THE STORY – Death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) must fend off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the vampire faction that betrayed her. Joining forces with allies David (Theo James) and Thomas (Peter Andersson), she embarks on a quest to end the eternal war between the two races, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.
THE CAST – Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver, James Faulkner & Charles Dance
THE TEAM – Anna Foerster (Director) & Cory Goodman (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 91 Minutes
By Mike V.
I have a confession to make. I am a longtime “Underworld” fan. I know that’s a big no-no in most serious film circles, but there’s just something about that B-movie quality and the whole vampires vs. werewolves scenario that appeals to me. Unfortunately, as the years go on, it is becoming harder and harder to be a fan of this franchise. After the first movie, all of the sequels have varied in quality, but somehow they all managed to push the story of the franchise forward. That sense of forward momentum is completely lost in this latest lousy installment.
“Underworld: Blood Wars” continues the story of Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire death dealer. Previously in this series we have seen the love of her life killed, her daughter lost forever, and most recently, she’s been forsaken from every vampire coven in the world. “Underworld: Blood Wars” starts with a quick refresher to bring you back up to speed and quickly gets going into the plot of the movie, which invokes both a vampire and werewolf search for Selene so she can lead them to her long lost daughter.
The one positive thing I can say about this film is that all of the actors involved seemed committed to turning this awful script into something halfway decent. After four outings, Kate Beckinsale knows this character inside and out and is able to give a wide range of emotion to Selene who, on paper, is rather stoic. I’m not sure anyone else could pull this character off other than her. The other stand out is Charles Dance, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tywin Lannister on “Game of Thrones.” He is excellent as a centuries old vampire and the fact that he is not given more screen time is absolutely criminal.
There are few films with as many problems as “Underworld: Blood Wars.” The script for this film is atrocious. By the time the credits roll not a single thing has changed as a result of this film’s plot. Watching the movie, you can’t help but wonder why this movie was even created. The first-time director, Anna Forester, does her best to make this film fit nicely in the series, but it’s a failed attempt. Half of the film’s running time is spent flashing back to the previous films in the series as if we are continually watching a “previously on” segment of a television show.
The fight scenes are shot well enough, but the completely horrendous CGI makes any shot of a werewolf totally cringe worthy. I really don’t ever remember the CGI being this bad in the prior films. Also, I’m not sure if this was specific to the theater I went to, I but I feel it worth mentioning that any fast paced scene in this 3D film looked extremely blurry. It was noticeable enough that multiple audience members were discussing it on their way out of the theater.
Few sequels are able to live up to its predecessors. Even fewer franchises are given five entries and for that, the “Underworld” series is somewhat special. Unfortunately, this film fails on every fundamental level. One of the things I look forward to most out these films is the creative ways vampires and werewolves kill each other. This film couldn’t even get that right. Nothing is interesting or original about this film. As much as she tries, Kate Beckinsale cannot save the misguided entry. I started this review by saying I was a fan of this franchise and I will end it by saying I will never pay to see another one of these films.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Action scenes are well shot and Kate Beckinsale tries
THE BAD – The film is let down by a terrible screenplay which relies on too much footage from the previous films to keep this one afloat