For over a decade, Sony's Screen Gems imprint has been known for two go-to horror franchises: Resident Evil and Underworld. Both have extremely dedicated leading women, and have slowly but surely diminished in returns, ultimately wearing out their welcome. With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter heading to theaters at the end of this month, one lame franchise will be put out of its misery, leaving Underworld all of the room to suck. And boy, does Underworld: Blood Wars prove that there's still a fair amount of suck left in this franchise.
Selene (Kate Beckinsale) has gone through a lot since the first Underworld film. She's turned her back on her own kind, lost her lover, and hidden her own child away for her own protection. And yet, that doesn't seem to be quite enough, as a new Lycan militant, Marius (Tobias Menzies) is hell bent on capturing Selene to find the location of her daughter - the only hybrid Lycan / Vampire in the world. Allied with her vampire kin once more, she'll have to fight harder than she's ever fought before, becoming something entirely different to face the challenges ahead.
Don't worry if you haven't seen any of the Underworld films, as Underworld: Blood Wars will catch you up to speed on the events of the previous films in Selene's story. Multiple times, in fact, as the film uses not only a monologue that dumps a ton of exposition at the head of the picture, but also through several "genetic memory" sequences that see characters drinking blood to view one's life history, or to prove one's identity is in fact as they claim. If only there were some sort of drink that could have summed up the events of Underworld: Blood Wars without having to sit for the hour and a half to watch it, as I would have vastly preferred that method.
Omitting the clips from previous films, Underworld: Blood Wars barely makes the cut as a feature film, with a story so thin you'd think it was allergic to ultraviolet lights and script editing. Which would normally mean that the action quotient of the film would try and somehow make up for whatever was lacking in the narrative department. Here's where Underworld: Blood Wars lets us down again, as the action is incredibly pedestrian, playing it safe with the usual shoot outs, slo-mo, and hand to hand combat that action films trade in. So with a lackluster story, and abysmal action, just what is there to show up for with Underworld: Blood Wars?
Well, as per usual, a good number of the cast members assembled to take part in the latest Underworld film are too good for this drek, and you can see it in their attempts to elevate the material they're given. Franchise newcomer Lara Pulver, she of Sherlock fame, happens to be an interesting frenemy to Kate Beckinsale's Selene. Also giving it all they've got is respected actor, and generally pleasant presence Charles Dance, whose Thomas actually makes you want to pay attention to what's going on in the film. It's actually Dance's absence through parts of this film that sinks Underworld: Blood Wars', and that's keeping in mind that franchise lead Beckinsale is absent for a good portion of the film, particularly through the second act and climactic battle.
If the Underworld franchise was ever any good, that era has long since past. These films have gone from cult joy to guilty pleasure to just plain stupid, and Underworld: Blood Wars is the film that's brought the entire endeavor to the station of stultifying shame. Oh, and pay no mind to the trailers that keep teasing "Every Blood Line Must End," as the film promises at least one more entry on the way. Please, Sony, end this franchise while you still can. Let's hope Resident Evil: The Final Chapter can somehow outdo this static piece of garbage that barely qualifies as a horror and/or action movie, as well as a movie in general.
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