After having watched the Twilight movie series, it is somewhat refreshing to experience a chapter in the Underworld saga where vampire and werewolf characters aren’t bogged down by romance and emotions.
No. Instead they prefer to participate in pseudo-martial arts fight scenes, all while dressed up like people going to some kind of leather-clad goth party on Halloween.
While I haven’t seen any of the other three Underworld movies, I think it’s probably a safe bet that they are all pretty much the same. The premise is this: Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a vampire intent on ridding the planet of the werewolf-like Lycans since they killed her family. As it turns out, both are the result of a virus. Humans get experimented on as well, for cross-breeding purposes. Things get messy all over the place.
It goes on and on like this with battle after battle in the greater war for the planet. In Awakening, the humans start to win. They discover both Vampire and Lycan clans and start a murderous crusade called the Purge to eradicate both species. Selene gets captured instead and cryogenically frozen for scientific testing on an antidote to the virus. She wakes up 12 years later and is greatly displeased. Fighting and arguments ensue.
Frankly, it seems like all of that fighting and argument takes place at night. I suppose it makes sense, what with vampires generally having an aversion to daylight but this is one of the darkest movies I’ve ever seen. None of this is helped by the fact that Selene only wears black.
While it took me a few minutes to catch up with the story to this point, it didn’t really matter. This isn’t the sort of thing where extended plotlines are of central importance to the bulk of the audience. Underworld is a stylistic hybrid of Matrix and Resident Evil (and with some plot devices and characters in common also) mixed with monsters halfway between the ones found in Van Helsing and the Twilight series. Beckinsale tries to be a cross of Milla Jovovich and Carrie-Anne Moss, but with fewer guns and less bullet-time cinematography. All of this is too bad because she actually started her career as a half-decent Shakespearean actress.
Underworld: Awakening, while no Much Ado About Nothing, is really just another reason to inflict more violence onto the world, making it as glamorous as possible all the time. It wasn’t as dreadful and boring as Resident Evil: Afterlife, but frankly, it just makes me more tired of vampires and werewolves, martial arts, leather clad butt-kickers, as well as viruses and zombies, and cookie cutter action movies for that matter, too.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Sandrine Holt, India Eisley, Theo James, Wes Bentley, Michael Ealy, Charles Dance and Stephen Rea
Directed by: MÄ‚Ä„ns MÄ‚Ä„rlind and BjĂ¶rn Stein
Now playing at: Grandin Theatres, Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Scotiabank Theatre