Underworld: Awakening is the fourth instalment in the Underworld series. It follows on neatly from the last, showing us a world where humans successfully hunt & suppress Vampires & Lycan populations - officially the word is that Lycans are extinct and vampires are pretty much wiped out. Waking up from cryo-stasis-type-deal, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) has been out cold for 12 years and the world has changed into an authoritarian state (think Libria from Equilibrium
) but, thanks to the Corvinus strain, she is plagued by visions from another's eyes - Subject 2 - her liberator with whom she shares a unique connection.
The Lycans want Subject 2 at any cost, will Selene manage to keep her safe from them and work out why she is so important?
Firstly, if you are not familiar with the Underworld Trilogy
then this probably isn't the best place to start - despite being the highest budget ($70m) and highest grossing ($131m) of the quartet. For those familiar with the concept, you know the drill by now; guns, leather coats, spandex, blood-drinking and overly-muscled wolves.
Secondly, this film seems to have been written around the wardrobe department. We see Selene wake up from a secure 12-year-long-stasis and her clothes are right next to her chamber. Did they decide to keep them there just in case she woke up and needed to escape in a rush?? She falls to the floor in a fog of liquid nitrogen that allows her to assume the most glamour-model position possible as she lays on the floor. Then, the next scene freshly & fully dressed, she breaks into a separate clothes-shop for a coat (she's a vampire - as in, doesn't feel the cold!?) but boy, does that coat make cool swooping shapes when you are jumping off roof after roof.
Then there is a car chase, where Selene manages to find the only van in the city old enough to start by jamming a knife into the ignition, but turbo-charged enough to out-run sprinting quadrupeds 5 yards after a 90-degree turn. Even when they catch up, we are given no reason as to why Selene & co. were running in the first place as it appears they can kick Lycan butt with literally no effort as Selene is Supervampire (I'm thinking of trademarking that). The only plot mechanism they can possibly throw in after that revelation is Superwerewolf (not quite as catchy) and there's your finale.
And also, I feel the need to tell director Måns Mårlind, that spraying random letter-number combinations (e.g. "U-7") onto concrete walls does not make an entire dystopian city. Most of the scenes take place in the same/extremely-similar underground car-park & alleyways. Even when it is obvious this is meant to be a different part of the city, there is cringe-worthy prop-recycling (the same dumpster in every alley). At one-point, the vamps tool up in a silver-weapons locker with a big chemical symbol diamond on the door; "Ag 190" it reads. Silver's atomic number is 47, not 190. Or were there 190 silver storage rooms in this underground car-park city? Expensive.
Anyhow, apologies for whinging at length. I just wanted to point out that this film just feels half-assed - like they've got the structure established and developed all the characters and this is just another money-spinner in the franchise. There is literally not one-part of the sets, plot or costume that has had any thought spent on it. The plot is even lifted from F.E.A.R.
with flashbacks through another's eyes - also named Subject 2. It's unimaginative (a little girl in a vampire film - Is there anything more cliché?) and Måns Mårlind pulls bad-guys out of thin-air to propagate the plot. Acting is an acceptable standard for most involved (anybody else think Theo James is a dead-ringer for James Franco?) and the direction, CGI on the Lycans and special effects are brilliant.
So all in all, this is just more of the same from Underworld, missing a couple of the major characters (Michael) and it's only 88 minutes long which includes the 14 minutes of credits. I'm opening myself up to get destroyed by the Underworld fanboys but I hope this helps make up your mind on whether it's worth spending your hard earned cash on this!!