The new installment of the Underworld movies, Underworld: Blood Wars, is mostly just like all the other Underworld movies: super-stylized, slow-motion action scenes, too many English and /or indistinguishable accents by many leather-clad, BDSM dressed goths, that pervasive blueish tone to the film, and at least a few scenes of gore. Blood Wars, however, has added a few things like a sense that some scenes weren’t quite finished with post, and the overall sense that the film was edited in a hurry, as well as the third act not being, well, complete?
Suffice to say, this film has problems. I was under the impression that this as supposed to be the final film in the Underworld franchise, but who knows, maybe I’m wrong. I can say that I thought this was the fourth film in the series, when in fact, it’s the fifth. I totally forgot about Underworld: Awakening in 2012. I honestly can’t remember if I even saw it. That should tell you a little bit about how I feel about these films.
Not to say that I didn’t enjoy some of them. At first I was into the style and cool factor of them. I’ll watch Kate Beckinsale wash dishes. But these films have generally been uneven and Blood Wars is may be the most uneven of them all.
So, the deal s that Kate Beckinsale returns as vampire death dealer Selena, and she’s pretty much on the run from everyone now. Vampires are hunting her, lycans are hunting her, and she sent her daughter into hiding – even Selena has no idea where she is. Her daughters blood could make whoever has it all-powerful so that would explain why everyone is chasing Selena.
Then a bunch of random shit happens that seems really rushed. Some might call this movie a lean 91 minutes. I call it gleaning over things that might have been worth taking time to explore. But whatever, maybe not, seeing as how cheesy this gets.
There is an opening action sequence that looks like they didn’t have time to finish the digital effects. It was really obvious. And the dialogue is often ridiculous. And that cold blue filter – everything looks like it was shot through it. The production design team had a monochromatic color palette to draw from. That sure simplifies things. And it definitely makes using color as a story-telling device moot.
It’s also stylistically tiresome. Sure, when they first started these films it was cool. Now it’s boring. And Blood Wars ends like there could be another in the franchise. Or maybe another whole film to complete this one. This just sort of ends abruptly without much fanfare and the implication that there’s more story to tell. No more of these, please. At least the Resident Evil movies know when to quit.
There are some significant actors in this that surprise me, like Charles Dance and Lara Pulver (she was Irene Adler from Sherlock). I think I feel that way because Underworld: Blood Wars feels like it was made by a very green director. As it turns out, that is exactly the case. This was directed by Anna Foerster, who has directed some Criminal Minds and Outlander shows, but mostly she seems to be a cinematographer turned director.
The lack of experience shows here, unless there are other unknown factors that made Blood Wars feel so choppy and haphazard. The screenplay is written by Cory Goodman, who gave us the masterpiece, The Last Witchhunter, with Vin Diesel. ‘Nuff said.
I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Underworld: Blood Wars, unless you are a die-hard fan of this franchise. It’s definitely the weakest in the series that I can recall. I didn’t have much fun watching it. Skip it or wait for streaming if you love this series. A whopping two kittenhands. Maybe even one and a half.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, ready to put this franchise to bed.