Once upon a time, few movie franchises get to become a trilogy. These days, any franchise can easily churn out sequels, but as expected, not all get to be rich, tasty morsels of cinematic gems.
Underworld: Blood Wars is the fifth instalment in the Underworld series, and this action horror film is a direct sequel to 2012’s Underworld: Awakening. But for those of you counting down the days to the movie, there is nothing much to shout about here.
Selene (played by the ever beautiful and age-defying Kate Beckinsale), our vampire death dealer, continues to fight the Lycans (the werewolves) and the Vampires, as they try to capture her and her daughter.
If you do not remember what happened in the earlier movies, there is a recap. (Oh by the way, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the movie starts with a recap of the previous movies based on flashbacks from Selene’s memory. Some films *coughResidentEvilcough* tend to not want viewers to comprehend the overall story, since the chapters do not link up well.)
In short, Selene fell in love with a Lycan, and mothered a vampire-werewolf hybrid, Eve. Eve is being hunted by the Lycans, as they believe that her blood will make them stronger. The vampires are also trying to find Eve, so the Lycans do not get to her first. Both Lycans and Vampires are also looking for Selene, to find out intel about her daughter, whose whereabouts she is actually unaware of.
With the help of David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), Selene tries to end the war, by accepting the Vampire coven’s request to be a trainer before the impending war with the Lycans (No, really, it kind of makes sense in the movie). The current coven leader, Samira, a power-hungry villainess, betrays Selene in a ploy to overthrow the Council.
The story also finds David and Selene seeking refuge at another Vampire coven in the arctic, with vampires that resemble the Targaryens but live up high on The Wall. No, really. Unexpectedly, audiences also find out here that David is next in line to be the coven’s leader, perhaps setting the stage for him to do more in the next movie. (You didn’t think they would stop making these masterpieces did you?) The focal of this arctic arc is the battle between Selene and Lycan leader Marcius, providing the first glimpse into the film’s curiously poor CG standards.
Though there weren’t that many fight sequences littered throughout this film, as compared to the earlier instalments, the bulk of the movie is still action oriented. There is a lot of gore, shooting, slicing and dicing. Unfortunately, the poor animation effects did not do justice to most of the fights. The transformation of the Lycans and their deaths look fake, bordering on being funny. Frankly, I’ve seen older movies with more realistic and impressive effects.
While her character is built-up to be strong and evil, Samira’s eventual death is anti-climatic and almost comical, with her getting speared through the head when celebrating her new-found strength in the midst of a battle.
Kate Beckinsale is probably the movie’s saving grace. In a hot leather suit, she plays the part as well as she did in the other movies. She steals the limelight by returning from a near-death experience, as a partial blond, on nitro. As predictable as it was, it was nevertheless exciting to see the protagonist level-up. Unfortunately, one cannot help but compare her to Resident Evil’s Milla Jovovich, who has a lot more presence and charisma. David, who is definitely a treat for the eyes, does not make too much of an impact. Basically, not much attention was paid to developing any of the characters, but that is the norm of movies of this type.
The war seems set to go on, with the ending of the movie leading up to a next sequel that some may think is laboriously protracted. Fast And Furious this is not. While the movie is entertaining and easy to follow, I doubt it has enough momentum to become a blockbuster hit, especially after the 4-year wait.
Overall, prepare to be underwhelmed if you are not already a fan of the Underworld franchise.