Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein | 88 minutes | action, horror, fantasy | Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Reid, Jacob Blair, Adam Greydon Reid, Catlin Adams, Robert Lawrenson, Lee Majdoub, Tyler McClendon
Underworld: Awakening, the fourth installment in the culturally acclaimed Underworld series, is the third film in which Kate Beckinsale appears as Selene, the death dealer / vampire bent on wiping out the Lycans. . Part three, ‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans’ was a prequel, which you don’t necessarily have to see to understand this fourth part. ‘Underworld: Awakening’ continues for some time to find out where the second part, ‘Underworld: Evolution’ ended.
Mankind has now discovered the existence of the two inhuman species. The realization that the ancient myths about vampires and werewolves are based on reality has disastrous consequences. Not only have humans declared war on the two kinds of beings to the point of extinction, there have been countless casualties on the part of humans as well. Selene and Michael have decided to flee to a safer place, but unfortunately their plans are thwarted. When Selene tries to rescue her lover from the water, a gigantic explosion throws a spanner in the works.
When Selene regains consciousness, she finds herself in a block of ice from which an unknown individual has freed her. She turns out to be held captive by a research lab that calls itself Antigen (which evokes memories of ‘Resident Evil’). During and after her escape, Selene tries to find out where Michael is, what the people at Antigen have been up to and why she suddenly has strange visions. She’s furious, to say the least. The ignorance where Michael finds himself has released a kind of primal feeling in her, as a result of which she quickly makes short work of the people around her. But the net soon seems to be closing in on her. Fortunately, she gets help from David, a vampire whose group has been in hiding for some time.
‘Underworld: Awakening’ offers plenty of stylishly portrayed fight scenes and explosions for the action enthusiast. Kate Beckinsale has practiced a lot with a choreographer to be able to portray her fights as gracefully as possible. The film looks slick again, great that the level has been kept so consistently high even in the fourth part in the franchise. In terms of storytelling, ‘Underworld: Awakening’ is somewhat disappointing, although there is a nice surprise in the plot, which reveals itself quite quickly. Selene has some tough one-liners, which will cause a smile, as well as a brilliantly conceived resuscitation scene, but otherwise it’s a pretty grim bunch. There is no skimping on gore and special effects: the monsters are bigger, the fights take longer. Add to that the fact that the film only clocked 88 minutes, so you can calculate on your fingers that not much time has been set aside for plot development. But on the other hand, a fifth part in the series has been initiated. Enthusiasts of the first two films can confidently sink their teeth into this tasty fourth part. If the adventures of the sexy vampire didn’t appeal to you, Underworld: Awakening won’t do anything to change your mind.