Underworld: Blood Wars
Selene When a studio announces the final film in a long-running franchise possibility that the statement is true is about as likely as a poster proclaiming the "absolutely final goodbye tour of the Rolling Stones. Fans might like to believe that the studios are dedicated primarily to producing premium entertainment to the public, they are in fact the business primarily concerned with their bottom line profits. One factor that enters into this equation is that even if the franchise has degraded until it degrades into a critical abomination as long as enough fans attend, buying sufficient tickets to offset the production budget new installments will lurk in the shadows. One of the latest movies to utilize these circumstances was ‘Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth installment in this horror/creature feature franchise.This series, centered around an ancient war between Vampires and Lycans (Werewolves), focuses on a beautiful and exceptionally lethal vampire assassin as the war escalates. Actors have traditionally benefited by becoming part of a long enduring franchise not just for the fairly steady source of income but also affords advantages to the studio paying for fitness trainers, dieticians and a complete team of experts dedicated to having them achieve and maintain the absolute best physical condition possible. At one time this was primarily a perk afforded to the male stars, but the women have increasingly cast as the primary source of action. In several interviews, some have mentioned that when they finally decide to have the children postponed for their careers such training and conditioning expedites the childbirth process, one of Hollywood’s most beautiful action heroines, Kate Beckinsale had remained in the leading role for this series of films since its beginning fourteen years ago in 2003. Now a mother in her mid-forties Ms. Beckinsale still looks amazing garbed in the unforgiving skin-tight offices preferred by here vampiric character. In a family fashion the critical assessment of the movies in the set have continually declined there is no doubt that Ms. Beckinsale’s attractiveness and ability to continue to bring dedicated fans to each successive installment, the franchise continues to expand, as difficult to kill as the vampires and lycanthropes featured in the stories.
Understandably, since there are four movies before this one a considerable degree of the mythos and backstory has already established as canon within the context of the ongoing story, there is no way to avoid the necessity of in medias res, joining a tale already in progress. In some instances, it is feasible to construct each film in the franchise in such a fashion as to succeed as a movie at least somewhat independent from the others. One of the factors contributing to the shortcomings of this cinematic attempt is its inability to manifest an identity of its own. Ideally, each film should tell its story that when inserted into the quilt of the entire narrative synergistic enhances it. The inability to achieve this crucial objective substantially limits the members of the audience ability to follow along with the character development and continuation of the fundamental themes. This places a severe limitation on attracting any new viewers as well as burdening even the most diehard fans with the requirement to piece together information introduced over the last 14 years and four movies. With a film such as this, the majority of fans are there for the action and a level of special effects sufficient louder and substantially more impressive than previously seen. Few expect the requirement is filling in the motives and mentally assuring the continuity of the overall saga. When compared to the current gold standard of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have
Over the course of the previous movies, the war between the vampires and Lycans has been intensifying with the vampires consistently losing ground. They are at the precipice of extinction with the remaining vampire covens struggling to survive; at the center of the escalated hostilities is a female vampire, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), back in the film Selene is drawn into a romantic relationship with a young man, Michael Corvinus (Scott Speedman). Although he is mortal, his ancestry is intimately involved with the origins of both Lycans and Vampires. His distant but direct ancestor played a critical role in the source of both species. Michael was among the first hybrids, turned by both a Lycan and Vampire. This conferred the strengths of both species without their respected vulnerabilities. For example, a combination can move about freely in sunlight. During their relationship, Selene became a hybrid. For centuries she has been most deadly of efficient death dealer in the ranks of the vampires with the added power of a hybrid Selene is an unstoppable supernatural force. Together they have a daughter Eve (India Eisley), now a teenager, Eve is the target of a global search by both supernatural camps. Her blood could give rise to an army of hybrids that could quickly drive the enemies to extinction. Selene made arrangements to hide Eve in a location that not even her mother would ever know. Although exceptionally painful for Selene, the strong maternal bond that Selene has can only be fully realized by never seeing her daughter again.
Humanity has become aware of both vampires and werewolves and has initiated direct action against both species. The goal of mankind is nothing short than a double of genocide completely eradicating both species. The vampires one of the last strongholds is in a castle fortress controlled by the East Coven. The few remaining grand elders have taken up residence in that stronghold most notably, Cassius (James Faulkner). Besides being a senior council member is also the head of the household for East coven. Echelon of the vampire hierarchy is a cauldron of Machiavellian intrigue. Cassius’s position as the leader of the coven and member of the Council targeted by the smoldering femme fatale, Semira (Lara Palaver). She’s a deadly adversary in combat, an expert in firearms in every sort of bladed weapon. Her lover and primary operative, Varga (Bradley James), s Death Dealer of extraordinary ability albeit less than Selene. The only way to get the best of hours to use a plate coated with nightshade, deadly poisons to vampires.
This franchise was built on supernatural action depicting a long millennial feud between two supernatural species. A real first instance of violence occurs 51 minutes into an hour and a half long film. The pacing is exceedingly slow, plodding along overly rehashing the previous four films. At this point in a lengthy franchise, the filmmaker should assume that a sizable amount of his audience is familiar with the other portions of the story. They do have a built-in mechanism to help alleviate some of the tedium of flashbacks. A vampire that tasty drop of a person’s blood will be able to discern memories from that person. What had once been a reasonably clever plot device is so overused that it is degraded to have me plot contrivance. One subplot originally intended as a plot twist fall short of generating the appearance of a level of danger and intrigue necessary to achieve its goal. One of the young Death Dealers, Alexia (Daisy Head), is engaged in the clandestine affair with the grand leader of the combined Lycan pack, Marius (Tobias Menzies), who is both a powerful warrior but also an incredible strategist. He accomplished something that has never been done in the thousand years of animosity between the two species, a consult date the Lycan packs into a cohesive fighting unit. He is augmenting his power by injecting himself with a secret stash of Michael’s blood.
The film is something that we can describe as anti-synergy; the whole is less than the parts. The story feels forced on the most fundamental level, a feeling that comes from the narrative is one that we have seen countless times before. Two warring factions, a family feud that has gone back over thousand years, the story is a patchwork of conflicting styles coopted from a long line of similar movies. On cue the double agent’s review, first to the audience, and then, at the dénouement, he revealed to the main participants. The main character is killed tragically, a newly revealed form of mysticism that provides the Deus Ex Machina at precisely the correct moment. The battle sequences are a mélange almost every type of combat-related movie possible. There were enough for automatic weapons to rival the beginning of ‘Saving Private Ryan.' Which is oddly juxtaposed every conceivable form of martial arts weapon combined with the gravity-defying antics of Hong Kong wire combat? This film would have fared better if a few pre-production meeting were held to determine a concise, linear narrative.