Underworld: awakening

Pure shoot-em-up pulp, but that’s what we like about The Underworld series. Kate Beckinsale is back as the Lycan hunting vampire who seems to spend as much time up against her fellow blood suckers as the wolves.

This is the fourth movie in the series and to my mind possibly the weakest, that said it is works as an action movie. Like all action movies there needs to be a bad guy and Stephen Rea plays this part nicely. His usual understated manner hides a darker side which comes out as the movie progresses.

It does not have the same gothic feel as the earlier movies where the metropolis had a more China Mieville or dystopic  feel. It should be noted that like the previous offerings in the franchise, despite the free availability of vampires and werewolves, sorry lycan, it is not a horror (if you want a horror, watch Twilight – scary!).

The movie starts with a summary and update on the situation regarding humanity, the lycan and the vampires. I’m not going to say too much about the story line except to say, this time round there is not much of Michael, but Selene does have a daughter which she acquired thanks to the wonders of modern science and Mr. Rea.

One of the features of the previous outings was the weaponry and not only the design and imagination of the weapons used but also their total inability to run out of ammunition.  Rather than have this as an embarrassing  prop/direction failure, the directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein make it a feature.  Speaking of features, I’m generally not a fan of 3D as it usually does not work and leaves me with eye strain but this time it actually worked…in the important places. What this movie shows is the importance of planning for 3D and not just using it as an anti-pirating/novelty device. I’m still not converted to the dark side, but this was one of the better 3D offerings. The fight sequences are still the set-pieces which we have come to expect.

As with the previous outings the cast is a mix of big-draw names like Charles Dance and Stephen Rea supporting Ms Beckinsale  but also relative new comers to the movie stage like Theo James (young –relatively- vampire) or India Eisley, who plays her daughter “Eve” – perhaps not the most original name given the story line. Kris Holden-Ried, fresh from Lost Girl, plays the Ubber-lycan

What is the matter with “Eve” as a name you may ask, well not much except for the DNA work and genetic splicing which are the background plot devices for the movie and so you see not the most original name, but one which perhaps travels trans-nationally and causes no confusion.

Without giving the game away, the ending clearly acts as an advertisement for Underworld: (insert tag) or simply Underworld 5. There are worse franchises and I will probably find myself in the cinema for the next one.

Rating = 6/10 it does the job, but call me old fashioned – I still like my vampires to have that gothic feel to them 🙂

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