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Monday, January 23, 2012

Underworld: Awakening 3D



After six years and sitting out the third Underworld movie, the prequel Rise of the Lycans, Kate Beckinsale has returned for the fourth movie in the un-killable franchise, Underworld: Awakening 3D. The ageless Beckinsale is once again Selene, the Erection Dealer -- apologies -- the Death Dealer, one of the few survivors of The Purge that occurred when the humans finally discovered there are vampires and werewolves really living among them and did what many in the real world wish would be done with Twilight - wipe them out with extreme prejudice. 

Selene is revived from cryogentic storage 12 years later to find her never-tears, never gets dirty skintight latex bodysuit conveniently in a locker in the same room, and that the world is still perpetually blue-tinted, just as she left it. A couple of things are different: her vampire-werewolf lover Michael is unceremoniously killed off (Scott Speedman skipped Awakening and his face gets digitally added into a body double in some scenes) and Selene now has an 11 year old hybrid daughter, the charmingly named Subject 2. (Eve is her name, says IMDB.) Otherwise, things are just as before - the vampires Selene meets are uncooperative (including Charles Dance, who is Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones and, like Tywin, has a disappointment for a son) and the werewolves still try to kill her. 

Awakening attempts to position the humans as the enemy in the movie, but then reverses tack with a shocking reveal that evil human scientist Stephen Rea is actually evil werewolf posing as a evil human scientist Stephen Rea. Rea's son is the new Big Bad; literally a 12 foot tall werewolf who tosses elevators and cars at Selene and forces her to rethink her trademark strategy of slow-motion somersaulting and shooting werewolves with guns. (Grenades work better than guns on giant werewolves, take note for the future.) Selene's daughter seems to have more of her dad in her on the outset - Michael, supposedly the most powerful because he's both vampire and Lycan, has always been a giant puss - but in a climactic scrape with Rea, Eve proves she can rip organs out of bodies just like mummy dearest. Adorable.

Awakening doesn't end so much as stop once this set of bad guys are grotesquely wiped out, painfully teasing a fifth movie where Michael is apparently alive after all and must be located. This Underworld franchise just won't end, will it? However, even without creator and Mr. Kate Beckinsale Len Wiseman in the director's chair, Awakening consistently maintains the quality standards of the franchise. Awakening is no worse, or better, than any of its predecessors. Suggested re-titling: Underworld: Arbitrary. Also consider: Underworld: Unnecessary in 3D.