January 18, 2017

Movie Review: Underworld - Blood Wars

Hard to believe the Underworld franchise has been chugging along for more than a decade and is looking at at least one more sequel before all is said and done. I actually used to enjoy this franchise, led by a latex-clad Kate Beckinsale. There is plenty of potential in an epic tale of a war between vampires and werewolves. I used to anticipate each new episode in the series to see just what was going to happen, even when they replaced Beckinsale with Rhona Mitra and took us into the past to see early monster altercations. Now, I look at a new Underworld movie and think “Another one?” It doesn’t help that I revisited the franchise recently and found them to be kind of dull. Stylish, but dull.

This fifth film in the franchise was directed by first timer Anna Foerster. She has directed for television and has a number of visual effects and director of photography credits. Screenplay duties were handled by Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter, Priest) and Kyle Ward (Machete Kills). The movie holds together and generally makes sense, but it fails to really standout and differentiate itself from those that have come before it.

Underworld: Blood Wars picks up at some point after the events of Awakening. Selene (Beckinsale) is a loner, hunted by both vampires and lycans. Everyone seems to be intent on tracking down her pure blood hybrid daughter (from Awakening), as her blood could, apparently, save everyone/end the war/make the lycans all powerful. Something like that. The problem is that Selene does not know where she is and just wants to be left alone.

At the same time, the wolves have a new leader, Marius (Tobias Menzies), and he has united the clan and is planning on attacking the last stronghold of vampire power. Those vampires, led by the power hungry Semira (Lara Pulver), agree to let Selene come back to train their rookie soldiers to be ready for the impending lycan attack. Of course, things do not go as planned, or maybe they do.

Much like the other entries in the series, this is built on a series of double and triple crosses, unlikely relationships, and plot convenience. It makes everything feel the same. The movies all look the same, they all have that same dark blue color palette, everyone has the same scowl, talk in the same monotone, and you can be guaranteed that someone is working with the enemy. On top of that, they shrunk the world somewhat.

One of the things I liked in the prior movie was how the universe had been expanded. It was revealed that humanity at large had learned of the existence of the vampires and lycans, adding another bit to the mix. This time out, all of that is forgotten. I don’t think there even any human characters in this movie. Then you have the MacGuffin of Selene’s daughter, played up to be so important and then nothing. A little aggravating.

I don’t know. These movies do entertain, somewhat, but they are starting wear down some and they do not really hold up all that well. If you are a fan of the series, this should be seen, but it really is not that great of a movie.

Not Recommended.

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