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Movie Reviews

Underworld Awakening



Released: 2012

Directed By: Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy

Certificate: 18
Reviewed By: Lewis Filer
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Underworld Evolution) returns to the big screen as the beautiful but deadly vampire Selene in the fourth and latest installment of the Underworld franchise. Awakening, directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein is a great return to form for the series and doesn’t fail to offer the expected over the top action and THAT catsuit. Set six months after the events of the second movie Underworld: Evolution, Death Dealer Selene (Beckinsale) and hybrid lover Michael are captured by the humans after the existence of the two immortal species of Vampires and Lycans become public knowledge. The humans initiate an eradication of the two species with a non-merciful purge of all those ‘infected’…..Vampires and Lycans.
After being imprisoned in cryogenic suspension for 12 years, Selene escapes the facility with help from an unknown source. During the same time, another subject. a hybrid child Eve (India Eisley) escapes along with Selene, a vampire-lycan hybrid who may be the key to ending the war. Selene and Eve team up with vampire warrior David (Theo James – The Inbetweeners Movie) to bring about the return of the vampires and also the end of the war. As a loyal fan of the Underworld movies, i am biased to liking whatever is thrown at me, but with Awakening, the fourth entry in the series, i can say (unbiased) that it is a triumphant return to the dark world of Vampires and Werewolves, you won’t find any Twilight nonsense here!

The action is bigger, better and gorier and with the return of the lovely Kate Beckinsale (who looks as beautiful as ever) it is on a level with the first movie. Any girls who get dragged along by their boyfriends, don’t cry as you will also get some eye candy in the form of Theo James, you know that one who snorted poo in the Inbetweeners Movie? For newcomers to the series, there is also a very detailed catch-up of all 3 previous films at the beginning that will not leave anyone confused at any point of this outing. The special effects and CGI are on top form as usual with plenty of blood, flying body parts and the terrifying Lycans and the frightening Hybrids being spot on in a sense that you would not want to encounter any of them in a dark alley, or anywhere for that matter. Brilliant action and fight sequences from Beckinsale are one of the highlights of the movie and leave nothing to the imagination.
The film was shot in 3D and has got to be the nicest most crystal clear 3D i’ve seen in a film (kudos to the incredible Red Epic camera used), but despite this fact it wasn’t neccesary in the slightest. With very little ‘in your face’ 3D moments it could have done without the 3D treatment (and the extra cost of the ticket). The movie isn’t perfect by any means. The script is amateurish and contains very little character development in contrast to the brilliant script of the first film which had a very interesting mythology and history to the two species. Obviously people who come to see this film aren’t bothered by that in the slightest, they are just watching it for Beckinsale and the action. The major issue i have was the ‘purge’ of the Vampires and Lycans. This could have made a very interesting movie in itself with the humans discovery of the species and the events that followed, but this potential idea was only given a 5 minute explanation before the story of Awakening started.

The soundtrack is comprised of industrial sounding remixes of songs by current and relevant rock artists and groups such as Evanescence, Linkin Park, The Cure and Lacuna Coil and help to create the atmosphere of the Under-world and the background score sets the pace for the drama. As i mentioned before, being a massive fan of the franchise i will always be biased towards it, but i do believe that this was one of the better installments (if you take the Underworld films for what they are) and a fine return to form after the gap between this and the third movie, Rise of the Lycans. It won’t appeal to everyone and there will be some who just wish someone would drive a stake through the heart of the series. Also with an 18 certificate it won’t reach a wide audience, mostly being teenage boys who obviously watch these films for Beckinsale.

Despite all this, Underworld: Awakening is a dark action-horror movie and with an ending that could possibly set up a fifth movie, i doubt this will be the last we see of Underworld and Beckinsale’s leather clad catsuit (for the latter we hope not!).

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