Underworld: Awakening FILM REVIEW

Back in black

Kate Beckinsale as Selene.

Selene got absolutely LIVID whenever someone failed to put their crisp packet in the bin.

Release Date: 20 January 2012
18 | 88 minutes
Distributor: Entertainment
Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, Charles Dance

It’s been six years since Kate Beckinsale donned Selene’s eye-catching black catsuit/corset combo, and though she doesn’t appear to have aged a day, the Underworld series is now looking very long in the fang.

This fourth chapter follows on directly from the second. Though technically a direct continuation of Underworld: Evolution’s narrative, Awakening feels more like a reboot, with the series’ rich mythology jettisoned in favour of a new status quo. Humanity has learnt of the existence of vampires and lycans and hunted them to near extinction. Selene is captured, but escapes 12 years later with the hybrid child she never knew she had in tow, a child which could change the outcome of the war forever…

Awakening could be praised for attempting something different, but given that humans take a back seat almost immediately after the opening mass-cleansing montage in favour of a tired super-Lycan conspiracy, the new world established in Awakening feels like a missed opportunity. Directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein up the gore quotient significantly, with Lycan noggins prised apart and throats ripped out at regular intervals, but the pair have little sense of pacing or an eye for dynamic action sequences, while the prevalence of CGI wolves betrays the series’ roots in much more satisfying practical effects.

It’s not awful, merely functional and lacking an identity now that the lore of previous entries has been abandoned. If you only see one sexy-black-catsuit-lady-killing-monsters-in-pointless-3D movie this year you might be better off waiting for Resident Evil: Retribution.

Jordan Farley

Selene features on the cover of our latest Vampire Special.

Find out where Selene placed in our latest Top 50 Vampires poll.

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