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Underworld: Awakening (Blu-ray Review)

10 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sony Pictures
Action Horror-Fantasy
Box Office $62.32 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 3D BD
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence and gore, and for some language.
Stars Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley, Theo James.

Typically when a movie franchise reaches the fourth installment, what made it work the first time (in 2003 with story, writing, acting, FX) has long departed — replaced by perfunctory performances and color-by-number production values.

Luckily for Underworld: Awakening, lead star Kate Beckinsale again reprises — with aplomb — her sexy role as Selene, a vampiress with mesmerizing blue eyes and a size zero body ensconced in black leather spandex, sporting knee-high boots, with an arsenal of outsized semi-automatic pistols, grenades and other tricks of destruction.

To the uninitiated, “Underworld” is a story of vampires (long before “Twilight”) battling werewolves (called Lycans) on planet Earth with humans seemingly oblivious to the hostilities — until now. Prequel Rise of the Lycans (the third film) threw a twist with the introduction of hybrid vampire/wolves, one of which (played by Scott Speedman) was killed after impregnating Selene. Meanwhile humankind has wreaked havoc on all supernatural predators (no explanation given) for more than a dozen years while Selene lied in a  frozen (naked) state in a cryogenic chamber at some biotech firm headed by the evil Dr. Lane (miscast Stephen Rea).

Sprung loose by an errant vampire’s (Theo James) bullet, Selene spends the movie on the warpath wiping out myriad authority figures with blood-spattering viciousness. Along the way, she discovers Eve (India Eisley), a tweener vamp with a biological connection. Her lost youth upbringing at the biotech firm leads the carnage back to Dr. Lane.

Hell, indeed, hath no fury like a maternal vampiress scorned.

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