While doing some cleaning and organizing this weekend (both mental and physical), I happened to spend a ridiculous amount of time with the telly on in the background, flipping between Indiana Jones trilogy (There are only three. Just three. Do you hear me? Only three movies exist!), and the Underworld trilogy.
Now, much as people might react with surprise and dismay, I am not really on the Underworld fan-wagon. Why not? Well, a) not a fan of Kate Beckinsale. She just does nothing for me. B) For being movies crammed with cool action sequences filled with almost as much gore-splatter as a Tarantino flick, they move at a snail’s pace. Every time I watch one I feel like six hours of my life have gone by; I don’t know what it is but the pacing on those films is so awkward. C) Vampires vs. werewolves stories need to have something really compelling for me to engage in them (like Taylor Lautner with his shirt off, or Ian Somerhalder being the NewSpike, or Seth Green as a tiny-man-by-day-wolf-badass-every-full-moon kind of guy, or Ian Somerhalder with his shirt off… you know, deeply compelling stuff). Actually Underworld has a rather compelling take on the whole vampires vs. werewolves mythos, it’s just buried under horrid pacing, electric blue contacts, and Kate Beckinsale’s dripping wet latex suit. So why did I spend a not-insignificant portion of my weekend with this train wreck of a series in the background of my life? Simple: Michael Sheen.
Don’t get me wrong, the Brit actors in these movies kick a ton of ass: Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi, and Bill “I’d watch him read the phonebook” Nighy, but they all behave pretty much as one might expect them to behave in this kind of genre. Waltz on, Michael Sheen, and it’s goodbye Tony Blair, hello tortured badass Lucian. The first Underworld features Suave Badass, except for the brief scene where he tells Michael about the start of the war and his forbidden love affair with Viktor’s daughter. I just spoilered you for the whole series -- Whoops :P That one sequence earns him the cred to have his own movie where he gets to Maximus Decimus Meridius his way through the whole movie, except Michael Sheen’s such a badass that he lives through it all, damaged though he may be, to carry on another seven hundred years (just spoiled Gladiator, too. Don’t think I missed that). Also, unlike many of his lycan comrades (and nowadays seemingly EVERY vampire), Lucian never gets whiny about his situation. His life blows massive food-poisoning-from-KFC sized chunks, but he deals with it. He takes one look at his lover’s dumbfuck daddy and says, “All right, old man, you want to have at me for centuries for loving your daughter? Bring it. ‘Cause Im’ma throwdown with a vengeance you think only you possess… and then I’m going to even the score and blend the races like I did with your babygirl, just to piss you off.”
Now, I admit to my affinity for tall, lanky, (generally) pale English blokes, but I don’t typically go in for Michael Sheen. Yet you lather that man up in movie sweat, give him some longer-and-dirtier-than-Strider hair, tan & buff him up a bit and turn him into a badass Lycanthrope and I will watch the slow-moving hours tick by content with my British werewolf hunk keeping me company.