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
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.