REVIEW: Underworld: Blood Wars

November 29, 2016

Review, Theatrical, This Week 5 Comments

"...[a] flat, inert, tour-de-force of mopey wankers..."
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REVIEW: Underworld: Blood Wars

Anthony O'Connor
Year: 2016
Rating: MA15+
Director: Anna Foerster
Cast:

Kate Beckinsale, Charles Dance, Tobias Menzies, Theo James, Lara Pulver

Distributor: Sony
Released: December 1, 2016
Running Time: 91 minutes
Worth: $3.50

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…[a] flat, inert, tour-de-force of mopey wankers…”

 

It’s unlikely any particular chapter of the Underworld franchise will ever be considered a timeless classic. The movies have always been a showcase for stylish action scenes and Kate Beckinsale’s adroitness at filling out a pair of PVC pants rather than possessing old fashioned qualities like “a plot” or “a semblance of coherence”. However, if you make the mistake of seeing Underworld: Blood Wars (don’t) you may find yourself longing for the nuanced subtlety of the original Underworld or the Wildean wit of Rise of the Lycans.

Blood Wars’ story begins with Selene (Kate Beckinsale) narrating a summary of the previous four (!) films. It’s rather telling that the best bits of flashback footage all come from the original couple of movies. Hopefully you’re comfortable watching these rehashed loops, they return incessantly. Anyway, Selene’s moping around because she was betrayed by her vampire clan, and the Lycans (werewolves) have a new leader, Marius (Tobias Menzies), and everyone wants her daughter’s blood because it’s full of magical antioxidants or something.

After what seems an eternity of endless, po-faced dialogue scored by shockingly bad and tonally mismatched music, the narrative limps along to a point where Selene, her pal David (Theo James) and his dad, Thomas (Charles Dance) uncover a plot orchestrated by bargain-basement-Eva-Green, Samira (Lara Pulver). The movie then threatens to become “dumb but fun” but, nope, one underwhelming action scene later and it’s back to moping and monologues.

Underworld: Blood Wars was clearly made for less money than some of its predecessors but in the hands of a skilled director a smaller budget need not equate to lesser thrills. However, first time feature director, Anna Foerster does very little with the admittedly thin material on offer here. The action scenes are all generic, the wirework obvious and clumsy and – with one or two notable moments aside – are forgettable variants of vampire action you’ve seen dozens of times before. This would almost be forgivable if any of the characters managed to be even vaguely interesting, but everyone is terminally dull with the possible exception of Lara Pulver, who is terrible but at least looks like she’s having a little bit of fun with her legion of baffle-witted emo acolytes. Kate Beckinsale looks great and fills out those pants charmingly as always but her entire character arc in this movie is: she eventually gets frosted tips and a new winter coat!

Of all the many sins that Underworld: Blood Wars commits, the most egregious is the fact that it doesn’t have a proper ending. The frequently hinted at McGuffin-daughter-with-the-magic-blood subplot remains unresolved except for a last minute stinger designed to excite audience members for the next chapter in the Underworld franchise. If it’s anything like this flat, inert, tour-de-force of mopey wankers you’d be better off staying home and doing literally anything else.

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Comments

  1. Film

    Oh joy another ‘critic’ talking as if his opinion is the be all end all of the film industry. I understand it’s your job but instead of telling us how much you hate the film and how much we should hate ourselves if we like a movie you don’t how about actually going into depth on technical aspects of the film and histories of the actors and such like any good critic can do oh and may critic that has the writing skills to leave a review longer then a fan fiction. Yawn why did I come to this horrible site to read a ‘critics’ review you sounds like they take themselves far to seriously.

  2. Filmgoer

    Thanks for this review. Enjoyed reading it. You thought the film sucked and you justified your reasons. The rest of us are free to disagree and can check for ourselves if the film has any merit (I’ll give it a miss – wasn’t that thrilled with the first Underworld).

    I hope your review wasn’t prejudiced by expectation – a colleague recently trashed ID:R because it didn’t measure up to their unrealistic expectations created by their childhood enjoyment of ID:4: they went into the film looking for a religous experience and to overtly criticise should said experience fail to deliver.

    A tiny point my OCD self couldn’t ignore: it’s “dum”, unless you meant the film was threatening to be “silent but fun” 🙂

  3. Milk

    WTF. they’re releasing another underworld? i think this is tied with resident evil now for most entries in an action-horror series starring an aging hot female lead that nobody you know actually ever watched. i remember checkign the profits of the RE series once and they were impressive and explained why they kept making them (though its been a while now i think). probably the same with this one. its probably guaranteed decent profits somehow.

    1. Milk

      haha…i went to look at how many movies RE series had and found out that….actually……december 23rd, new resident evil comes out too. So it’ll take the lead back at 6 movies. Wow.

      It’s a shame what happened to beckinsale as an actress. She is very hot AND actually talented. That she’s reduced (herself?) to doing such tripe is sad.

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