Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Underworld: Awakening

I have seen three out of four movies from the Underworld series. I think I usually see one as soon as I forget the pain that the previous one brought.
But this one brought back Kate Beckinsale. Kate has a good career -- she's lately the best thing in Total Recall -- and not just in the sci fi genre, but she apparently thought it would be a good idea to go back to her roots, just one more time. I wonder if she read the script before signing on.
There's not much there there. The first 20 minutes is an action scene with no dialogue, showing Kate at what the franchise does best: action. Lots of fight scenes. Fortunately, there are no lycans in these scenes, just Selene (Kate) and a bunch of humans. Lycans, some four movies later, are not represented well by special effects. Vampires are a lot easier to do, but four-legged, hairy beasts that crawl fast are another thing going. And in Awakening, one gets the idea that the budget was spent on Kate, not on fx.
The plot is murky, but suffice to say that humans find out that there are vampires and werewolves out there, and they're out to eradicate both species. There's also a girl, someone who is very important to Selene, and that turns out to be a good thing. When we first meet Selene in Awakening, she's an automaton, and that's not terribly dramatic. It's only when the young girl is introduced that we get a sense of Selene's emotion, her raison-d'etre. Beckinsale can act, we can't deny that. But acting her way out of this unwieldy paper bag is something we wouldn't wish on her.
Skip this whole franchise. It's only slightly better than the Resident Evil series; their leading women certainly deserve better.
Thumb's down.


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