Physics Optional: Underworld Awakening Review
I have been firmly lodged in the Underworld cult since the first movie. Perhaps it was because I was young and impressionable, but when I saw Kate Beckinsale drop a hundred feet off the roof of some Gothic building in Prague…I suppose you can say you had me at leather trenchcoat.
There’s something about her British accent and ass-kickery, like you took a Jane Austen character and gave her a gun. There’s something about Bill Nighy’s slow, agonizing transformation from corpse to Bill Nighy. There’s something about irradiated bullets.
Ultimately, it’s just that the vampires in Underworld are everything I want a vampire to be. Sexy, lethal, amoral killing machines who regard humanity as something beneath their notice.
So, I donned my 3D glasses and headed out to the midnight showing of Underworld: Awakening.
First things first: turns out I’m not a fan of 3D. Lots of blood spatter and glass breaking, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The movie starts with a recap.
I get it. You’re assuming the people who show up for the blood bath are interested in what happened before, and, for the most part, you are correct. Trust me, the people coming to this movie are familiar with what’s happened. No need to remind us.
In this installment, humanity has discovered the existence of lycans and vampires and sets out to destroy them. The irradiated and silver nitrate bullets that the vampires and lycans used to ravage each other are now in the hands of humanity (whoops!), and the two species of the night are being systematically wiped out. Initially, this is okay. The humans are winning.
Then, you get to Selene. She’s a Death Dealer, trained to hunt down and kill werewolves. Humans don’t really stand a chance. They capture her with a luck grenade, she’s frozen for twelve years, then someone breaks her out.
This is where things got a little uncomfortable. You see, I’m cool with the whole monster fight. In ways, the lycans and vampires are evenly matched. But, when you unleash a relentless vampire on a group of humans, it’s a just not fair.
In one scene, Selene sprints down a hallway, slitting throats the whole way. After a bit of cringe-worthy bone-breaking, they get back to killing werewolves pretty quick.
Story happens. I wasn’t really paying attention to that part. Something about a hybrid and a little girl…I don’t even know.
Good news! The whole ‘silver whip’ as an effective weapon against lycans gets a great scene. We get a hot, new vampire to look at (Theo James), plus a human detective (Michael Ealy) who gets very little character development, but enough to make me point at the screen and say, “More”.
Other good news! Spoiler Alert: Not everyone dies in the end! That has been a trend in the previous movies…everyone except the two main characters are dead by the ending. In this one, New Vampire, Detective, Little Girl, and Selene are all ready to hunt down the fleeing Michael at the end of the movie.
The movie is not perfect by any means (what movie is?), but it was fun. It lived up to my expectation. I am clinging to the notion that maybe, some day, the Underworld franchise will get the story that it deserves (no zombies; please, God, no zombies).
I’m not the first person to love something for its potential.