I’ve been a fan of the Underworld movies, and have watched all four now, UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING being the latest instalment. The film takes place in the future when the world has discovered vampires and lycans exist. This has discovery has led to a war and the mass culling of vampires and lycans.
It opens with Selene, the lovely Kate Beckinsale, racing to find her lover and vampire and lycan hybrid Michael Corvin (Scott Speed). A scary fall in the water, a strange bomb and Selene becomes cryogenically frozen. Flash forward 12 years and Selene awakes in a laboratory, in a world where vampires and lycans are virtually extinct. Desperate to find Michael, she finds herself psychically connected to a person they refer to as ‘subject two’.
I will leave you to wonder on who ‘subject two’ is and whether Selene and Michael reunite. I don’t want to spoil it.
Does UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING deliver the sexy, slick action we’ve seen in previous instalments? Yes and No. Beckinsale has the role of Selene down and she is back in all her kick-ass glory. Although in four films you would have thought they could have given her a new outfit!
The length of the movie states 1hr 28mins, credits aside the film itself was actually 1hr 15mins, both my husband and I were surprised it was finished already that we checked on the DVD player. So this is more like a novella in film format, rather than a full feature length movie in my opinion, it was too short, disappointingly so.
Although the film was set in the future, there were some weird things that didn’t quite add up or were explained. For example everyone seemed to be driving around in 1980s cars. Now I can understand technology not moving on at all, but reverting back?
The director seemed to very much like the swooping, jumping scenes. At one point Beckinsale put on a long coat it seemed just to jump off a tall building and look cool, only to take it off again for the fight scene. Style over substance, humorously so, and not in a good way.
The fights scenes are as good as they’ve always been, in all their gun smoking, wall destroying, car chasing glory. But the plot seemed to lack the depth and we’ve seen in the previous films. The futuristic setting needed further exploration, the relationship between Selene and ‘subject two’ didn’t have time to develop and grow and the ending was quite simply too abrupt.
The plot reawakens familiar threads such as the war between vampires and Lycans, but also the elders rigid control and inflexibility. This film brings with it some new characters and therefore new actors. Including Theo James as David the vampire wishing to fight back an take a different path from the elders and Charles Dance who gives a good performance as Thomas the elder.
The jump in time was an interesting one, and enabled the story to move forward quickly, it brought with it some unexpected developments. Twelve years wasn’t enough time to completely revolutionise the setting, but enough time to make things slightly alien. I found the leap an interesting twist on the previous films.
Did I enjoy the film? Yes. But as the same time I felt short-changed. I wanted more, well at least another forty five minutes if I’m honest for my money. Don’t believe the quote on the website: “The best Underworld yet” because, it really isn’t. It’s not bad, but it’s not that great either. Maybe wait for it to be on TV, don’t bother buying the DVD unless you want it to look all neat on your shelf with the others…