There’s no doubt when you sit down to watch any film based in or around vampires, you have to pretty much bury all expectations. That may be obvious to some, but given how prevalent vampires have been on the big screen and TV the past few years, you never know what some people will expect. So, with that said I took in this fourth installment of a series I once loved with an open mind, hoping to be entertained. And while I was entertained some by “Underworld:Awakening,” it wasn’t enough for this one-time fan, who won’t be picking this DVD up to rent or own anytime soon.
Picking uproughly six months after the events in “Underworld: Evolution,” we find Selene (Kate Beckinsale) being captured by humans during what was known as “The Purge,” an extermination of vampires and lycans. Twelve years later, Selene escapes a cryogenic tank where she had been held for testing, among other things. The company responsible was Antigen, who was out to create an antidote for the virus that creates vampires and lycans. Sounds harmless, but when Selene runs into a fellow vampire during her exit by the name of David (Theo James), she learns otherwise. But, before they leave, Selene has another vision that takes her to Eve (India Eisley), a young girl she later learns to be a hybrid and her own daughter. They escape to David’s coven, but once there get a very cold welcome from David’s father who evidently blamed Selene for the destruction of the vampire clan before “The Purge.” Shortly thereafter, the vampire coven is attacked by a group of lycans sending this already tangled story into a tailspin it would never recover from. That is until the predictable cliffhanger at the end, which did anything but make me want to see another installment.
Any film based in or around vampires typically does not have a cast worth talking about. Yes, that even includes the “Twilight” series, which would have never made it this far without the careful touch of Stephenie Meyer. Those are the facts, so don’t get mixed up in trying to find some great performance because you will be looking for a while. Having said that, I do like Kate Beckinsale in this role as Selene; I just wish her lovely husband and director would have given her less to do in this film. There was too much Selene and not enough other characters, which I never thought I would say. I mean, I get what got us here with the story, but it just seemed like something was missing from this cast. Yeah, India Eisley was great as Eve, but there could have been more of her. Instead, we get more of Selene and given where this series started story wise, that was a bit of a letdown considering how intriguing the films that led to this one were.
It’s a shame that a series that once was unique and stood on its own has come to being something that no one cares about, or something like all the other ones. But, that’s where we are at thanks to director Len Wiseman, who clearly must have been delusional when he was writing this script. No other excuse makes sense to me when you have such poor dialogue and misdirection around every corner of this story. Even the action and special effects were a little underdone and choppy. That’s sad when really, that’s all you had to focus on primarily to make this film worthwhile. Sure, the story was important, but in the realm of what this film was truly about, we needed better action and special effects. Had Wiseman followed through with that, maybe I would be excited to see another one, but at this point, I wonder if Wiseman even has it in him to go back to what made this series so cool to begin with. And that’s something I thought I would never have to say. So, with it on DVD now, I will be interested to see if it gets that so-called second chance at success. Who knows, people may find this to be the perfect film to take in the comfort of their own home.
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