20-26 January 2017 #842

Underworld: Blood Wars 

Underworld: Blood Wars is dazzling to look at and the 3D enhances the beauty of the action sequences
Sophia Pande

The fifth installment in a largely slammed series, Underworld: Blood Wars is a film for all the fans of Selene (played by the very game Kate Beckinsale) who is a long persecuted elite vampire death dealer, with aristocratic blood running through her blood, but hunted by her own kind and an adept in battle. She is the ultimate anti-heroine, a similarly brooding analogue to Milla Jovovich’s Alice in the Resident Evil films that are equally disparaged but continue to provide endless entertainment for the people who are mesmerised by these kick-ass protagonists who, despite what anybody may say, are better than the usual cardboard cutout action hero tropes that continue to proliferate. 

The Underworld films represent a franchise that draws on the lure or endless fascination that people have about vampires before the Twilight books and films had even become a part of public consciousness. Included in the film lore is the now well-known animosity between the vampires and the lycans, or werewolves, factions who have engaged in an age old war for dominion over mere humans, upon whom they feed and sneer. 

Despite the breakneck action that marks the films and an unfortunate proclivity for gore, this one being no different, the makers of the films understand that there is a great power in creating sleek, dark, albeit fairly superficial, action movie universes where everyone is dressed in black, the settings are straight out of gothic romances, and even the bad guys are gorgeous. 

Underworld: Blood Wars is dazzling to look at, the 3D enhances the beauty of the action sequences, and Beckinsale does not disappoint, her ferociousness and her exquisite features tempered over the years by the loss of her love (he was a lycan), her hybrid daughter Eve (the product of that strange union), and her now itinerant lifestyle as she strives to live the millennia that the vampire is blessed or cursed with. 

This is not a film for those who have not seen the previous installments and have no stake in the future of Selene, Eve, or the incredibly handsome David (Theo James) from the Divergent films), a vampire who has a surprising ancestral history that manifests as a major plot point. For those who do care though, and have stuck through the past four films, there is much here to look forward to, particularly the settings, a rather fun villainess, and several surprises, small and large, that add a bit to a film that makes quite a bit of something out of nothing. This is Beckinsale’s show, she knows it, she does her role and her fan base justice, and the director, Anna Foerster, wisely allows for Selene’s character to show some nuance, however slight, bringing some levity to what might otherwise have been the equivalent of a bloody video game. 

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