it’s surprising the level of talent this fifth installment managed to attract. Both Theo James and Charles Dance return as David and his father (former coven leader Thomas), but we’ve seen them in much better material (James in Divergent, Dance in Game of Thrones). Bradley James (better known as Arthur on BBC’s Merlin) plays Semira’s pet, Varga. Where the movie really falters, though, is in the action sequences (which are often dull and uninspired) and the film’s overall direction and pacing by first-timer Anna Foerster, so much so that this reviewer couldn’t believe how long the 91 minute running time felt. One of Selene’s first lines in the movie after the prologue are “I had lived beyond my time.” That almost sums up Underworld: Blood Wars.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Underworld: 5/5
Wow. That is the best word to describe how this 4K transfer looks. Depth, detail, and contrast are phenomenal, giving the film a 3D-like quality to the cinematography. This is most evident in the opening trademark shot of Selene on the balcony of a building overlooking the city. Textures in the stone facades of the buildings, facial pores in the characters, all are much more defined here than on the previous Blu-ray release, and again add to the perceived depth of the image. Blacks are nice and deep, and whites are crisp, never looking overly hot. The entire film is bathed in a blue tint (as are all of the films in the franchise), but colors remain consistent. Film grain is naturally noticeable and never distracting. Note: although the extended cut has finally been included, this appears to be the same transfer as the original 4K release from 2016.

Underworld: Evolution: 5/5
Underworld: Evolution was originally photographed on 35mm film, then completed as a 2K digital intermediate. The press release does not indicate otherwise, so I am assuming the 2K DI has been upscaled to 2160p with HDR10 high dynamic range. Of course, anything would be an improvement over the now 15 year old MPEG-2 encoded 1080p transfer found on the included Blu-ray, and this new UHD release is a vast improvement. Film grain is much more present and organic. Fine detail is exceptional, especially in facial features and fabric textures, but also in the film’s set design. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and strong shadow detail. Colors are more natural, with flesh tones appearing more realistic rather than the often pasty complexions found on the aging Blu-ray.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: 4/5
This is the most problematic transfer in the set, as it was an early all-digital production shot in 1080p on Panavision Genesis HD cameras and completed as a 2K digital intermediate. While Sony’s 2160p upscale with HDR10 is an improvement over the 2009 Blu-ray, it still looks more like video than film, and the overall darker tones of the cinematography don’t help. What does help is the use of HDR, helping to improve the limited color space of the early digital cameras used on this production, and assisting with the contrast to provide deeper blacks but shadow detail remains limited.

Underworld: Awakening: 5/5
Uderworld: Awakening was captured in 5K resolution in dual-strip 3D on Red Epic and 3Ality Technica cameras, and completed as a 2K digital intermediate in both 2D and 3D in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Sony’s 2160p upscale, which uses HDR10 high dynamic range, shows just how good Sony is at upscaling a 2K DI for the UHD home market. This is the most colorful film in the franchise, with well-saturated and vibrant colors, deep blacks with strong shadow detail, and fine detail that is off the charts. This is a gorgeous transfer of a rather mediocre film.

Underworld: Blood Wars: 4.5/5
Underworld: Blood Wars was captured in 6K resolution using Red Weapon Dragon cameras and completed as a 4K digital intermediate. Sony’s 2160p transfer with HDR10 is almost reference quality. I say almost because the blacks are so deep that there are moments where shadow detail becomes lost in the very darkest of scenes, and the HDR-enhancements to the color palette mute the colors further than on the 1080p Blu-ray edition, making the resulting image much more monotone in nature. Granted, that may be the intent here by the creative team, but the reduction in shadow detail is a real shame. The other disappointment here is the lack of a 3D Blu-ray disc, despite the film receiving a fairly wide theatrical 3D release (which seems a bit odd, considering Sony’s prior commitments on other UHD/3D releases such as Angry Birds, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, and most recently, Passengers.). Otherwise, this is a crystal-clear picture with exceptionally fine detail, particularly in skin blemishes and the strands of hair in the fur coats worn by the Nordic coven.

Audio: 5/5

Underworld: 5/5
This 4K UHD release has been outfitted with the same Dolby Atmos soundtrack (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core) from the 2016 release. This is a highly immersive mix, with full dynamic range and lots of surround and LFE activity. Dialogue comes across loud and clear, mostly through the center channel. Heights are used to enhance atmospheric effects as well as add some discrete effects during many of the action sequences. This track does not disappoint.

Underworld: Evolution: 5/5
The default Dolby Atmos track is another vast improvement over the aging Blu-ray’s PCM 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. This is a very immersive mix, with a much wider front soundstage and more active surround channels, utilizing heights for more immersive atmospherics like thunder. LFE is strong, adding more emphasis on crashes and rolling thunder. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: 5/5
The default Dolby Atmos track is the real star in this new UHD release, providing a more immersive experience with a wider front soundstage and deeper surrounds. Heights are implored for atmospherics and other surround effects, and LFE is much stronger than the 5.1 mix (available here in DTS-HD MA).

Underworld: Awakening: 5/5
The engineers responsible for remixing Underworld: Awakening in Dolby Atmos had the fortunate task of starting with an already fairly active 7.1 theatrical mix and taking it up several notches. The mix is immersive from start to finish, packing a wallop that will satisfy most fans of object-based audio. Sounds come from all directions and flow seamlessly within the viewing/listening area, using heights rather discretely for items like public announcements. LFE presence is strong, and dialogue remains understandable throughout.

Underworld: Blood Wars: 5/5
The UHD disc benefits from a fairly active Dolby Atmos track, which contains a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core (the Blu-ray only contains a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track in typical Sony fashion). The Atmos track has a very wide soundstage and a wider dynamic range. Bullets, ninja stars, and other projectiles assault the listener from virtually every possible angle. LFE is also more prevalent, but never overpowering. Dialogue is clear and understandable, directed mostly to the center channel and never gets drowned out by the mix.

Special Features: 4/5

Sony has included some new or previously exclusive material on the UHD discs of the movies. Unfortunately, the Previsualization Sequences from the Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray release has not been included.

Underworld
UHD Disc:
**NEW** Alternate Flashbacks
(2160p/HDR; 2:37): Five sequences are presented, some so quick they are over before you have a real chance to figure out what they are – Sonja, Lucian in Chains, The Whip, Sunlight, and The Pendant.

**NEW** Trailers (1080p; 4:08): Both the teaser and theatrical trailers are included.

Blu-ray Disc:
This is the same Extended Cut Blu-ray disc included with the previous 4K release in 2016.

Audio Commentary With Director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman

Outtakes (SD, 3:43)

Fang Vs. Fiction (SD, 47:18)

The Making of Underworld (SD, 13:00)

The Visual Effects of Underworld (SD, 9:56)

Creature Effects (SD, 12:30)

Stunts (SD, 11:43)

Designing Underworld (SD, 10:46)

The Look of Underworld (SD, 19:12)

Sights and Sounds (SD, 9:07)

Music Video by Finch – Worms of the Earth (SD, 2:45)

Storyboard Comparison (SD, 6:42)

Underworld: Evolution
UHD Disc:
**NEW** Theatrical Trailer
(1080p; 2:23)

Blu-ray Disc:
This disc is identical to the 2006 Blu-ray release.

Audio Commentary With Director Len Wiseman, Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos, Second Unit Director Brad Martin, and Editor Nick De Toth

Bloodlines: From Script To Scene (SD, 13:26)

The Hybrid Theory (SD, 13:00)

Making Monsters Roar (SD, 11:56)

The War Rages On (SD, 9:54)

Building A Saga (SD, 12:57)

Music And Mayhem (SD, 11:50)

Music Video: Her Portrait In Black by Atreyu (SD, 3:54)

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
UHD Disc:
**NEW** Rise of the Lycans: Inside the Castle Walls (1080p; 24:36): An archival look at the film’s production design.

**NEW** Trailers (1080p; 4:15): The Domestic and International trailers are included.

Blu-ray Disc:
This disc is identical to the 2009 Blu-ray disc, which includes the now defunct BD-Live Cine-Chat feature.

Filmmakers’ Commentary

Behind the Castle Walls: Picture-In-Picture

Lycanthropes Around the World Interactive Map

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: From Script to Screen (1080i; 9:18)

The Origin of the Feud (1080i; 19:58)

Recreating the Dark Ages – The Look of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (1080i; 13:01)

Music Video: Deathclub (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix) (1080p; 3:51)

Underworld: Awakening
UHD Disc:
Underworld: Endless War (1080p; 18:04): Previously available only as an exclusive bonus disc with the Underworld Trilogy – The Essential Collection Blu-ray set.

**NEW** Trailers (1080p; 5:46): Three trailers are provided.

Blu-ray Disc:
This disc is identical to the 2012 Blu-ray release.

Featurettes (1080p; 62:55): Five-part look at the making of the film.

Blooper Reel (1080p; 3:21)

Heavy Prey Music Video by Lacey Sturm featuring Geno Lenardo (1080p; 3:25)

Cracking the Underworld: Picture-in-Picture Experience

Filmmakers’ Commentary: The producers, directors, and visual effects supervisor discuss the making of the film.

Underworld: Blood Wars
UHD Disc:
**NEW** Franchise Recap (1080p; 3:30): A different cut of the recap that appears at the beginning of the movie.

**NEW** Trailers (1080p; 4:29): Two theatrical trailers are included,

Blu-ray Disc:
This disc is identical to the Blu-ray disc included with the 2017 UHD release.

The Evolution of Selene (1080p; 8:09)

Old & New Blood (1080p; 6:15)

The Evil Evolved (1080p; 6:07)

Building a Blood War (1080p; 12:03)

Underworld: Blood Wars Graphic Novel (1080p)

Digital Copies: An insert contains codes to redeem each film on Movies Anywhere in UHD.

Overall: 4/5

Fans of the series will likely be ecstatic about finally owning all five movies in UHD (only the first and last films were previously available, and those have been remastered for this set as well).

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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Dave Moritz

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Dave Moritz
I will be purchasing this set as I currently only own the first Underworld and Underworld Evolution the 2nd film in the franchise both on blu-ray.

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