“Underworld: Awakening” – Review by MovieManMenzel

A completely unnecessary sequel with non-stop action and an overabundance of special effects.

Underworld: Awakening follows Selene (Kate Beckinsale) on her third big screen adventure. Awakening is actually the 4th film in the franchise, however, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel so that doesn’t really count towards Selene’s adventure.This time around Selene after trying to rescue her Lycon hubby Michael from being killed is frozen alive for 12 years. When she awakes, Selene is confused about the state of the world and soon realizes that she has fallen victim to an experiment that has lead to the creation of a child named Eve (India Eisley). Selene now has to protect Eve from the evil Lycons, who are out to kill her and take over the world.

Every so often I get excited to see a film that normally wouldn’t have excited me. When I was at San Diego Comic Con back in July of last year, I had the great pleasure of sitting down and interviewing the beautiful Kate Beckinsale as well as the film’s directors’ Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein (the coolest guys ever, btw) and several other members of the cast. Anyway, I remember Mans and Bjorn telling me how awesome the film was going to be and how they used these new 3D cameras to shoot the film so to be honest they kind of got me pumped for the film when before I probably would have just ignored its release.

Since then I anxiously awaited for its release until there was no press screening for it. While there is an exception to almost every rule, I will admit that almost 95% of the time that a film is not screened for critics, it is a sign that the film sucks. Sadly, Underworld: Awakening is not the exception. When I walked out of my local IMAX theater after seeing this film, I was really disgusted that I wasted $14.50 to see a film that really didn’t try at all. This movie was just action and special effects. While I wasn’t expecting an oscar worthy story from this film, I was expecting more than the little I got.

The action sequences in Awakening were not creative or uniquely crafted, but instead all digitally enhanced. This made the film so dull to watch since it felt like the same thing kept repeating over and over again. The CGI, at least to me, looked really fake and was extremely overused. The 3D effects really popped on the IMAX screen, but only at certain times. There were other times where it just really felt unnecessary to be wearing the glasses.

The story is where the film really suffers because it feels really cheap and contrived. The movie sums up the entire Underworld franchise in about five minutes during a montage in the beginning and then flashes forward to 12 years in the future. The entire plot revolves around Selene protecting Eve, which consists of her just running around and killing people for the entire hour and 30 minutes. This movie needed more backstory and more detail. The lack of substance in this movie really hurt it as it seemed like the writers (why the hell were there four writers to write this thing???) knew that there was nothing really to say, but the studio said we need to make another one so just make it about action and special effects.

Kate Beckinsale is fine as Selene because she is playing a role that she has made into her own. The problem is that she seems so one dimensional in this entry. All she did was run around, go into dark rooms, and fight lycons. It became so dull watching her on screen. The other performances aren’t really even worth mentioning because they were so average that as soon as you leave the theater you forget about anyone else other than Kate Beckinsale and maybe India Eisley who played Eve. The rest of the cast is completely forgetable.

The elements that really made me go from walking out of the theater and saying that was alright but disappointing to saying that this film is a complete waste of time were: the over the top scenes and the ending. This film has so many over the top and silly scenes that it actually made me cringe at times. At one point in the movie, Selene becomes Neo from The Matrix and cuts open a vampires heart and brings him back to life and then there is another scene where an elevator falls and Selene just shoots her guns up in the air creating a hole so the elevator doesn’t fall on her. Its unreal how downright silly so many scenes in this film are and I am not even going to get into the fact that somehow Selene never runs out of bullets.

As for the ending, well it made the film feel completely pointless and a way to get money out of those who are fans of the franchise. A really solid ending could have helped boost this film up to a 5 out of 10 film, but even the ending was a disappointment. It seems that there was no real point for this film other than to tease the audience into thinking that there is going to be a new Underworld franchise beginning, which I don’t know if I will pay money to see another one after this. I think this story has done as much as it can. Its beginning to feel like this film and the Resident Evil franchise are never ending franchises without any real substance behind them. It’s sad that people buy into franchises and don’t expect things from them.

At the end of the day, maybe I have been watching too many action movies in the span of two months, but for me Underworld Awakening was an awful film. There was nothing going for it at all as far as story or characters were concerned. The action was dull and overused. The CGI was lame and looked incredibly fake. There really is nothing good to say about this film other than the 3d effects looked really solid at certain points in the film. This is one of those movies that will be forgotten almost as soon as you walk out the theater.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Underworld: Awakening is a 3 out of 10.

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