THE PLOT. Six months after the events of Underworld: Evolution, Selene and her lover, Michael Corvin, are captured by human troops during a puge of all vampires and Lycans (werewolves) when humanity finally learns of their existance. Selene and Michael are special as they share the blood of Corvinus, the first vampire. Selene the vampire and Michael the Lycan both gain additional powers that make them unique, so naturally they become test specimens to be experimented on. For twelve years, Selene is kept in a cryogenic coma at the Antigen facility, a government sponsored research facility run by Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea). Another captive at the facility, known as Subject Two, helps Selene to escape. At first Selene thinks that Subject Two is Michael, because she can see events through his eyes. But when another vampire, David (Theo James) comes to Selene's aid, they discover that Subject Two is a young girl called Eve (India Easley). They head off in a van for David's lair but are attacked by a trio of Lycans on the way. Eve is bitten by one of the Lycans and retaliates by ripping its head in half. Selene and David kill the Lycan trio and arrive at David's underground lair. David is the son of an elder vampire, Thomas (Charles Dance) who doesn't take too kindly to their arrival. Selene uses her blood to help heal Eve and she learns that the young vampire hybrid is actually her daughter. Hmm, now there's a turn up for the books!
|India Easley as Eve, the hybrid vampire daughter of Selene.|
Things take a turn for the worse when the vampires' lair is discovered and infiltrated by a pack of Lycans. This is odd as all Lycans were supposedly eradicated during "The Purge." Looks like someone has been telling lies. The Lycans are only after one thing, Eve. Selene promises to protect her but fails in her duty when she is beaten by the largest Lycan ever seen (Kris Holden-Ried). This beast is about twelve feet tall and a real bad ass! David is killed in the fight and Selene knocked out but she makes amends to Thomas by bringing David back to unlife with her unique blood.
She leaves the coven and enlists the help of an FBI detective, Sebastian (Michael Ealy) to gain access to the Antigen facility, where Eve has been returned. Dr. Lane is revealed as a Lycan and he has been using Selene's DNA to create a race of super Lycans who are immune to silver. That huge bad ass Lycan I mentioned earlier is Quint, Dr. Lane's son. The film climaxes in a bloody fight to the death with no prizes awarded for guessing who emerges victorious.
THE FILM. This time the film had two directors, Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, both from Sweden. The series creator and original director, Len Wiseman, (husband of Kate Beckinsale) wrote the screenplay and was one of the film's producers. With a running time of just 90 minutes this packed in a lot of fight scenes, which were very gory. The 3D aspect was supposed to help kickstart the franchise but to be honest didn't add a lot to the film.
|Kate Beckinsale as Selene in action. Do not mess with this lady!|
THE VERDICT. For one and a half hours I just switched my brain off and was immersed in a fast-paced, action-packed bloodfest and I came out of the cinema with a huge smile on my face. I was entertained and the sight of Kate in her skintight costume kicking butt was enough for me to give this film a huge thumbs up. There are holes you can pick in the plot and no one is going to win any acting awards for this film, but that kind of misses the point. It's an action and adventure film, pure and simple with no pretensions of being high art. Sometimes we need our fix of mindless mayhem and bloody violence as an escape mechanism from the rigours of real life. Believe me, I've seen a lot worse than this offering. As a result I'll happily award this an 8 out of 10 rating. I'd have rated it higher if we'd seen more of Michael and Selene together, but Scott Speedman, who played Michael in the first two Underworld films did not want to appear in part four, which was a shame. Since I've seen the film, I've read numerous reviews of it and it certainly has not gone down well with the film critics. So is it a one to avoid? I guess a lot depends on what you thought of the previous films in the series. These are my favourite vampire films of all time, so it was pretty much a given that I'd enjoy Underworld: Awakening. If you don't think much of the previous offerings or haven't seen them you may want to avoid this one. I'm now looking forward to the DVD release and if there is an Underworld 5, I'll go and see it and no doubt enjoy it.