Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein • Written by Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski and Allison Burnett.
With Kate Beckinsale, Charles Dance and Stephen Rea.
Exciting is a word I would attribute to the time spent watching paint dry, that is, if the alternative was having to sit through another screening of Underworld: Awakening. After opting out of the third installment of the series, Kate Beckinsale returns as ice-cool, PVC-clad vampire, Seline, in this flagging fourth outing. If you missed the previous Underworld films (you really didn’t miss anything), we get a recap introduction designed to bring us up-to-speed before we’re thrown headlong into a series of dingy, mind-numbing action sequences.
By now, anyone who’s followed Underworld, knows just how adept Seline is at stylishly offing bad guys. Seline’s ability to simultaneously power-slide while firing two automatic handguns, coupled with her array of gravity defying gymnastics have gotten very old, very fast. What’s designed to be exciting is by-the-numbers boring, as the almost non-existent script meanders from trudging exposition to the merest of character development.
Seasoned actors Charles Dance and Stephen Rea show up to try and inject some purpose, but nothing detracts from how dull, and, how annoyingly earnest it is. Beckinsale looks great, but it’s not enough enough to hang a film on…which is essentially what the producers are trying to achieve. With a budget of $70m and a global return of $160m, this is a series that seems to endure, despite being as thin as the latex wrapped around Kate Beckinsale’s tiny frame. With that in mind, more sequels seem inevitable. Where’s that drying paint again!? 1/5