Underworld: Awakening is the 4th film in the Underworld franchise, which sees Kate Beckinsale reprise her role as the sleek vampire Seline. Seline awakes to find she has been cryogenically frozen for the previous 12 years. During this time the humans have attempted to cleanse their world of vampires and lycans and are very much the dominant species again.
From here the story doesn’t really matter because there really isn’t much of one, and who goes to see these films for the story-line anyway? It’s best not to worry about the story too much, because if you do you will not be able to ignore the giant plot holes which litter the film.
The film is really a sequence of action scenes punctuated by awfully delivered wooden dialogue. The dialogue is so bad that it really takes you out of the film and kills any atmosphere of fear or danger which had been present. While the dialogue is terrible, the acting isn’t much better. Beckinsale can kick some serious ass, but the minute she opens her mouth the facade of her as a formidable vampire is gone
Thankfully the action scenes which make up much of the film are quite impressive. The Lycans are spectacularly ugly creatures, reminiscent of mutated Orcs, and the action scenes involving them are high-paced and rather gruesome. There are enough action scenes to keep the most serious of action nuts entertained. Vampires, Humans, Lycans – everyone is fighting everyone. It’s a little hard to keep track of who we are supposed to be cheering for.
Much like the previous films the colours in this film are variations of blue, black, and grey – the film does a fairly decent job of creating a depressing and gloomy world. For fans of the franchise, it may be worth paying the extra to see this in IMAX. The size of the IMAX screen allows the audience to follow the often crowded and busy action scenes much easier than a smaller sized screen would. The 3D is neither here nor there. A few action sequences benefit from the effects, but otherwise it doesn’t add much.
Fans of the franchise and those looking for wall-to-wall action will love this film. Those looking for an action film with an interesting story are likely to be quite disappointed.
Director: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Writer(s): Les Wiseman, John Hlavin, Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett
Starring: Kate Beakinsale, Michael Ealy
Runtime: 88 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: January 26th 2012; New Zealand: March 1st 2012
(Note: this review was originally posted on my tumblr)