MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’

Review by J.T. Johnson

2-stars

DIRECTOR: Anna Forerster
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Karl Walter Lindenlaub
WRITER: Cory Goodman
MUSIC: Michael Wandmacher

The problem with the “Underworld” films is that they’ve gone on for so long that I’ve forgotten what the overall story really is. The last one, “Underworld: Awakening” was so bad I completely forgot it almost as soon as it was over. Thankfully, the makers of “Underworld: Blood Wars” must have anticipated this and they gave me a handy little recap at the top of the movie.

This time, former Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) has hidden her daughter Eve somewhere that even she doesn’t know about. Meanwhile, both the Vampires and the Lycans are looking for her. The Lycans, led by Marius (Tobias Menzies), want to find Eve and the Vampires want her to help train more Death Dealers in order to save their dwindling numbers.

Unlike the past two films in this series, “Blood Wars” actually has a more cohesive story. This means that it is a slightly better sequel to the 2003 original. However, with last two entries being as bad as they were, that’s not saying much and better set pieces still can’t save “Blood Wars” from its own set of problems.

The action found in the movie is pretty decent for the most part. The fighting is better this time out and I didn’t feel like the Vampires were nothing more than food for the Lycans. Still, even though the action is improved in this movie, they are still bogged down by shoddy special-effects work. I actually heard someone in the audience chuckle when one of the Lycans began their transformation and I couldn’t help but sympathize with my fellow audience member.

The villains of the movie are also two-dimensional and ultimately forgettable. One is a Vampire who simply has a lust for power and overacting. Meanwhile, there is a Lycan on the other side that has a need for blood and underacting. I’m having trouble remembering them even as I write this review.

Finally, the movie is trying to juggle its main storyline with Selene’s constant reminder that she has other pressing problems to contend with such as her missing daughter. While “Blood Wars” attempts to tell its own story, the movie still ends with the promise that there will be a sixth entry. That means that there are now three sequels (third film was a prequel) without either a true beginning or ending and the filmmakers may want to think about how they plan on eventually ending this series.

Beckinsale, like Milla Jovovich in the “Resident Evil” series, is a shining light in a series that only had one strong entry while the rest are monotonous and forgettable. I say again that “Blood Wars” is somewhat of an improvement, but it’s a little too late to the party to add anything significant to a franchise that is well beyond its expiration date.

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