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Underworld: Awakening (2012)

  Tags: 3-d, 3d, action, Charles Dance, India Eisley, Kate Beckinsale, lycan, lycanthrope, Michael Ealy, Sandrine Holt, Screen Gems, sequel, Stephen Rea, Theo James, Underworld, vampire, vamps, werewolf

Your rating: None Average: 7.8 (13 votes)
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Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein
88 minutes
Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Sandrine Holt, India Eisley, Theo James, Charles Dance

Since the first film in 2003, the Underworld series has been known for their great blend of action and horror and have (for the most part) kept up that tradition with its sequels. Although I still enjoyed the previous installments, they just didn't seem to fully offer the high octane entertainment that was delivered in the first. With the second being more of an adventure-romance and the third being a period piece, which had its moments, but was ultimately disappointing in certain aspects (for me anyway), so I didn't exactly go into this fourth with high expectations. To my surprise, not only did it recapture some of the great action that was seemingly absent in the past sequels, but it kicked it up a notch and essentially delivered a non-stop pure adrenaline-fueled popcorn flick!

The film is set in the future where humans have finally discovered the existence of both vampire and Lycan species and have made it their sole mission to eradicate both. With numbers dwindling on both sides, Selene and Michael attempt to escape the city by boat, but fail and find themselves captured instead. The next scene has Selene awakening from within some sort of frozen sleep chamber and after grabbing her gear, she soon discovers that she's been asleep for 12 years inside a laboratory, where she and Michael have been poked and prodded by scientists.

As if that revelation wasn't disturbing enough, she also learns that she now has a daughter spawned from both her and Michael -- an offspring that seems to be key to the Lycans becoming MUCH more powerful than they ever were. Now, Selene must put aside her search for Michael (who's apparently missing) and protect the girl from falling into the hands of the Lycans. At first we're lead to believe that the movie will focus on the humans against the two species, but it's really just another story of the vamps versus Lycans, because the beasts are once again after something that the vampires possess (instead of Michael, it's the girl this time).

The story may not be the strongest, but at least they've done away with the romantic angle that was rampant in the first two, which gave this addition a good excuse to really get straight into things. Time really just seemed to fly by while watching this, because Awakening kicks into gear right from the start and literally doesn't stop until the credits roll. Sure it's become more of an action flick now than it ever was, but the filmmakers still made sure to throw in good bits of gore and horror throughout. Speaking of gore, it's been a while since I saw the past films, but this may have actually been the goriest in the series. We get exploding bodies, split heads, hands through body parts and just an overall great amount of sheer bloody mayhem, especially when the Lycans get into the mix.

Aside from the weird rat-like Lycans in the beginning, there's a badass uber-Lycan in the film that just throws Selene around like a ragdoll. It's a nice change of pace from the standard mix of Lycans we normally see in the series. The nefarious look of Selene's daughter (who's a mix of both worlds, like her father) is what I can only describe as a more visceral version of Samara from The Ring. It's true that the movie is a bit short on story and character development, but it more than makes up for it in gore and action, keeping me glued to the screen from the start, and wanting more by the end. My only regret is not watching it in IMAX 3D, because I hear it's amazing.

Underworld: Awakening is essentially just a non-stop adrenaline-fueled action pic from start to finish. Filled with loads of gore, great action sequences, an uber-Lycan, and a hot Kate Beckinsale in more tight-fitted clothing, this all adds to it being one of the far more entertaining additions to the series. I highly recommend this if you're a fan or if you just want an all-around great popcorn flick.

Posted on January 23, 2012 - 7:08pm | FrighT MasteR