Underworld: Awakening

The fourth film in the “Underworld” franchise has arrived, and once again it features Kate Beckinsale in latex fighting against CGI werewolves lycans. This time, she’s been captured by humans and held in storage as a test subject for 12 years. After humanity discovers the existences of “Non-humans”, the people of the planet put their differences aside and join forces to “purge” the planet. Beckinsale’s Selene is fortunate enough to be captured and not killed.

Of course, she escapes, (it wouldn’t be much of a movie if she were in a cryogenic tube for the duration) and once again dual-wields her silver-bullet firing machine-gun pistols against the hordes of cartoon werewolves lycans.

Cheese, anyone?

This was the first “Underworld” movie I’ve seen in its entirety, believe it or not. I made it through 3/4 of one earlier this week before I had to call it a night, and never got back to finish of the last 20 minutes. Not necessary here, the first few minutes has a narrative voice-over and a clip montage over that catches you up with the entire series.

It’s not Shakespeare.

Essentially, vampires and werewolves lycans are locked in an eternal war, and Beckinsale is the last of a special subset of vampire soldier known as the “Death Dealers” (I’ve run into a few of her kind at Foxwoods). The war has been waged for centuries without humans knowing, however. Here, once humanity has grown wise, people are rounded up and forced to undergo testing for “infection”, hit squads infiltrate “covens”, and the streets of cities are carpet bombed with silver nitrate gas and liquified UV. The non-human cleansing – “The Purge” – has begun.

Unsuccessfully, though, apparently, as Beckinsale manages to find plenty of vampires and  werewolves lycans upon her escape. She is forced into guardianship of the young “girl” who freed her, a vampire werewolf lycan hybrid who was scientifically bred by the scientific corporation that had held Beckinsale’s Selene captive.

This movie is basically exactly what you think it will be. It’s an operatic framework of vampires in Victorian era matrix couture bemoaning the prevalence of werewolves lycans, interspersed with set pieces where Beckinsale gets to shoot two fully automatic pistols at the same time, step-flip off of walls, and land safely after dropping from enormous heights. The CGI is occasionally decent, but mainly cheap, and the story would most likely only have any weight for people who have been following the entire saga.

And yet, I wouldn’t call it a “bad” movie, because… it is what it’s advertised to be and nothing more. There are occasional moments when Beckinsale pulls off a kill in notable fashion and then preens afterwards that are enjoyable, and on the whole, seeing as the movie doesn’t challenge itself very much, it never has the chance to fail. While watching it, I had a clear and vivid vision of its future… the grand finale of an all day “Underworld” marathon on SyFy. And when that moment arrives, and this movie has achieved its calling, it will be perfectly enjoyable in that context.



14 thoughts on “Underworld: Awakening

  1. I have not seen this or any of the series, but they did a good job on the trailers. I would see the trailer and would not dismiss it immediately. I was drawn in to watch and try to catch a glimpse of story or creatures and try to make an unbiased judgement about seeing it in the theater. At least I didn’t roll my eyes and change the channel. That said, I still would not have run out to see it right away. Great review Fogs. Thanks for helping in the decision making.

    • Nah. This isn’t a see in the theatre flick… for sure. Although, my friend and I enjoyed it well enough. He’s a fan of the series.

      They’re fun enough. Seeing as this is number four, I think anyone watching probably knows what it is they’re signing up for, and given that framework, it’s fine.

  2. Vampire movies are tough to do and do them new. I like this franchise just for the fun of it and I watch it as a simple movie. Nothing deep, nothing profound, just vampires fighting. That and I like looking at Kate in latex. She was also hot in Van Helsing, another cheesy movie but enjoyable to watch.

    I liked the Blade series as well. Even when it got cheesier towards the end. Bordello of Blood was another good one, along with Vampires. Twilight one the other hand was a gay as you can get.

    • I pretty much agree on everything but Van Helsing.

      Cheesy, yes. Did I enjoy it? No.

      Here, however though, you sum it up nicely. If you just want a no brainer little diversion type movie, it fits the bill nicely.

      And Beckinsale does look good in latex. LOL

  3. I like the way you “subtly” call the movie out on its pretensions on the word “Lycans”. I remember when the third movie came out — like you, I hadn’t watched any of them — and was titled “Rise of the Lycans”, and thinking “Really? You couldn’t even say ‘Lycanthropes’? You had to cut it down?” It just seems to me that if you can’t call your werewolves werewolves that it might be taking the whole thing just a bit too seriously.

    • LOL Subtlety has never been one of my strengths but yeah, pretentious, isn’t it?

      Especially if you see them. I mean, that’s some silly looking CGI at times! But everyone’s all very serious about it…

      It’s cheese. It’s not my favorite blend… but it is cheese. So if someone were to tell me they enjoy them as cheese, I have no beef with it.

  4. Saw the first three. Creates a much darker world than noir, howling cries to Goth lovers everywhere.Not that it means anything to me but when the lycans and blood suckers weren’t ripping each others heads off, the movie has certain appeal. Dark woods,fast clouds in the sky, high castles and low dungeons–I might grow hairy fangs any second now!

    • Yeah. Maybe you will. LOL

      When Vampires and Lycans aren’t ripping each others heads off, its a politcal soap opera! Which is fine, I suppose.

      Hey, its fun enough. Expectations just need to be properly set.

  5. I shouldn’t have had higher expectations for this than I did, but I wanted it to be more (being a fan of the entire series). There was so much more that they could’ve done with this! You’re right…it’s not Shakespeare! ha.

    As usual man, a great review!

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