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Review: Underworld Awakening
How refreshing it is to see a vampire/werewolf movie that actually has their supernatural creatures killing instead of sparkling. Yes, I have to make fun of Twilight where ever I can. Underworld Awakening is the fourth installment of the series and while the series itself has been somewhat of a mixed bag it does have some loyal fans. Awakening takes place sometime after the second movie and follows the main character of the series, Selene (Kate Beckinsale.) The series is known for it's graphic action scenes, and the adult material it deals with. It also carries with it plenty of supernatural horror elements as like many shows/films as of late, werewolves and vampires do not get along. The first film set up a very nice story between the two as a great war broke out as the leader of the Lycans (werewolves, Lycanthropes, it's all the same thing) entered into a romantic relationship with the leader of the werewolves. It was deemed as sacrilegious and Viktor (the vampire leader) had his daughter killed. This in turn angered her lover, Lucian, who freed all of his kind and rebelled against the vampires. There is of course more to the story, but the real draw to the series is the action, which is where Underworld Awakening shines.
The plot follows yet again Selene as she is on the run from humans this time around. The human race had found out the existence of Lycans and Vampires alike and had begun to hunt them down. It was called "The Purging" as burnt supernatural creatures laid dead in the streets of cities. Selene is on the run to meet back up with her hybrid lover, Michael Corvin. Michael is waiting to escape with her as he waits for her on a dock. The two meet up but it is short lived as the humans arrive with superior firepower and take the two down. Selene wakes up to find herself in a lab and even more troubling, a cryo tank. Someone had woken her up as the test subject that was in a cryo-stasis in a tube next to her had broken out. She begins to have visions of what escaped as she seems to have some sort of link with the test subject. Selene believes this person that she has some sort of connection with must be Michael and she continues to search for him. However, once she catches up with this person, she realizes it isn't Michael but it is her daughter. Or a clone of sorts, or just some sort of genetic creature that the government lab that they just escaped from had created. It is most likely that she is in fact the daughter as more is shown about her as the film goes on.
In the film I can't honestly remember Selene's daughter being named anything other than Subject 1, but IMDB has her listed as Eve. It's a fitting name for her, so I'll go with it from here on out. Selene and Eve meet up with another vampire, David, who has been off the grid since The Purging and he promises to bring them to safety. David brings the two to one of the last remaining vampire clans led by a man that at first glance looks like Viktor, the vampire elder from the first film. The leader is also in fact David's father, and he chastises David for bringing a known traitor such as Selene to their sanctuary. The plot continues to serves as a way to bring about another action sequence from scene to scene from this point on, for that matter, from the start of the movie the plot serves that way. The plot isn't well though out at all, but it is forgivable if you simply turn off your brain and don't ask questions, effectively making yourself a zombie. Ah, I love being too smart for a movie.
I loved Underworld, I didn't think much of the second, thought the third was tolerable and this one just was a mess. Now, it was entertaining to some regard, but the plot was simply an afterthought. It's clear that it was even more serving as a set up to the inevitable sequel which then leads me to ask, what was the purpose of making this one? If you really want to make what ever you are planning for Underworld 5, then why don't you combine this one and the sequel? It is fairly easy, at least in theory, to take your time and create a well thought out film with great action sequences and a solid plot. Now, I apologize for the mini rant there. Again, the film has some of the better action sequences that I have seen since some of the summer blockbusters.
Kate Beckinsale may not get awards for her acting across her career, but she does an admirable job in such a mediocre role. She makes the cold and unperson-able Selene into a character that we all can get behind and root for. The rest of the actors were a mixed bag in this film. Stephen Rea seemed as if he was in pain throughout the film, and hey I can't blame him, his role was pretty awful. India Eisley as Eve is decent enough, but not noteworthy by any means. Overall, Awakening is a popcorn flick. If you see it you know what you are getting. You are getting an hour and a half of good action, a bad story and the lovely Kate Beckinsale.