Sunday, 22 March 2015

Underworld Awakening (2012)

I have quite a soft spot for vampire/werewolf films (apart from An American Werewolf in London which still scares the bejesus out of me); I really like Underworld, Evolution and even Rise of the Lycans had its moments. So though I didn’t imagine it would blow me away, I hoped Awakening would still be Underworldly.

It is kinda fun, but ultimately lacks the bite that the first two films had; this is despite Selene killing more than she does in her previous outings (IMDB trivia). This lack of impact is possibly because a lot of the kills are human. I guess it is a logical progression for the humans to find out, but its slightly less fun than the vampires and lycans beating seven hells out of each other. It’s rather like droids being killed in the Star Wars prequels rather than Imperials.

When there is some lycan action, they all look a bit too cg. Actually a bit like the hell dogs from Ghostbusters. Indeed some of the action is so obviously geared for a few 3D money shots it feels like it is all choreographed to this end, and entertainment can go hang. However, some of the sets (vampire hideout) and cinematography (lab exteriors) are pretty cool.

Kate Beckinsale is great (and hot) again as Selene but much as I appreciate her in a tight black outfit, there was a few too many shots of her landing in hero pose and standing up slowly. Actually, I’d never really thought of it before but Selene really is a cross between Trinity and Lara Croft. No wonder I like Underworld.

Charles Dance tries to channel his inner Tywin to fill Bill Nighy’s boots, but doesn’t quite pull it off. He just looks uncomfortable with a mouth full of pointy teeth. Stephen Rea is good, though his attempt at an American accent comes and goes; more goes really; and he doesn’t say bollocks nearly as much as he does in V for Vendetta (shame).

India Eisley (never heard of her) is essentially the mcguffin of the film, though her presence is a fairly obvious plot “twist” and her performance just involved pouting and snarling. Kris Holden-Ried doesn’t really do any acting as the guy who turns into a massive lycan; the most interesting thing about him is that his IMDB profile describes him as “Pentathlon Champion. Father. Werewolf... “!

As I say, kinda fun; I like the story generally, it just doesn’t seem to gel properly, and there’s far too much bloodless exposition. Directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein presumably know a thing or two having directed several episodes of the hugely popular series The Bridge, but by the time the credits roll on Underworld Awakening the overall feeling is one of ambivalence. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.

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