Underworld: Awakening is the fourth movie in the Underworld series of movies, which is set in a world where vampires and werewolves (here called lycans) exist and are feuding races. The first two movies featured Kate Beckinsale as the vampire Selene, who hunts lycans, but falls in love with Michael, a lycan. It’s been a while since I saw those two movies, so to be honest, I don’t remember more details about them. Evolution, though, I remember had quite a bit of the icky creature stuff, and dealt with vampire-lycan hybrids and the sort. The action was good too. Along the way, the heroine found out that the vampire elders were not so honourable as they seemed to be.
I didn’t see the third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, but that is a prequel, so not necessary to watch in order to understand the fourth movie.
Underworld: Awakening opens with humans conducting a ‘purge’ – eradicating both vampires and lycans, who they believe to be infected. Michael and Selene are running from the humans when an explosion happens. Selene wakes up in a lab (after 12 years, as we later find out) and escapes from there. It’s later revealed that this is Antigen Labs, and Dr Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), one of the people behind the purge, is the one who’s been doing experiments on Selene and another subject. This other subject turns out to be Selene’s daughter, who is very powerful and the lycans are after her for some reason.
The movie looks good – slick and a cold blue tone throughout. The action scenes were well done. Although, like the first two movies, I doubt I’d remember any of it after some time. It was entertaining while it lasted though, and the acting was decent. Kate Beckinsale did well in her role. It’s directed by the Swedish Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein and there are a bunch of writers credited (including a story credit for Len Wiseman who directed the first two movies).
This movie reminded me of the Resident Evil movies, and in fact, the scene where Selene escapes from Antigen Labs was very much like the siege on Umbrella Corporation by the Alice clones from the beginning of Resident Evil: Afterlife. The vampire and lycan mythology is nearly jettisoned here and this is a more traditional action movie. For some reason I also got reminded of the Spierig Bros’ Daybreakers while watching this. Underworld: Awakening plays things seriously, so I guess it wasn’t as much brainless fun as a later Resident Evil movie.
This movie is shot in 3D (as opposed to being post-converted), and I thought the 3D effect was quite good. I saw this in a theatre with good 3D system, so no complaints about the glasses or about the screen being too dark.
I read that this was the first 3D movie to be shot on RED EPIC cameras, and that the upcoming Resident Evil: Retribution is also shot that way.
Overall, I’d say this movie gets points for the good action scenes and Kate Beckinsale’s acting, but other than that, I thought it was a decent movie at best.