Is Underworld underrated??
Underworld: Blood Wars is the fifth movie in the ongoing darkly stylized werewolf and vampire saga. I’m not entirely certain there was a huge outcry by the masses for this movie to be made, but apparently it has enough of a cult following to come to fruition. I do faintly recall watching the first two in this series and while I don’t remember a lot of what happened, I do remember enjoying them…for the most part. Having skipped the last two Underworld movies, I figured I might as well go back under and see what I’ve missed out on. There was some slight trepidation on my part…anytime you jump into the fifth installment of an established mythology after missing the last two chapters; you risk being left in the dark…narratively speaking. Thankfully Blood Wars has just enough exposition to catch me up on the past events of the older movies to the point where I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by what was going on. Usually anytime a movie resorts to this tactic to tell a story instead of showing you, there is cause for concern. However in this case, the exposition was gladly welcomed. Oddly enough, as I delved deeper into the fetishized violent world of Blood Wars, it became enjoyable in its own weird way.
Kate Beckinsale, who is always great and beautiful to see, reprises her role as the vampire death dealer, Saline. Saline is on the run from the two warring lycan and vampire clans. They want to locate her daughter, a lycan-vampire hybrid whose blood may be used to gain the upper hand in the never ending holy war between these lycans and vampires. The lycans are led by the ruthless Mairus, played sufficiently enough by Tobias Menzies. The vampires are led by Semira, who is played capably by Lara Pulver. When the vampire clan’s existence is threatened by the increasingly sophisticated nature of the Mairus led lycan attacks, they strike an uneasy truce with Saline in hopes that she can train younger vampire death dealers to guard their sanctuary. That’s the plot. The stakes seem pretty clear cut for the most part however and I was able to follow along for most of the way. Then it got to the end and everything became a convoluted mess. A violent convoluted mess, but a mess nonetheless. There was some confusion to me about what exactly was going on with Mairus’ character. Also some of the established in universe rules about how these creatures can kill each other became murky but overall it was good brainless fun. If you consider endless jump cut fight scenes fun…which you might.
Let’s be honest here…no one is going into an Underworld movie expecting Oscar worthy performances or epic storytelling. Although the fact that Underworld has come out with five movies is epic in its own right. People want brainless violence featuring creatures of the night going at each other. Vampires and werewolves trying to tear each other apart for who knows what reason. There’s an element of camp that is expected, demanded even. The familiar dark blue and grey color tones of the movie along with the kinky leather outfits are comforting staples. The CGI is not great but then again, we all knew it wouldn’t be. You know what you’re going to get when you go watch an Underworld movie. If you’re into Underworld and its established lore, then by all means, you will enjoy this movie. If you’re trying to turn your mind off for 90 minutes and zone out, then you might enjoy this movie too.
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