Saturday, January 21, 2012

Underworld Awakening - Reduced to Diverting Observations

It’s a grim world ensnared by paranoia.

Humans have discovered that vampires and lycans have succeeded in surviving what was once thought as a total annihilation a few years back. Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire warrior thawed from a block of ice after 12 years of hibernation, discovers that she has been released from a laboratory by another missing specimen – Subject 2, who turns out to be a child they call “Eve” (India Eisley). The pre-teen girl has Selene's boyfriend's Michael’s eyes, and appears vulnerable. Their staggering exit soon becomes a cataclysmic chase when those beastly lycans discover the child – a sentient being that could be more powerful than any of them. Her presence threatens them, thus the need to get rid of this hybrid of vampire and werewolf (like her father).

With the help of David (Theo James), the son of a herd of vampire clan, they find an unwelcoming shelter. They are of course rebuffed. Their presence in the community draws danger to a group which has prioritized self preservation over charity. But just when Selene and Eve start settling down, a horde of lycans (werewolves) attack and start annihilating the vampires. Moreover, the humans aren’t far behind. And they're out to draw blood, not fraternity.

Mars Marlind and Bjorn Stein’sUnderworld: Awakening” blatantly ushers us into the resurrection of a franchise that doesn’t deserve it. Selene for the most part appears indecisive, and her nemesis seems preeminent, albeit with sovereign power too potent for her to overcome. In fact, half the time you’re watching the gunfights and adrenaline action, you’re cloaked with utter disbelief how Selene could overpower her enemies (do you seriously think she’d lose?)

This netherworld is brushed like dark quarters of desperation and madness, and survival is taken to the fore. But why would an audience give their sympathy to blood-thirsty creatures? Or to horrendous furry beasts that gnaw on human flesh? Its film makers have somehow forgotten that humans are supposed to favor humans over creatures who make food out of their fragile existence. After all, in a dog-eat-dog world, we too have to propagate our species. Part of this preservation is haunting those who haunt us.

What does Beckinsale think of her returning character? In an interview with Adam Chitwood (, she said, “I always said there wasn’t going to be a fourth one. So you can’t trust what I say at all. I don’t know. Part of me thinks that’s so peculiar to me.” She further added, “But I am very fond of the character, and other people are pretty fond of her, too. So who knows? There’s part of me that thinks maybe it’s good to blaze a trail, to be the menopausal action heroine. Give me Underworld 12 and my little beard hairs.

A menopausal action heroine? Who knows what kind of vampires have mutated in that era. Af far as I know, 2012’s Selene looks more like the Cullens of “Twilight” than a formidable vampire warrior who merely looks good in a tight leather suit.


All these make watching “Underworld: Awakening” anything but cinematic immersion. I instead divert myself to daft observations: 12 years into the future and Selene’s sexy leather “costume” survives the passing of time; Detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy), the police detective tracking down Selene, is a gorgeous black guy with the bluest of eyes; India Eisley who plays Subject #2 is a Rachel Weisz deadringer; and I could probably stare at Theo James since there’s no cinematic engagement to be had anyway. In a Ripley's moment, when Selene does a mean cardiac pump on a newly expired David – she cuts through his chest with bare nails, then manually grasps and pumps his heart with life-saving prowess – I was going to shimmy to Beyonce’s “Love on Top”!

I don’t lie.

Beautiful Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale appears next in Len Wiseman's "Total Recall" with Colin Farrell.

Kate Beckinsale

Theo James was seen in Antonio Banderas' "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" and in the hit British film "The Inbetweeners".

Theo James

Theo James

India Eisley played Ashley in the TV series, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"

India Eisley

Michael Ealy

Blue-eyed Michael Ealy appears next in the battle-of-the-sexes flick, Tim Story's "Think Like a Man"


Armand DC said...

Hey Cathy,

Check out my review. I agree with you. Selene's (Kate Beckinsale) physical strength, too good to be true. Movie? Material? Sloppy.


Cathy Pena said...

Maybe they can find someone with a brain to write and produce the next installment.:)