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Underworld: Blood Wars

2016-12-02 09:15
 

What it's about:

Vampire-death dealer Selene fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David and his father Thomas, she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

What we thought:

As much as I am a fan of the Underworld franchise, I know it’s not the best out there. Its appeal lies in its leather suits, bloody violence, British accents and one of the coolest most badass heroines to have graced the screen. You can’t really have Underworld without Kate Beckinsale and her vampire superstar alter ego Selene, and luckily for us she seems to enjoy reprising her role as well as have access to the fountain of youth. She keeps you coming back for more, and without her there wouldn’t have been much to entice you to sit through a franchise stuck in the early 2000s and another Hollywood’s latest attempt to make Theo James happen (Divergent series). 

After the events of the last movie, Selene is still on the run from both lycans (werewolves for you non-nerds) and vampires, looking for her love Michael and dealing with the estrangement from her hybrid daughter. David, a vampire she saved with her blood, tracks her down and his father convinces the vampire council to let her back to train their new recruits against the onslaught of a new, organised lycan leader. 

If you are looking for some old-school vampires before Twilight broke the genre, Underworld harks back to the Blade-era vampires - tech-savvy, leather enthusiasts and they don’t shy away from their bloodlust. Underworld has always had a bit more of a medieval-tech crossover style, and they go all out in this one. The question though, would this kind of vampire still be popular in today’s pop culture scene? Besides the old fans and some die-hard goths, I don’t think Underworld would really attract a new audience, but without its special yet out-dated style it wouldn’t really be Underworld anymore. This Catch-22 will be resolved at the box office, but I think it’s time that we retire the leather attire.

I honestly thought this was going to be the last one, as I don’t see the series continuing without Beckinsale, but it appears she can’t let go and has signed on to return for a fourth time (she did not appear in Rise of the Lycans). I am keen on a final resolution to the story, but can they just get some better writers? It’s can’t be that hard to just write out a plot that’s not too predictable and with better dialogue. It doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, just less like a 13-year old wrote it. And I am still pissed off that they changed quite a core part of the franchise, and gave it such a insipid conclusion. As for the new leading man, James is such a boring actor, with no spark, which suits the Divergent franchise but in Underworld you need quite a personality to fit in with the fantastical. 

The female cast, besides Beckinsale, did a better job than the men, with True Blood vampiress Lara Pulver who plays an ambitious yet selfish council member, an awesome accompaniment to Selene.  Newcomer Clementine Nicholson, a hippie vampire with white hair, is also a badass. The many strong female characters could be attributed to the fact that Anna Foerster (Criminal Minds, Outlander) helmed this one. Despite this, her vision might have fitted in with the previous films, but something about the plot just couldn’t get me as excited as I was for the other films in the franchise.

The action is as great as the others though, and Underworld: Blood Wars is all about the slicing, shooting and mauling. Unfortunately, what I enjoyed about the others was missing in this one, and that is the love stories that were weaved into the action. Selene and Michael had a great story, and the filmmakers lost sight of this important element to the franchise. They kind of shoe-horned it in there, but it felt awkward and out of place. If you’re keen on some B-grade violence and vampires, or are a fan of the franchise, this will please you. If you can’t watch something just for the fun of it, then back away from the leather.


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