Capsule Movie Review – Underworld: Awakening (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
The vampires and werewolves are at each others’ throats again in Underworld: Awakening. Two things must be understood: 1) this is the fourth installment in a monster movie series and 2) the story is at the service of the supernatural fantasy action, not the other way around. Taken on those terms it works rather well. Picking up from where the second movie left off (the intervening entry being a prequel), vampire Death Dealer Selene (series star Kate Beckinsale) and her hybrid vampire/werewolf lover are surviving in a new world order where humans have become the hunters. The action almost immediately jumps forward 12 years to Selene awakening from cryogenic sleep in a fortified research facility. She teams up with Theo James’s vampire from an underground coven and Michael Ealy’s friendly human cop to rescue India Eisley’s captive hybrid girl. The most impressive thing about the whole movie is that this scenario holds up as simultaneously a sequel, a standalone story, and a platform for further adventures. The Underworld series has always had a good eye for casting its villains, and Stephen Rea continues the pattern as a mad doctor with a hidden agenda. Stylistically Awakening is a well-judged return to the look of the first film. Taking advantage of current special effects technology, this entry is even more action-packed than its predecessors.
2 1/2 stars
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: I liked how they had Eisley pattern her movements on Beckinsale’s, and also that she has the physical presence to keep from being overshadowed. The supporting characters’ roles could have been beefed up without risk of getting in the way of the action.