Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Ried
Written by: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett
Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, and for some language
Running Time: 88
Date: 01/19/2012

Underworld Awakening (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Rude 'Awakening'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After the boring dud Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans (2009), the filmmakers were smart to distance themselves from it, and to bring back Kate Beckinsale -- though that was arguably the last smart move they made. This new movie is definitely gory, but someone forgot to also make it scary, exciting, sexy, and/or fun. The entire movie consists either of gory, bloody fight scenes, or dialogue scenes in which people argue and try to further the feeble plot.

Following the events of Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution (2006), humans discover the existence of vampires and lycans and begin "cleansing." Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is captured, and her lover Michael is presumably dead. When she wakes up, she's shocked to find out that it's 12 years later, and that the few surviving vampires and lycans have gone underground. She's even more shocked to discover that she has a daughter, Eve (India Eisley), a natural-born vampire-lycan hybrid. Eve has now come of age, growing up in a lab without knowing her mother. Unfortunately, after escaping, the disappearance of the girl draws the unwanted attention of angry lycans. With the help of Detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy), Selene must figure out why.

Beckinsale still looks amazing in her black vinyl & leather suit, but her character has no depth; in one scene she says, "my heart isn't cold... it's broken," but we can't tell the difference. Other characters, such as the human police detective, don't seem to belong at all. The visual effects are below average, which renders the digital lycans/werewolves completely ineffective. On the plus side, the Swedish co-directors Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein have at least ordered up a nice-looking set design.

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