Just in case you’re coming into this review with no previous knowledge of the franchise, Underworld Awakening is actually the fourth installment in this vampire versus lycans (aka werewolves) series. The first Underworld was released in 2003 setting up the story line of an underground war between werewolves and vampires unknown to the majority of the human species – hence the real deep and meaningful movie title. In 2006 came Underworld Evolution followed by Underworld Rise of the Lycans in 2009 which was a prequel of sorts. Rise of the Lycans should have been a straight to DVD release in my opinion because the entire movie was awkward and didn’t compliment the Underworld franchise in the least. I was sure the series would have been dead after that fiasco, but alas we now have Underworld Awakening; Of course thanks to Rise of the Lycans I went into this one with zero expectations.
If you’re worried that you’ll need to watch the other three before watching this one let me put you at ease. It isn’t as if the plot is deep and pulls details from the other films. As with most sequels, the films starts with a quick recap and then dumps you into the current situation where humans discover the presence of lycans and other beasts and perform a mass cleansing; killing all those suspected of being nonhuman. While trying to save her werewolf lover from being killed by humans enforcing Martial Law, the vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is knocked unconscious. She awakens 12 years later at Antigen Laboratories where she has been held in suspended animation and mysteriously set free and escapes. Here comes the crazy plot twist: She has a daughter now named Eve (India Eisley) who was also a test subject in the lab. When I saw this part of the movie, I rolled my eyes because I couldn’t see this kid being believable in the werewolf/vampire hybrid role. To my surprise, Eisley was able to pull the character off enough for me to think she wasn’t completely human and didn’t have to depend on CGI completely for a convincing role.
The movie from then on revolves around this child and how Selene makes allies in order to rescue her preteen daughter who is recaptured by the evil scientist of Antigen Labs whose goal is to strengthen the lycan species through gene manipulation. Like I said the plot is nothing deep. What made this movie entertaining were the action scenes. Rather than trying to over complicate the plot, the studio made the smart decision of going for a fun, action packed movie that will make the audience wince a few times.
One thing I don’t get is that this movie had two directors. As the saying goes “two heads are better than one,” which would make me believe they could have made this movie even more entertaining and not so dry with better acting. Without the action scenes the movie would be completely spineless.
I think the movie delivers just enough to keep audiences entertained. The last thing you want is a sequel that runs long and makes it obvious that they are trying to make it better than all of the prior films. I was also surprised I wasn’t covering my eyes at all during this movie. So to call this a horror flick is a stretch. Just because there is a bunch of monsters running around yelling at each other doesn’t equal scary. Lucky for the film though the action scenes are entertaining, it’s short, running just under 90 minutes, it isn’t overrun with terrible computer graphics and it has a beautiful leading lady.
So, if you like fun Sci-Fi films and don’t have high expectations, I would say go catch the flick. It’s nothing you’d be dying to see again anytime soon but it’s a fun ride nonetheless.
When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrioress Selene leads the battle against humankind.