Here’s what you know about Kevin Grevioux, he’s the large man with the really deep voice from the Underworld movies – the second in command Lycan, Raze – who when he talked you thought, “that can’t be his real voice”, but then you saw him on Face Off last season and realized it was. You’ve probably also seen him in various movies and TV shows as various monsters and creatures and big dudes (Men in Black 2, Charmed, Angel, etc.).
Here’s what you don’t know about Kevin Grevioux: he is from Minneapolis, he has a degree in Microbiology from Howard University and went to graduate school to work towards a masters in Genetic Engineering. In school, he also took some screenwriting and cinematography classes. This led him to move to L.A. and work towards a film career. In 1994, he worked as an extra on Stargate and met Len Wiseman, who was a prop assistant. They became friends, and have worked together since. In 2003 they released the first Underworld. Grevioux wrote and came up with the idea for the story, which he based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, and on his own experiences with interracial dating. He also brought in his microbiology knowledge to explain both Vampires and Werewolves using viruses. He played Raze in both Underworld, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
He has continued writing, and wrote a graphic novel based on the continuing experiences of Frankenstein’s monster, which he then used to help write and produce as a movie directed by Stuart Beattie.
This movie finds Frankenstein’s creature wandering after killing Frankenstein’s wife, and watching Frankenstein himself die while pursuing him.
He gets attacked by demons, and destroys them, just before being rescued by Gargoyles – yes, those stone drainage things from castles. They are hanging out in a massive cathedral and being generally morose about everything. He learns that the Gargoyles have been tasked by heaven and the archangels to battle demons to protect humanity. They want the creature, who the Gargoyle queen names Adam, to side with them, but he’s not interested in taking sides.
As the years (hundreds, apparently) pass, he begins hunting demons, looking for the demon prince who is after him. He’s doing well until ‘descending’ a demon (you don’t kill them, you descend them) in front of a human, which upsets the gargoyles – humans aren’t supposed to know! The gargoyles bring him back to their cathedral to chain him up and lecture him.
Unfortunately for them, the demons seemed to be based in a palatial estate like two miles from their cathedral – now, either they know that and they are there to keep an eye on them, or it’s a huge coincidence. In either case, a huge conflict between the two sides develops as the demon prince hunts for either the monster or the journal of Frankenstein to re-animate dead bodies. Because of course, he wants to allow his demon hordes to possess bodies, but they can only possess bodies with no souls, and of course, only something dead has no soul, and you can’t possess a dead body – unless of course, you can recreate Frankenstein’s work. Bam – problem solved.
Stuart Beattie knows about big time CGI action movies, having written the three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Collateral, 30 Days of Night, and G.I. Joe. However, this is only the second time he has directed a movie. He does a decent job, this is pretty much a standard January dump action movie, but if you know that going in, you’ll be pleased with the result.
- Aaron Eckhart and his ridiculously sculpted body (when did that happen?) plays the monster. Aside from a few scars on the face, he’s lacking all the other traditional Frankenstein affects – like the neck bolts, and big shoes, and green skin. He’s a capable action hero, which surprised me, and he does just fine in this. He’s very wooden, but that is exactly what is required.
- Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck plays the doctor who is accidentally working for the demon prince. She’s busy working on re-animating a dead rat – seriously – when she is handed Frankenstein’s journal and is told to incorporate his work. She’s capable as well, and while the romantic aspect between her and the creature is hinted at, but not developed, they both play it subtle, which works.
- Miranda Otto from the Lord of the Rings movies (“I am no Man!”), plays the Gargoyle queen. She’s fiercely devoted to her clan, humanity, and their cause. She wants to find the redemption in Adam, but she’s also realistic about whether or not that is possible. Her costuming was pretty fancy, and I never got tired of the effect of the gargoyles turning back into humans.
- Speaking of which, Jai Courtney (last seen in A Good Day To Die Hard, and Jack Reacher) plays Gideon, the number 2 gargoyle who at no point trusts the creature, and pretty much wants to kill him from the get go. Courtney has a future in action movies, to be sure, and this just seems to be another step on the path.
- Bill Nighy plays Naberius, the demon prince masquerading as a businessman with an interest in re-animating dead things. Seriously, at no point is the doctor suspicious of this guy? Nighy chews the hell out of all the scenery, and is basically Victor from the Underworld movies, just more demon, less vampire.
- Aden Young very briefly plays Dr. Frankenstein, just until he follows the creature out onto the ice and freezes to death.
- And just for fun, Kevin Grevioux does show up in this movie to play Dekar, Naberius’s number one henchman. He’s large and demony, and while this movie story strays slightly from his graphic novel story, he did help write and produce this, so it certainly makes sense for him to show up as a demon.
Again, it’s not great, but it’s certainly entertaining. I loved the effect of the gargoyles going back and forth from stone to human, and the action was pretty good. It’s a pretty typical January action movie, and if you know that going in, you won’t be disappointed. I will say that it missed some opportunities for humor here and there. The really good terrible movies have a sense of fun about them, and have no issue making fun of themselves. This takes itself a little too seriously, but in that way, it has a similar tone to the Underworld franchise, which also took itself too seriously. Hey, at least it’s better than Season of the Witch.
7 out of 10: Gained points for the gargoyles, but lost points for how few of them remained, and they just kept losing members – how do you make more gargoyle warriors? Gained points for Nighy as a demon prince, but lost points for re-animating that dead rat – ick.
Bonus Video 1: Battle Los Angeles – Eckhart was also good in this movie, and hey! NeYo makes it all the way to the end!
Bonus Video 2: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters from last January, still one of my favorites from last year! A perfect example of a movie not taking itself too seriously.
Bonus Video 3: Cast interviews