Underworld: Awakening Review
When Selene (Kate Beckinsale) wakes up 12 years after the humans have purged the Vampires and Lycans, she discovers that she has a daughter she needs to protect. Find out more in the review of Underworld: Awakening.
Business rating: 2/5 stars (Two stars)
Star cast: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Michael Ealy, Theo James, Stephen Rea.
What’s Good: The action sequences; the visual and special effects; Kate Beckinsale’s performance.
What’s Bad: The lack of emotional connect between the audience and the film’s characters; the wafer-thin plot; the excessive violence and bloodshed that may put off some viewers.
Verdict: Underworld: Awakening is a good action fare that will do fair business in select multiplexes in the Indian cities.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch if for the very good action sequences.
Spoiler alert! You may want to skip directly to the ‘Script Analysis’ portion of the review.
Screen Gems, Lakeshore Entertainment and Sony Pictures’ Underworld: Awakening is the fourth film in the Underworld series, which is based on the enmity between the Vampires and the Lycans (werewolves), who fight wars, hidden from the human eye. Both, the Vampires and Lycans, achieve this by mixing in the human population as they both can take the human form.
Selene (Kate Beckinsale), one of the vampire-fighters, who had fallen out with her race because she had fallen in love with a hybrid (a Vampire-Lycan), had separated from her lover after the humans discovered the presence of the two alien species and started purging them. Selene is kept in captivity – in a frozen state – for 12 years, before she is rescued by Eve (India Eisley), her daughter. Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), a scientist, who is researching the Vampires, had kept both, Selene and Eve, away from each other, without letting the mother know about the existence of her daughter. After Eve breaks out of captivity and even manages to help her mother escape, Selene is on the run from the dominant humans, who have almost wiped out the Vampires and Lycans. She finds a scared Eve, who has never been outside the research center, and takes her along.
Meanwhile, detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy), who is investigating a murder case which looks like a possible Lycan attack, visits Dr. Lane, who denies that any ‘subject’ has broken out of his research center.
David (Theo James), a vampire who belongs to a group of surviving Vampires, locates Selene and Eve and takes them to his hideout after being attacked by the Lycans. At the hideout, David’s father, Thomas (Charles Dance), protests the strangers’ presence as he fears that the Lycans will come looking for Eve, who is also a hybrid like her father.
Soon, the Lycans attack the hideout in huge numbers and manage to defeat the ill-equipped Vampires. They take Eve away. With no other option left, Selene approaches detective Sebastian, who agrees to help her find her daughter. He gives her some vital clues about the activities going on in Dr. Lane’s center.
What happens next? Is Selene able to find and rescue Eve? What is Dr. Lane actually up to? What about the fight between the Vampires and Lycans on the one hand, and the humans and the alien species on the other? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Underworld: Awakening Review – Script Analysis
Unlike the previous instalments, the story of Underworld: Awakening, penned by Len Wiseman and John Hlavin, is pretty straightforward, and will be easily understood even by those who haven’t seen the previous films. More than the wafer-thin story, it is the cleverly written screenplay (Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski and Allison Burnett) that gives the audience the real thrill of watching many well-executed action sequences. There is a very well-done chase sequence where Selene and Eve are chased by a raging group of angry Lycans. The climactic action sequence, where the Vampires take on the all-powerful Lycans inside the research center, is also very interesting, in spite of being long-drawn.
What doesn’t work in the drama is the absence of an emotional connect between the film’s characters and the audience. The emotional scenes between Selene and Eve also don’t work at all. These seem to have been inserted just to have a semblance of a story. As such, the script is of the kind that will appeal to fans of action movies only. Others might find the drama too violent and even gory at times.
Disappointingly, the angle of the conflict between the humans and the alien species remains underexplored.
Underworld: Awakening Review – Performances & Direction
Kate Beckinsale does a good job as the protagonist. She is excellent in the fight scenes. However, the script writers and the directors fail to establish her character as the film’s hero. India Eisley is just alright as Eve. Michael Ealy, as the detective, looks ill at ease. He disappoints. Theo James does fine in a bit role. Stephen Rea is effective as Dr. Lane. Charles Dance and Kris Holden-Ried (as Quint) offer average support.
Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein’s direction is focussed on getting the maximum out of the fight sequences of the film, something that they deserve full marks for. The overall mood of the film is dark and grim and, to the directors’ credit, not even one scene seems out of place or unintentionally funny, despite the wafer-thin plot. Paul Haslinger’s background score sets the pace for the drama. Scott Kevan’s cinematography is commendable, given the number of visual effects shots in the film. The visual effects and the special effects are excellent. Editing, by Jeff McEvoy, is sharp.
Underworld: Awakening Review – The Last Word
On the whole, Underworld: Awakening is an action fare that will get some appreciation at the Indian box-office, mainly among youngsters in the big cities.
Don’t agree with our review of this film? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
Underworld: Awakening released in India and the US on January 20, 2012.