Okay, that trailer actually looks halfway decent. The basic premise of the series (vampires vs.
Underworld: Awakening begins with Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the vampire shoot-'em-up expert, and Michael (Scott Speedman), her vampire/werewolf (Vampwolf? Werepire?) boyfriend, on the run, after the events of Underworld: Evolution. Boom boom boom, bang bang bang, and Selene (and presumably Michael) has been captured by the human military. The next thing you know, Selene has been cryogenically frozen and the rest of the movie is the camera slowly zooming in on her ice-block-face.
and runs for her life. She quickly learns that she has been frozen in some sort of science lab for twelve years and that the world is
|Tip for wiping out vampires: start with the ones who have their own movies|
The acting in Underworld: Awakening isn't exactly great, but it's certainly good enough for a movie about vampires with guns. Kate Beckinsale is once again very stoic in the lead, although the script makes her seem a lot stupider this time around. Let's be honest --- the hardest part of playing Selene is looking good in her outfits, and Beckinsale still pulls it off. Thankfully, that isn't something that is crassly exploited by the filmmakers to draw attention away from the story.
|I prefer the phrase "remorselessly objectified"|
|"IT WAS ALL YELLOW!"|
This movie was directed by Swedish filmmakers Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. It's okay if you haven't heard of them, because this is only their second English-language film, and the other was a box office dud. The most notable choice Mårlind and Stein made was to play Underworld: Awakening completely straight. This series has always taken itself very seriously, but there were usually a few moments where the characters reveled in their abilities or each other. That doesn't happen here. The story (ridiculous as it is) is told plainly, the backstory from the other movies is explained crisply, and there are action scenes every few minutes.
|"Hi, we're cannon fodder for Scene 43"|
|Above: every Underworld action scene, ever|
The biggest problem I had with Underworld: Awakening was how dull it was. This should have been an interesting take on Underworld's already unique angle on vampires. But it isn't. The humans never stand a chance against Selene and her friends and it is incomprehensible that they were ever a threat. But then the not-at-all surprising reveal of werewolves as the primary antagonists happens, and we're right back at the beginning of the series. The only difference is that this time, we have a little girl character to be helpless instead of Scott Speedman.
|Adding a kid to the mix is always a sign of desperation|
The only thing that kept me interested in the film was pointing out conceptual flaws in it. For instance, if vampires have been hunted to the brink of extinction by man, then it can be concluded that technology and superior numbers are what gave man the edge. And yet, the difficulties vampires have with humans seems to only be dictated by the script. When Selene needs to be captured, she gets blown up; when she needs to escape, she kills four heavily armed men that have her in their gun sights with ease. And if vampires are that fast, why don't we see that more often? The only new element that this sequel added was a non-powered human doing some of the killing, and even his scenes were hilariously unlikely. My personal favorite was when Michael Ealy was firing at a car and managed to kill the driver and shoot out the a front tire with only three bullets.
|Even he doesn't believe he's that good of a shot|
Underworld: Awakening probably wasn't designed to bring in a new audience. If you thought that a series about vampires and werewolves trying to kill each other with guns was incredibly stupid before (and it is), this movie isn't going to change your mind. I've always enjoyed laughing at these movies, but this was just plain boring. While the action was plentiful, it was nothing new. While the story was stupid, it wasn't stupid-funny. I was hoping for a mindless action movie, but what I got was just mindless. In short, this movie sucks. And not in the "sexy leather-clad vampire" sort of way.