By Wilson Morales
Having skipped out on ‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,’ the third installment of the ‘Underworld’ franchise, Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, comes back for more action in ‘Underworld: Awakening.’
While the return of vampire death dealer Selene is something fans had been wanting, and not that Rhona Mitra did a bad job in the last film, the writers could have delivered more substance than action when attempting to keep the series from going flat line.
There’s plenty of action, blood and deaths, but somehow the storyline, which connected the audience with the characters, got muddled along the way and with a lackluster 3D appearance, the film certainly isn’t worth the time or money.
As the series focuses on the existing war between vampires and Lycans (werewolves), this film takes place shortly after the second film, ‘Underworld: Evolution,’ with Selene and her lover, the hybrid (vampire and Lycan) Michael continuing to fight for their lives as humans are now aware of their existence and set out to kill them all. Caught trying to escape death and imprisoned in a lab, Selene wakes up 12 years later from a frozen capsule and is freed by Eve (played by India Eisley), the daughter she never knew existed.
It seems that Eve is her daughter from Michael and was also held in a lab where scientists are trying to find and keep her for some experiment. Not only does Selene has to keep her daughter safe from them and figure out what happened to Michael, but stay alive from a new powerful race of Lycans, who were thought to be extinct but are stronger and bigger than she ever imagined.
With the help of David (played by Theo James), a surviving vampire, and a human, Detective Sebastian (played by Michael Ealy), Selene must go back to the lab where she was kept and deal with scientist Dr. Jacob Lane (played by Stephen Rea), who has a huge interest in Eve’s well-being.
Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, these guys certainly know what they are doing when it comes to the action sequences. There are plenty of scenes where Beckinsale, in her black leather outfit, thrills and kills Lycans at will while leaping over cars and trucks and walking on walls. Unfortunately, it’s the script that fails the actors and series in general. With its original storyteller and Beckinsale’s husband, Len Wiseman among the six writers credited, one could only imagined how little input he must have had.
The emotional core that connected fans with the series is left void. There’s no chemistry between Beckinsale and Eisley. Michael Ealy’s role is bland and the storyline is filled with gaps. At 89 minutes, it’s the shortest time length of the four films, so one wonders what was left in the editing room.
What’s worse is the 3D appearance. None of the scenes are eye-popping or jaw-dropping. At times, one can take off the glasses and watch the film in 2D for a good stretch. With ticket prices set high for the experience, ‘Awakening’ isn’t worth the trip. There were too many loose ends that, hopefully, the producers can follow up on what ‘Fast Five’ did and bring back familiar characters to re-invigorate this dying franchise.