Underworld: Awakening REVIEW

Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Awakening.

"Go ahead, make another comment about PVC-clad bottoms. Make my day."

Release Date: 14 May 2012
2012 | 18 | 88 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£24.99(Blu-ray 3D+Blu-ray)
Distributor: Screen Gems
Directors: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Charles Dance, Theo James

The three previous instalments in the vampires-vs-werewolves franchise were accused of too much mythology and overly convoluted plotting. Having heeded the critics, this fourth movie mercifully dodges those silver bullets… but the result is a too-short film lacking subtlety or soul. Fortunately, you don’t really notice because Kate Beckinsale is busy blowing things up in slow motion.

Awakening plunges us 12 years into the future in a cascade of leather-clad action scenes. The non-humans have been outed and humans have declared martial law in order to purge our cities. Vampire Selene’s mortal enemies, the Lycans, are secretly conspiring to resist. Their secret weapon? Selene and Michael’s child, a girl who possesses qualities of both species and whose genes are the key to creating super-Lycans.

It’s too indebted to The Matrix and every sequence ends with a punch-up in an anonymous corridor, but thesps like Stephen Rea and Charles Dance add credibility, and the set-piece battles are genuinely thrilling. Underworld: Awakening may be nonsense, but it’s beautifully choreographed nonsense that lays the foundations for a fifth instalment.


The DVD (rated) has a chatty commentary with both directors and three producers. The Blu-ray (which features both 2D and 3D versions) adds five perfunctory featurettes (“Selene Rises”, “The Cast”, “Resuming The Action”, “Awaking A Franchise: Building A Brutal New World” and “Building A Better Lycan”), six pre-viz scenes including graphics from an alternative opening sequence; a largely unfunny three-minute blooper reel, and a music video.

Dave Bradley

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