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  #1  
Old 01-23-2012, 06:04 PM
Måns Mårlind's and Björn Stein's Underworld: Awakening

Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:

http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-ric...orld-awakening



http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-ric...orld-awakening

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

“Underworld: Awakening” was a very odd movie-going experience. The film was on the screen and was suddenly off again. Approximately 80 minutes had passed by, but absolutely nothing of consequence had occurred during that time. This was a film that was so soulless and so lifeless that it had not made a single bit of impact while it was playing. It’s no wonder the studio decided to release it in January, aka “dump month.”

The film opens as a vast manhunt for lycans and vampires is underway. While trying to reunite with her lover, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire, is captured and taken to a research facility where a team of scientists is studying lycans. Selene escapes and eventually meets up with another vampire, David (Theo James), who is also fighting against the humans. She also meets up with her daughter, Eve (India Eisley), whom she had with her lycan lover, making her a hybrid of the two races. After a lycan attack on their vampire base, Eve is taken and brought to the research facility where it appears that there is more going on than the simple study of lycans.

The main reason that “Underworld: Awakening” felt like it had such a vapid, ephemeral existence was that it only consisted of a thread of a story that seemed like it was only there to act as a conduit for the non-stop, mind-numbing action sequences. It’s amazing to discover that it took a total of four people to write this screenplay, and among them the great J. Michael Straczynski, creator of one of the greatest sci-fi shows of all time, “Babylon 5.” Apparently even he has his bad days, just look at “Ninja Assassin.”

There is absolutely no reason that this screenplay should have taken more than one person to write, especially since there’s barely any story to begin with. Being the fourth entry in a mostly forgettable series, it merely continues the story from the other films: lycans hate and want to kill vampires and vice-versa. This entry merely adds the lycans trying to get stronger through research, but even that’s not particularly new.

However, it’s clear the film was not made on the merit of its story. It was made to try and showcase multiple stunts: explosions, gunfire, throats being ripped out, and so on and so forth. Many of these stunts feature Kate Beckinsale jumping off walls, slashing through opponents, and throwing weapons at them, making these sequences extremely repetitive, dull, and as mentioned before, mind-numbing.

Speaking of Beckinsale, her character remains as one-note as ever. It’s amusing to hear her character say at one point, “I’m not good with emotions,” which is certainly true in the case of this film. Her character never comes to life, no pun intended, nor do we ever care about what happens to her, her daughter, or any of the characters since they are as flat and soulless as the film.

“Underworld: Awakening” is the fourth entry in a series that started off as goofy fun and was silly entertainment for the first movie or two, not particularly good, but alright for a rainy night movie when you’re low on options. However, it’s now overstayed its welcome for far too long and I couldn’t even begin to recommend this one, even when there’s nothing else to watch.

Sadly, we can expect the saga to continue as this entry clearly leaves it open for yet another sequel where undoubtedly we will see vampires battle lycans once more in a series of endless action sequences. Perhaps this time they’ll at least try to come up with a story that will slightly engage the audience, but based on how hard they’ve tried lately with this series, I wouldn’t count on that happening. 1.5/4 stars.
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2012, 06:20 PM

I enjoyed your review. And was not at all surprised by what you said. I knew before hand that UA would be a mediocre affair at best. The one and only reason I am going to the cinema next week to see this latest installment in the Underworld franchise can be summed up in one short sweet sentence...

KATE BECKINSALE clad in skin-tight black leather/vinyl jumping around like an idiot.

And sadly, that's where the interest ends for me.

I enjoy the films purely for the whole werewolf + vampire thing. But for me, the franchise is getting a bit long in the tooth. And Katy is my only draw-card now.
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