Monday, January 23, 2012

Movie Review: Underworld: Awakening

I don't know what trailer I saw, but I walked into this movie knowing only that it was yet another Underworld movie. Yummy loves these movies so there was no way we weren't going to see this. Not unless Kate Beckinsale started wearing glitter.

First of all, know that you don't need to have seen any of the previous three Underworld movies. I remember going into the third movie with only the vaguest recollection of what happened in the first two and I was pretty much lost. At a few points they gave us a quick reminders and I needed them. This fourth movie has a quick "previously on..." segment at the beginning of the movie, but it wasn't really necessary other than to establish the characters. That's because this starts a new story in the Underworld universe. 

You'll keep hearing two names. Selene is a bad ass warrior vampire who has protected her clan for thousands of years until they turned against her and she was forced to kill the leadership. Michael is the first vampire/werewolf hybrid and is Selene's love interest. His part in this movie is to be Selene's motivation. Pretty much everything else from the previous movies is not relevant.

That's because, after a brief action scene, we have Selene waking up after 12 years in stasis. The existence of vampires and werewolves is now well known in the world. Instead of a big revival of the church or the development of artificial blood, like in some movies, the discovery let to major military development and death squads. Werewolves are thought extinct. The hunt for vampires continues. But while the military and police have training and special vampire weapons they haven't faced anything like Selene. Among vampires she was always one of the best trained and most able. She's skilled in the used of the same weapons and force multipliers that the humans have. But, as the trailer shows, a scalpel is more than she needs. 

But if she's that good, then what kind of lame ass movie is this? That's the part that neither I nor the trailer are saying. There's something much stronger and there's a couple of somethings that keep drawing her back into the battle instead of just getting the hell out of Dodge.

So, what we have is an action movie that tries to duplicate the Matrix, but falls a bit short. Not a lot short, but it's not quite there. That's still a heck of a lot better than the typical action movie. It has vampires that are actually threatening and monsters that can smack the vampires around. 

I won't get it on DVD, but Yummy might. We'll be seeing the next movie in the sequence when it comes out. 


Rahul said...

This is getting repeated. Action sequences here are not for promoting story but story is for promoting only action. Emotional bond is least, unable to generate any touching moment during the mother-daughter reunion. Munch popcorn during the show and enjoy the action if you must ....

Ibid said...

Different people want different things from movies. Some people want stories that make them cry, some people want stories that make them think, some people want to see someone who can beat the crap out of someone. It's like how kids tend to gravitate toward dinosaurs, trains, and trucks. Big, powerful things that allow the kid to fantasize about them being big and powerful. Underworld movies depict a woman capable of handling anything that's thrown at her. Abusive boyfriends and lurking rapists aren't even a concern for her as she cuts her way through legions of heavily armed and armored police.