After humans discover the existence of both vampires and lycans and set in motion a plan of eradication, Selene and Michael are ambushed before they can escape to safer ground. Selene awakens twelve years later in a lab unsure of where she is or what’s going on until a psychic bond sends her in hopeful pursuit of her lost companion.
I’ve always been a vampire fan at heart, I remember clearly when UNDERWORLD came out back in 2003 and I ate it up like a vampire in a BLADE techno rave blood bath club (the BLADE flicks being the only noteworthy vampire movies around at that time). This was different though, they actually made good use of werewolves and the blood feud between the two species. It’s hard to believe Kate Beckinsale nearly passed on the role, because she’s to die for in these films. The first two flicks were pretty tight, the third not too shabby for being a prequel (love me some Rhona Mitra) but a true sequel is what this fan was after and low and behold I got my wish! I’m not usually one for sequels but this one satisfied my bloodlust on most levels (thank goodness they didn’t water it down to PG-13).
I guess I’ll open the negative can of worms first. The UNDERWORLD universe’s ace up the sleeve was its rich, multilayered storyline that was not only dripping with villainy and intrigue but also served as a unique bond between vampires and lycans. I loved the covens, the slavery, the Romeo and Juliet arc, laced with cool weaponry and gory fun. This time around I felt a little jipped. Selene and Michael are captured, and cryogenically frozen for twelve years after the humans catch on to the existence of vamps and lycans and decide to purge the infestation. And just like that, both species are nearly wiped out. I don’t get it, these guys are at the top of the food chain and it feels like they simply rolled over without much of a fight. Now add to that, a kid hybrid, who everybody wants a piece of, and we have the rough storyline: Selene trying to save her kid, find Michael and avoid being purged. Hmmm, me thinks they should’ve fed their team of monkeys a few more bananas while trying to think up this plot.
Story aside, this flick gives the fans exactly what they want, more Selene death dealing in tight leather. For being nearly a decade since the original I have to admit Kate’s still got it. She’s a solid femme fatale and delivers some amazing fight scenes, some cool new gadgets like the silver grenade bombs and thankfully still retains the extra juice she got from the second film to make her that much deadlier. Good thing too because the super lycan they got running around town ain’t no teddy bear. Selene also stuck to her R rated guns with lots of blood and dripping wet pieces. India Eisley, though unnecessary on a character scale, rocked the house as the little girl you don’t want to make angry. She dished out some cool fight scenes and was no slouch. I dug Stephen Rea as the villain (back to his vampire roots–think INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE) but really miss Bill Nighy’s Viktor, he’s one villain you just can’t top. I also have no idea why they needed a cop bumbling around, who served no real purpose save annoying me, and Wes Bentley got the short end of the stake. Seriously bro, what was the point of taking this gig?
UNDERWORLD AWAKENING did fall short in some areas, but thankfully not enough to hinder the feel or bruise the fun factor for those who love the series. The vampires were down and out and in serious need of swelling their ranks, and the lycans, without giving much away, weren’t doing much better but this added the edge of desperation they were looking for this time around. The film ends on a “to be continued note”, but my biggest gripe, and don’t get me wrong I’d love to see another one, was the lack of Michael (originally played by Scott Speedman, who isn’t played by Speedman here and though in the film briefly, isn’t even listed in the credits). They pretty much gave him the axe which frustrates me more than a little. He and Selene were the dream team, and even though we’re left with the potential promise of more, I really hope Speedman’s involved next time around because tap dancing around him once I can accept, but you won’t fool this guy twice. The 3D end of things wasn’t spectacular either, but I think that’s to be expected. That said, this is more than worth the price of admission and a recommended view in theaters if your down with the source material.