Vampire death dealer, Selene fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. Underworld returns to cinemas with a follow-up to the 2012 release of Awakening, this time with series newcomer Anna Foerster taking on directing duties with the franchise star Kate Beckinsale back again. Len Wiseman still has a hand in the series however this time serving as producer only, with a simple writing credit for character creation.
With its fifth outing Underworld: Blood Wars brings very little that’s new to the series, Foerster does a sound job though of continuing the tone and visual style of the previous films, and in this sense it very much feels like an Underworld film. However the quality of the series has been mixed over the years and Blood Wars comes in at the lower end of the scale, similar to its predecessor, Underworld: Awakening.
Blood Wars feels a pressing need to recap key events from previous films more than once to ensure the audience is up to speed, and from there it essentially delivers a series of loosely connected action sequences as we witness Vampires and Lycans go to war. There’s simply not enough care invested in the writing here to make any of the characters interesting, or anything other than one-note performances. For a series into its fifth film, and one that has been popular enough to deliver five films, there’s a lost opportunity from not taking the time to develop characters and build up meaningful story arcs over time, so that the stakes can be elevated effectively at a compelling moment. Here characters are largely disposable, and almost carbon copies of the previous films character in the same role (be it villain or ally).
There are a few interesting set pieces and locations utilised for Blood Wars, and these lend themselves to some well sequenced action scenes which is where the film is at its strongest. There there aren’t any truly memorable moments, but overall the action is engaging and while it doesn’t trigger a visceral reaction it services the film effectively and is entertaining.
Kate Beckinsale seems to be on autopilot by this point, she knows the character and what an Underwold film requires of her and she delivers this effortlessly. She’s strong in the action department as well and lends a sense of believability to her role. Theo James is trying desperately to elevate the film but simply doesn’t have much to work with while Lara Pulver is chewing scenery in her villainous and predictable role.
Overall Blood Wars measures up to other Underworld films, but falls well short of the best the series has to offer (which probably remains the original), it’s essentially another instalment that had potential, all the ingredients are there, but they are squandered on a brief vampire/lycan action film with very little substance, leaving me with little hope that this franchise will ever be elevated into something better. It’s time for a new contender to try spinning a better Vampire tale than what this series has delivered.
I’m giving Underworld Blood Wars 2 out of 5 stars, the film is in cinemas around Australia from 1 December 2016.