- on Thursday, 05 January 2017 22:19
- by Loron Hays
The night has descended once again across Cineplexes everywhere with the arrival of the fifth entry in the ongoing Underworld series. The war between vampires and lycans is far from over. While Blood Wars won’t earn itself any new fans to the franchise, the gothic series makes for enjoyable and mindless fluff in the doldrums of January. Fans will be happy – especially if they liked the fourth film – and critics, as expected, will shit on it.
I find myself in the middle of reactions, but not favorably enough to round up to a solid 3. There’s some good and there’s some bad in Blood Wars. I still find the storyline interesting, but the execution on this one seems off and so very cheap that it’s almost – almost – an insult. Now, the Underworld series has never been any studio’s top priority, but it certainly has looked a lot better than here in its fifth chapter. And, since this one ends on yet another open note with our first look at Selene’s daughter, it seems like a 6th entry in the series is not inconceivable.
Sleek and slinky, the ongoing series in its new entry has sexy heroine Selene (Kate Beckinsale) teaming up with a nordic coven of vampires while protecting her super-vampire, secret daughter from the old guard of vamps who are beyond pissed at her continuous betrayal. There’s war on all sides for Selene. And her no-win situation has led her to be constantly on the move with her child and her new powers.
In the latest chapter, new lycan leader Marius (Tobias Menzies) – who routinely injects himself with mutated blood to be more enhanced – wants Selene’s daughter and so, too, do the vampires, led by the conniving Semira (Lara Pulver), because of Selene’s direct connection to Corvinus. With only David (Theo James), the son of Vampire Elder Thomas (Charles Dance), as someone to trust, Selena finds herself among blonde vampires in the northern part of the world.
Directed by German-born cinematographer Anna Foerster (Outlander) and written by Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter, Priest), Blood Wars continues to recycle the familiar slow-motion effects that feel obviously dated – except they now also look a bit hokey with ridiculous CGI effects that aren’t up to par – and injects some wrinkles into the familiar politics of being a death dealer in the middle of a war between supernatural entities. We also get a bunch of new characters as Selene’s search for her lover the hybrid, Micheal Corvin (Scott Speedman, still gone from the series) reveals some conflicting information.
The look of the film – while still dark – thankfully trades in its steely blue and black palette for white and features – since we are primarily in the north between a snowcapped mountain range – Selene with blonde streaks in her hair and a whole new horde of vampires wrapped in the finest of light-colored furs. It’s a change in look and location that is very much appreciated as we mix – rather imperfectly – some new and some old elements with the latest chapter in the Underworld book.
But, really, this is the least enjoyable of the series. Performances are weak. Special Effects are weaker still. And the echoes of the other movies – complete with but really it was THIS that happened – makes for some head scratching moments. Beckinsale can still kick some undead ass, but even the best of her new powers aren’t articulated enough to save this one from talking a lot and saying very little.
If the producers continue to phase out Beckinsale’s role in that black latex suit like they do here, it just might be time to put the final nail in the coffin of this supernatural series of the undead. Blood Wars is solely for the die-hards out there.
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, and some sexuality.
Runtime: 91 mins
Director: Anna Foerster
Writer: Cory Goodman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies
Genre: Horror | Action
Tagline: Protect the bloodline..
Memorable Movie Quote: "For me, the fight is personal."
Theatrical Distributor: Screen Gems
Official Site: http://www.underworldbloodwars-movie.com/site/
Release Date: January 6, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: The next installment in the blockbuster franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars follows Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.
No details available.