Videodrone New Release: 'Underworld: Awakening'
The fourth vampire noir thriller puts a stake in the heart of the stumbling series
Can you believe that "Underworld: Awakening" (Sony) is the fourth film in the cyberpunk horror film / action movie hybrid of vampires, werewolves, and the humans caught in crossfire of their underworld war?
Following a flashback installment, where Rhona Mitra slipped into Kate Beckinsale's leather girdle, this chapter jumps years into the future, where Beckinsale's vampire assassin Selena wakes up from suspended animation to find that her kind has been hunted to extinction by a new breed of human / werewolf genetic cocktail. Oh, and she now has a child, thanks to experiments conducted during her frozen layover.
The awakening of the title refers to her revival in the future (which, thanks to the continued bleak tech noir look of drizzly nights, rain slicked streets, and neon blue and cold white lighting, looks just the same as when she left), but you wonder if maybe the filmmakers have finally awakened to the diminishing returns of the series. This chapter, directed by the Swedish team of Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, is still pretty much dedicated to celebrating Beckinsale running up walls, firing guns, and kicking CGI beastie butt while dressed in black fetish gear. The rest is a blur of generic exposition, random plot twists, vaguely maternal instincts, sloppy CGI animation, and Stephen Rea looking like a waxwork as a genetic scientist dipping into the monster pool to create a new master race.
It all feels very second hand, right down to Charles Dance leaving his dignity behind to play the king-in-exile of the vampire nation and India Eisley playing Beckinsale's test-tube daughter Eve as a B-movie Chloë Grace Moretz, getting the ferocious adolescent action figure part down pat but struggling to provide a modicum of personality to the role.