R, 88 min.
Director: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Writers: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett, Kevin Grevioux (characters), Danny McBride (characters)
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rae, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Kris Holden-Ried, Sandrine Holt, Wes Bentley, Charles Dance
Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. This franchise is beginning to make the “Twilight” franchise look brilliant. “Underworld” goes in the opposite direction as that franchise. While “Twilight” took the horror out of vampires by making them sparkly and celibate, “Underworld” took the horror out of vampires by giving them machine guns and allowing them to die.
It was fun at first to fantasize about what a war between vampires and werewolves might be like, but this has just gotten ridiculous. We’re supposed to sympathize with these bloodsuckers because the humans are hunting them now? Why the hell wouldn’t humans hunt them down? They live off our blood. The only way for them to get that is to kill us. It’s called self-preservation, people. I know we’re supposed to be concerned when a species is threatened to the point of extinction, but sometimes getting rid of one species for the good of another is the only way to go. We don’t weep about obliterating killer viruses from the planet.
“Underworld: Awakening” is the fourth movie in this franchise, and the ending promises a fifth. Like so many of these ill conceived fantasy versions of horror films, the filmmakers seem to put less and less thought into each one. I’m not sure what this film is an awakening to. I suppose the heroine—Kate Bekinsale returning to the franchise after missing the last film, which cleverly took a look back to the early days of the war between the vampires and the lycans—is awakening to a future when the vampire is hunted by man, which they really always were. It’s just that man wasn’t winning before. It’s more like an awakening to the fact the sell by date on this franchise passed quite a while ago and the thing is beginning to smell awfully sour.