Awake me when it’s over: “Underworld: Awakening”

January 22, 2012

So, about two minutes into the first action sequence of Underworld: Awakening it hit me:  I have never liked these movies. Ever. None of them, and I have seen all of them. Most in the theater.  And yet none of them has been good.  I mean, vampires vs. werewolves should be cool. Not awesome. Not epic.  Not like, you know, Daniel Craig riding dinosaurs into battle against Imperial stormtroopers awesome, but it should be cool. So why do they blow so hard and long? You even have Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight leather and still, I can barely recall anything about any of these movies except the fact that they’re shot through a blue filter and I think Tony Blair was in one. So now we got Underworld: Awakening. And it is…um…well, I fell asleep during a shootout, so what does that tell you?

Okay, so this movie begins with Kate delivering a voice over explaining where we are in the Underworld saga. And this, basically amounts to, “Hiya, I’m a vampire assassin who used to kill werewolves. But then I fell in love with one who’s played by the dude from Felicity. And then I learned that the other vampires were d-bags, so I killed them. And then we paired up and killed some more vampires and werewolves, and, well, there was a third one, but that was a prequel, and I wasn’t in it, so don’t worry about that and here we are.” And then she launches into another expository sequence in which she explains how humans learned about the vampires and werewolves in their midst and led a pogrom to kill them all. Within five minutes we have a flashback and a flash-forward which is really a flashback. That’s how this movie is built. Holy hell, Tilt-a-Whirls run by toothless carnies huffing spray paint are constructed better than this movie.

So, Kate wakes up in a test tube in the bowels of a massive research company, and she kills a fuck-ton of guys before she escapes. She figures out she has been on ice for 12 years, and that now vampires have been forced underground and werewolves are virtually extinct. She tracks down another escapee who is a young girl. She takes the girl to an underground (literally) vampire coven, but they’re attacked by a bunch of werewolves, and…

Oh screw this. I have no interest in recounting the plot of this movie. I could barely stay awake during it. The kid is Selene’s daughter—I don’t know how she was born, I was asleep during that part—the research facility who claims to be creating a cure to vampire/werewolf virus is actually run by werewolves who are using vamp DNA to repopulate their species and make super-mega-banzai werewolves, and Selene has to lay everything waste and save her daughter. Now let’s get the bullet points:

* Selene’s daughter has a British accent, despite the fact they’ve never met. Okay, filmmakers: accents are NOT genetic. You morons.

* The daughter also looks like Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist when she vamps out. Hm. Good way to build sympathy for a character.

* Who are we supposed to root for? Vampires and werewolves are MONSTERS who either kill humans to feed on them, or transform humans into undead creatures like themselves. So why are we supposed to hope Selene and her vampire brethren prevail in this fight?

* Oh yeah, and the first two films of this series pretty much established that the vampire and werewolf societies are corrupt and duplicitous. Again, why are we rooting for these people to win?

* Kudos to Kate for still fitting to that skin-tight leather corset after the years.  Of course, these movies are about as sexy as a Republican debate, but, hey, good on Kate for still rockin’ the bod.

* Vampires can’t be killed with bullets. Neither can werewolves. Still, they fight with machine guns. Anyone want to explain that one to me?

* Selene traded down from her Walther P99s to the vastly inferior (IMHO) Beretta.

* Kate’s husband, Len Wiseman, couldn’t even be bothered to direct this installment. Guess he’s saving up his inspiration to screw up another Die Hard movie.

* Does Stephen Rea need the money this badly? I mean, he plays a werewolf and has to fight a ten year-old girl while in mid-transformation. What did he have to buy so badly he would submit to a scene like that? A pool? A Corvette? An iPad?

* The werewolves’ big master plan is to genetically engineer themselves to be impervious to silver, because this will, in the logic of this movie, make them invulnerable. Maybe I’m naïve, but I always thought that werewolves’ big weakness was the fact that they become bestial and abandon all higher forms of thought and reason when they transform. Am I wrong?

* The ending of this movie is so ramshackle, I’m pretty sure the editors took one look at it and just said, “Screw it, we throw in a voice over and roll credits. Okay? Wanna get tacos?”

That’s Underworld: Um, number 4. Yeah, it’s better than any of the Twilight movies, but that’s like saying Dengue Fever is better than being eaten by a shark.


  1. I was (for a fleeting moment) considering watching Underworld 4. But I agree with you, the first 3 were fairly pointless. I think I’ll be giving this one a miss.

  2. So should I see Star Wars Episode One in 3-D over this movie? (joke)

  3. Wow. Phantom Menace or Underworld 4? That’s like deciding whether you want to be eaten by a shark or mauled by bear.

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