Director :- Anna Foerster
Cast :- Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies
Genre :- Action , Fantasy
So, here we are with yet another underworld film starring the veteran death dealer – Selene (Kate Beckinsale) who has become a legend by now for being a ruthless vampire both on screen and off it.
It just surprises me how desperate filmmakers get to extend a franchise far beyond bearable capacity. History and probably your movie collection will stand witness to this statement most of the time. Look at the Taken series, the first part was mind numbingly good but then came Taken 2 and 3. The fans asked for more of Mr. Mills Secret Service CQC (Close Quarter Combat) skills but look where it got us? Sometimes fans have demands filmmakers should happily decline because you don’t want your work going down in history as something people couldn’t bare because you gave them what they wanted.
Yes, there are exceptions – Star wars (all of them), John Wick (Initial reviews state the second movie isn’t as great as the first but is still mighty good), 28 weeks later (sequel to 28 hours and 28 days later, hope they make 28 years later) etc.
But it has been made and here is my review. For Underworld and Selene’s fan, here is your chance to turn away as it will get spoiler ridden from here on.
Be warned !
So, the movie is set on the background after the events of Underworld 4 : Awakening where Selene is up against a new enemy – Humans. Humans being frightened of the true capability of these creatures in the shadow, start hunting them. They wipe out the Lycans (the evolved shape-shifting breed of werewolves) and are after Vampires. They capture Selene and Michael (the first hybrid – Vampire/Lycan) and while in stasis the scientist fuse their genetic material to form a first of it’s kind pure hybrid – a girl name Eve. The Lycans wanted the blood of the offspring of Eve for genetic advancement and after Selene thwarts their plans at the end of Underworld 4 they still don’t give up. In this installment of the franchise their new leader – Marius (Tobias Menzies) has gathered all the Lycan clans and plans to lead an assault on the last Vampire covenant to wipe their tyrannous creators out but fears he will lose without Eve’s pure hybrid blood.
“She is the key to the future of the Lycans and Vampires. And when we have the blood of Selene and her daughter we will be invincible. ” – Marius
His assault is feared by the Vampire council. So, Samira (Lara Pulver) – a council member requests the council to grant the traitor – Selene a pardon to step in the covenant to train the death dealers to kill Lycans and defend the Covenant. But the invite is a setup and Selene is poisoned by Varga (Bradley James) – Samira’s conflicted lover. Her blood is extracted and segmented for the Corvineus blood to allow vampires to walk in the day. However, with the help of David (Theo James) and Thomas (Charles Dance) – Selene escapes and is attacked by Marius who finds out Selene doesn’t know the whereabouts of Eve. He kills her and attacks the covenant nevertheless. Selene is resurrected by the other remaining covenant hidden in the Nordic mountains using an ancient method that grants her enhanced abilities making her more powerful. Selene and Marius fight yet again, this time Selene rips out Marius’s spine killing him. All Lycans withdraw and Selene now goes looking for her daughter. Pointing to a sequel yet again.
With the long dragging plot explained let’s get to the opinion part of the review. Let’s explore different segments of the movie.
Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as Selene but honestly it feels like either she or the character has gone through so much that the performance is just not the same as the previous instalments. She rejected the role for underworld 4 but agreed due to the the mother angle and the dip in performance was understandable there but here, no idea. The ferocity, anger and skill that Selene had, this one just lacks.
Theo James is a welcome addition and it is good to see him take on a bigger role compared to the aid who hardly shows up in it’s preceding film.
Charles Dance – well this man is a legend and I honestly adore his screen presence, be it game of thrones or imitation game but this film gave him far too less space and screen time. Anyways his character – Thomas is dead and “vampire” or not nobody can come back from that brutal slaughter.
It seems like vampire characters stay constant and keep coming back but Lycans always have a dying leader in every film except for Lucian, he was there for quite some time. So, Tobias Menzies – Marius is the big bad here and dies by the end again killed because of a sloppy mistake at Selene’s hands. Seems like it’s more of a routine now, the villain does something sloppy and dies simply because he isn’t as smart or experienced as Selene. I liked his human form more than his Lycan one. The human form was more of a leader and a visionary who inspired other Lycans but when he turned into the motion capture version of Lycan (like why do you even bother making him look human? He is a Lycan now and let him be that!) he goes all crazy with no concern for all the strategy his human form decided. Honestly, it must be some biological reason I wouldn’t know because every reincarnation of vampires and werewolves(yes, they are part of werewolves) seems to be completely different.
We have a side villain in the form of Lara Pulver (Samira) a vampire council member who has a secret agenda to walk in the sun again – I assume. It wasn’t very clear. I guess the reason she was there is because they had to keep it interesting because they can’t actually have a completely united vampire covenant, it would defeat the purpose of Lycan chances against their masters (cue storyline of Underworld 3.)
The story was a drag through the first half. It was long and not much of killing happened, to be honest. The high octane fight sequences are the reason why people bother watching it and it didn’t have any of it for a majority of the film. You have story build-up for the attack on the covenant for most of it and to be honest the fight sequences were not half as great as the ones in underworld 2 – which in my opinion was the best of the franchise.
But things start looking up after the mid movie mark, where you have the attack on the Nordic covenant where Theo James (David) and his vampire associates do a lot of butchery which got me hyped up a bit. The main attack on the covenant was the best part of the movie and even though I have told previously it wasn’t as great but I can easily justify.
It is good for the amount of thought the writers put into it.
You see, there’s a thing with movies like these. These are the end of days for some characters – here it is the Vampires. This race has been at the top of the food chain from the beginning of times but now they are almost extinct. You can see with the weaponry and tactics – the Lycans have heavy artillery and skilled fighters, the vampires are cowering and hoping someone has enough strength to beat up the leader and bring home a victory. All the fighters that were skilled warriors are all dead and the ones remaining are weak or untrained. They are so desperate to win they step over their ego and hand the reigns to a kid – David, who is a lot younger to them with enough evidence.
The older parts had things to offer. Like they explained a separate category of origins of these underworld creatures. How they operate, of how they had clashes in the past and how it has lead to animosity between the races but this part didn’t actually need all this as it had already been established. So, they try making new things and addition to the already existent extended universe of Underworld and they haven’t done such a great deal out of it.
So, wrapping up I think it’s a watch if you don’t have anything worthwhile to watch at the moment. You may dose till the interval and all you will miss important points relating to hidden elements of a few character’s pasts. There is hardly any sword wielding action and high jumping CGI’ed fight sequences unlike the previous parts. This part has nothing new to add to the already existent franchise and I pray the writers/filmmakers understand that the franchise has had it’s successful run and now can lay in peace.
My Rating :- Crippling extension