Underworld: Blood Wars

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The remaining vampire covens are on the verge of being wiped out by the Lycans. Both species are searching for Selene: the vampires seeking justice for the deaths of Viktor and Marcus, and the Lycans, led by Marius, intending to use her to locate Eve, whose blood holds the key to building an army of vampire-werewolf hybrids.

Semira, a council member of the Eastern Coven, wishes for Selene to be granted clemency so that the latter can train the Eastern Coven’s neophyte Death Dealers. To that end, she enlists Thomas to plead Selene’s case before the full council. Thomas succeeds and Selene arrives at the Eastern Coven with David. Selene is betrayed by Varga, Semira’s ally and lover, who poisons the former and slaughters the Death Dealers at the behest of Semira, who then begins draining Selene of her blood, which Semira intends to drink and gain her power, but is interrupted when Thomas and David come to her rescue. In the ensuing fight, Thomas is killed delaying Semira and Varga so that David can escape with an incapacitated Selene. During the escape, Semira and Varga are shocked to observe that the pair is immune to the effects of sunlight.

The pair seeks refuge with the Nordic Coven. They are pursued by Alexia, an Eastern Coven vampire dispatched by Semira, who consumes the blood from Selene and appears to be strengthened by its ingestion. Selene and David arrive at Vador, the stronghold of the Nordic Coven, where Vidar, the Elder, reveals that David was the son of the High Elder Amelia, making him the legitimate heir to the Eastern Coven.

The Nordic Coven is attacked by Marius and the Lycans, who were alerted by Alexia, Marius’s mole and lover. The Nordic vampires, led by Vidar’s daughter Lena, fight with Selene and David. Selene engages in single combat with Marius, who demands to know Eve’s location; Selene insists she does not know the location, being confirmed by Alexia by tasting some of Selene’s blood. Marius sounds the retreat for his troops and Selene, no longer wishing to live, slides herself under the now-broken ice of the lake.

Upon Alexia’s return to the Eastern Coven’s castle, she informs Semira of the events at the Nordic Coven. Semira kills her, revealing to have always known of Alexia’s treachery, and has been manipulating Alexia for her own ends. David returns to the Eastern Coven and informs the Elite Council of his parentage, presenting himself as the rightful heir to the coven. Semira is arrested by none other than Varga, whose ultimate loyalty is to the rightful leadership of the coven. She is subsequently imprisoned in the dungeons. The coven comes under attack by Marius and his forces. The Lycans blow holes in the castle’s walls, letting in sunlight, killing most of the vampires. David continues fighting, only to find himself face to face with Marius. Selene suddenly reappears, wearing a Nordic appearance and coat over her normal Death Dealer uniform. It is revealed that the Nordic Coven revived her and in doing so enabled her to develop new abilities. She swiftly begins dispatching the Lycans, as the rest of the Nordic Coven, led by Lena, join the fight. While Selene is making her way through the castle, the guards in the dungeons are killed by Semira, who then escapes from her cell. Selene and David find Marius, but David is waylaid by Semira. As Marius and Selene’s fight continues, a drop of Marius’s blood lands on Selene’s lips. She is suddenly flooded by a series of blood memories in which Marius finds Michael. She sees Marius capturing Michael and slitting his throat in order to collect his blood and consume it. Believing that Michael is dead, she bites her own wrist, using her own blood memories of the time she has spent with Michael, Eve, and David to fuel her rage. Although Marius has transformed, Selene rips out his spine, killing him instantly. David manages to kill Semira. He shows Marius’s severed head to the Lycans, who decide to retreat.

In the aftermath, Selene, David, and Lena are chosen as the new Elders. It is revealed that after being resurrected at the Nordic Coven, Selene was reunited with Eve, who has been following her mother.

REVIEW:

Vampires and werewolves aren’t really the popular thing in our culture anymore (thanks, Twilight franchise). They’ve mostly been replaced by zombies. Yet, here we are with a 5th Underworld film, Underworld: Blood Wars. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not exactly jumping up and down with anticipation. Hopefully, after I watch it, I’ll change my mind,

What is this about?

The next installment in the blockbuster franchise, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS follows Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice

What did I like?

Violent femme. I may be remembering wrong, but I seem to recall the Underworld being a bloody masterpiece when it came to the violence. Yet, the following films in the franchise were much more frugal with the way they showed the killings. As this film begins, we return to the ways of the first film. Kate Beckinsale’s Selene shoots, claws, and bites her way through her army of combatants.

Leather. Let’s be honest about one thing, shall we? A very big reason that this franchise is so popular is because Kate Beckinsale is running in skintight leather. Well, there is plenty of that in this film, though, in the final act, she is covered up with a fur coat. It is cold up there in the Nordic country, after all.

Immortal Kombat. Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you either have played Mortal Kombat, or at least know about it. Well, there is this scene late in the film where Selene and Marius, the primary antagonist and leader of the Lycans, are fighting. Not to spoil anything, but let’s just say someone pulls a fatality on the other.

What didn’t I like?

In the blood. Given the length of time between this and the first couple of films, I can understand a need to refresh the audience’s memory. However, with all the blood flashbacks were forced to endure, we might as well have watched the previous films all over again. On top of that, these flashbacks seems to get longer and longer each time and, after a while, it seemed as if they were nothing but something to fill up time.

Pulver-ize. The secondary antagonist, a scheming vampire called Semira is part of another issue I have with this film. First off, the actress that plays her, Lara Pulver, seems to be doing her best Eva Green impression (at one point I thought that’s who she was). Second, I wasn’t buying into her. Had her little boy toy, played by Bradley James been a secondary antagonist, I could have understood it. He was there to train Death Dealers and now Selene has come in. It makes sense, but with this chick, all I could think of was the cliché lover scorned.

Humans…or lack thereof. On one side we have vampires. On the other, Lycans. In the middle, regular human beings. Wait…I don’t recall seeing any humans in here. The last film, Underworld: Awakening, gave us plenty, perhaps too much human interaction/casualty in the war. The others, have at least shown a few bystanders, people frequenting the local pub, etc. I’m not sure why we don’t see some sort of human this time around. Perhaps they were all wiped out. Who knows? Still, the lack of humans, whether they were interacting with the vampires and lycans, or not leaves one to question.

Final verdict of Underworld: Blood Wars? Putting it bluntly, if you’re not already a fan of the franchise, then I doubt the film will do anything for you. While it was mildly entertaining, at best, I feel that so much more could have been done to keep the audience invested. The time to change anything about this franchise may be too late, though. Do I recommend this flick? I am not saying yes and I am not saying no.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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