Latest 'Underworld' installment packed with action, lacking in storyline

2012-01-23T14:47:00Z 2012-01-23T15:40:38Z Latest 'Underworld' installment packed with action, lacking in storylineLinda Cook The Quad-City Times
January 23, 2012 2:47 pm  • 

The vampires and werewolves are at it again.

No, Twihards, you haven't missed another "Twilight" episode. This is indeed part of a franchise, but a far different, more violent one. "Underworld: Awakening" continues the story of the complex war between lycans and vampires.

Kate Beckinsale is back as Selene, a "death dealer" vampire whose mission is to snuff out werewolves. (She has mixed feelings about them. If you recall, she has a romantic involvement with Michael Corvin, who is part-werewolf and part-vampire.)

Now, it seems, human beings have determined to rid the world of both vampires and werewolves. And Selene gets caught in the crossfire, only to awaken in a kind of laboratory where she has been stored for many years in a sort of frozen state.

She does not remember at first how she got there, nor can she figure out what happened to Michael. She meets a mysterious girl named Eve (India Eisley), with whom she has a kind of psychic connection, as well as the head of the laboratory (Stephen Rea) and a warrior who could become an ally (Theo James).

Naturally, there's a lot of running away, on foot, in semi-flight (or whatever you want to call leaping fences in a single bound like vampires can), and there are vehicle chases, too. Those in the audience who enjoy such things won't be disappointed by a couple of innovative scenes in which Selene dispatches humans and werewolves. (There's a pretty cool werewolf destruction sequence toward the finale, incidentally.)

I can't imagine why anyone would want this particular episode in the franchise to be her or his first exposure to Selene and the vampire/lycan feud. If you haven't seen the prior shows, you'll not be likely to know what's going on in this one. (To accommodate such viewers, the movie opens with a ridiculously lengthy expository voiceover.)

In nearly every scene, you'll be way ahead of the screenwriters. It took four of them to write this average script. There are a few moments of betrayal and sabotage, but mostly you can see those coming.

I think a lot of people must enjoy these movies for the "R"-rated bloodshed and the CGI creatures. If that's so, they won't be disappointed.

And judging from the final scene, the next "Underworld" sequel won't be far off.

Here's hoping it has fewer writers and more storyline.


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