By Adam Bunch
Starring: Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale is back as Selene in Underworld: Awakening, the fourth movie in the Vampire/Werewolf franchise. After a good (not great) movie with the first Underworld, I thought the series was dead after Underworld: Evolution. A film that tried to go the Blade II route and change things up for vampires a little bit, but fell flat on its fanged face from the moment of an ill-timed love scene. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, however brought me back into the fray with a feeling that there was some excitement left in Len Wiseman’s always blue filtered film creation. Looks like I was wrong and she should have stayed away.
The movie opens with an awkward piece, explaining what has happened with Selene since the second film. From there it moves on to a nicely done montage of humans finding out about the existence of Vampires and Lycans and how they’ve gone about to exterminate both species. Fast forward to Subject 1: Selene (Beckinsale) awaking from a frozen slumber that immediately makes you think of Alice (Milla Jovovich) from Resident Evil. She breaks out only to discover she now has a telepathic link to an oft referred “Subject Two”, who for the next 90 min you will constantly think is Samara from “The Ring”
From here we go through awkward transitions of what their relationship is, to action scenes and violence/gore that seem over the top just to garner an R rating. Once we find out (gasp) that all the Vampires and Lycans are not truly gone, the fight scenes between Selene & Vampires vs. Lycans will keep you mildly interested.
The entire film is not a letdown, however, once Dr. Lane (Stephen Rey) lets the audience know the reasoning Selene was in captivity and his role between Vampires and Lycans. This movie had some interesting story elements, but it took them and wrapped them in an awkwardness burrito.
Now, if you are wondering if I left out Michael (Scott Speedman) who is referred to in the trailers…no I didn’t. There are fuzzy CGI shots of someone who resembles him but other than that he does not appear, nor does Michael Sheen (Lucian, head of the Lycans) or Bill Nighy (Viktor), and those characters are obviously missed. If you like Vampires or the Underworld series and want to see where they went with the story, I’d recommend checking it out via streaming or the DVD red soda machine. If you are thinking of buying, save yourself 20 bucks & buy a T-shirt, it will fit you better than how this 1-off fits into the Underworld Series.
2.5 out of 5