Monday, January 23, 2012

Review of Underworld Awakening

I suspect longtime fans of this series will agree that paying to see this movie was not money well spent.  Though they left the ending with opening for a fifth movie in the series, it should be clear to all by now that it is time for the beautiful Kate Beckinsale to put her skin tight suit and guns to rest.  There is no saving this series.
The movie begins with hackneyed scenes of the purges and swiftly switches to Selene awakening from a cryogenic sleep. Of course, her top concern is the whereabouts of Michael Corvinus.  What she does not know is that while she slept, twelve years have passed and the world has changed somewhat.  I only say somewhat because the vampires are still engaged in the centuries long war with the lycans, the only thing that is different is the awareness of humans to the ongoing struggle.  Humans see vampirism as a form of disease to be eradicated.  Vampires have been forced to give up their mansions and move underground; however, the setting is in style with what we have become used to for vampires in this genre.

Twelve years is not long enough for the vampires to embraced Selene and Thomas the current head of the coven is sure to remind Selene that not only has she aligned herself with the lycans through her relationship with Michael, she is personally responsible for the deaths of two coven leaders.  It's Thomas' belief that the vampires should lay low because the lycan uprising resulted in their near extinction, whereas; his son David greatly admires Selene and wants to fight.   

It turns out that Selene has something the lycans led by Dr. Jacob Lane really want - her daughter. Eve is the last in the line of Corvinus and like her father she is a hybrid.  They did a much better job of her make up than they ever did with Michael's. It seems kind of ridiculous that she is cast as the great innocent in need of protection when we watch in one scene as she literally rips a lycan in two.  Ummm yeah, that does not quite fit my understanding of someone in need of protection.

And like all Underworld movies we also have the Black sidekick -  Detective Sebastian played by Michael Ealy.  We learn that he has decided to help Selene because during the purge, he was forced to watch his wife burn in the sun.  Unlike his partner, he is well aware that Lycans are thriving and is highly suspicious of the scientific research center.  Though we are given the briefest reasons for Sebastian's decisions it does not feel like enough reason for him to get into bed with Selene.

If you are going to see Underworld Awakening to see an action flick, you have some hope of not being disappointed.  Once again, it largely has a dark setting and extensive fight scenes, though at times the film feels choppy. It is clear that the plot was sacrificed for special effects and the fight sequences.  I suppose for some that might be a good trade off but 3D should not be a substitute for building a real story.